If you have experienced any sort of orthodontic treatment, you would surely know about retainers, why they are necessary, and their use. Retainers are an essential part of the post-care treatment to maintain the shape of the teeth after orthodontic treatment. They prevent your teeth from moving to their positions before the treatment. Not wearing the retainers or forgetting to wear them can make these shifts happen. To remember wearing them is one thing, but what should you do if the retainers break? Can you fix your retainer at home? or is there a need to talk to your dentist or orthodontist?
While you do not need to panic immediately, there is direct and urgent action required. You would need to address the problem as soon as possible to avoid any damage to the teeth. Are you looking for a way to fix a cracked or broken retainer? You have come to the right place. Let us guide you on what to do.
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What are Retainers?
Retainers are metal or plastic pieces that are custom designed for every person. Two retainers will never be the same. These are designed to match your mouth’s shape and your teeth’ alignment. There are mainly two main kinds of retainers; fixed and removable. While the removable retainers can be placed in and taken out, the fixed ones are custom-fitted and set to the upper or lower tongue-side teeth.
What Options Do You Have For a Cracked or Broken Retainer?
Sometimes, a retainer is cracked only slightly, and it can be easily fixed at home by the method given below, only as long as it works fine. At other times, you may need to visit your dental professional if the damage is beyond home repair.
While dentists may be able to fix a retainer in most cases, sometimes the damage can be beyond repair. This means that even your dentist would not know how to fix it. So, in that case, your best bet will be to ask your dentist to make a new set of retainers for you as soon as they can. The longer you wait and neglect the broken retainer, the worse are the chances of damage to your teeth. So be sure to act quickly because you cannot overlook a cracked retainer.
How to Fix a Cracked or Broken Retainer at Home
Even though dental plastics like retainers are often made of a flexible yet durable material, they sometimes can get cracked or broken. Dental plastics like mouth guards, dentures, and removable retainers are often vulnerable to damage, usually when used by children or teens who don’t always wear them properly.
While some cracks may be beyond repair and need a dentist’s intervention, some simple repairs can be fixed with simple glue. If the damage to your retainers is as minor as a crack or slight wear, follow these simple steps to fix it up quickly and easily.
Step 1. Assess the Damage to the Retainer
Before deciding upon how to fix it, assess the retainer to see what damage has been caused. Check for any chipped pieces of any sharp edges that may harm the mouth.
Step 2. File Edges with a Nail File
Once you find the damage, smoothen down the edges using a nail file. File each of the broken sections in the same direction so that the pieces can fit together well.
Step 3. Wash Dental Plastic Surface
Using a toothbrush, carefully wash the broken surface of the dental plastic to get rid of plastic residual shards that might have fallen off during the filing.
Step 4. Apply Glue to the Edges
Choose a strong acrylic bonding, waterproof, plastic, or dental glue that is not toxic, as it has to go in the mouth. Make sure to carefully read the instructions to note the amount of glue needed and how long it can take to dry off. Try putting the broken pieces of the plastic retainer together to see whether they fit well or not. If they sit together well, apply only a thin line of glue to only one side of the broken retainer and gently push the pieces against one another.
Step 5. Scrape off Excess Glue and Wash the Retainer After Drying
Hold the two pieces together and let them rest for the time mentioned on the glue label until the glue dries. Once the pieces stick together perfectly, and the glue is completely dry, scrape off the excess glue on the retainer and file any raised spots or ridges. After scraping off the excess glue, wash the retainers thoroughly to avoid bacteria or germs entering the mouth. You can use a toothbrush to clean it carefully.
Step 7. Test the Retainer for Usability
Now that the retainer crack is fixed, fit it into your mouth to see if it sets the way it should. If it doesn’t feel right, remove it and file off any uncomfortable edges. The retainer should work as well as it did before the crack. In case it doesn’t, you should talk to your dentist.
While the process of fixing a cracked retainer is easy and simple, the retainer must work as well after the fix as it was before the crack. Since most dental appliances like retainers are custom-made for every mouth, the dentist must check for any possible breaks if it is not functioning or fitting as well as it should be.
Retainers are a must for continuing the treatment by your dentist, and you should act quickly if there is damage. Whether your retainer is plastic, removable, or any other, be sure to contact a professional if it does not work out at home. Your dentist may give you time for an office visit to get your retainer repaired or to get a new set made if the damage is beyond repair. Finally, a good idea is to get a spare set of retainers made, so in case of any damage to your in-use retainers, you have an extra pair ready, so your treatment is not hindered in any way.