How to Fix a Broken Retainer

by Michael on September 13, 2009 · 14 comments

The other day when I got out of bed, I removed my retainer and slipped it in the pocket of my sweat pants. Not smart, I know, but it is what it is. Unfortunately, I later left my sweats on the floor, and someone (probably me) stepped on them, thus breaking my retainer. Never one to take the easy way out, I fixed it myself.


Before you break out the Super Glue

First, some warnings before you attempt to fix your broken retainer…

Your orthodontist is really the only person who should attempt to repair your retainer. If you fix it yourself, but things don’t line up exactly, you could mess up your treatment. Moreover, your attempt to repair your retainer could have the opposite effect, inadvertently damaging it to the point that you orthodontist can no longer repair it.

Another risk is that, depending on the type of damage, your repair could fail, and a piece of your retainer could break off and lodge in your throat. Finally, any “at home” repair is likely only temporary, meaning that you’ll probably have to visit your orthodontist regardless.

How to fix your retainer

Still not convinced? Neither was I, so I grabbed a tube of Super Glue and got to work. First, here’s a picture of my retainer following the repair. It looks suspiciously like my retainer before the repair. There was a clean break running lengthwise down the middle, roughly where the red line is.

After playing with it a bit, I found that I could actually line the fracture up very well, meaning that I should (at least in theory) be able to repair it.

I started by squeezing out a puddle of Super Glue on a piece of scrap paper and used a toothpick to “dab” the glue along both sides of the fracture. I then aligned the two sides and pressed them together until the glue started to cure. After that, I used the toothpick to dab more Super Glue along the crack from both the top and bottom sides.

After letting the Super Glue cure overnight, I popped my retainer into my mouth and it fit like a charm. I still went ahead and made an appointment with the orthodontist just to be on the safe side, but it’s been about a week and the repair is holding up nicely.

Update: Back from ortho… They were impressed by the repair and, after straightening the wire a bit, said I can go ahead and keep wearing it as long as the glue holds up.


{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

steve June 9, 2010 at 1:35 pm

what kind of super glue did you use

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Johnda November 8, 2010 at 12:18 pm

thanks so much for this helpful info….the exact same thing happened to my retainer. decided to research super gluing it back together while waiting for the glue to dry lol.

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Laura June 3, 2011 at 9:50 pm

Something exactly like that happened to me! I was eating with my friends and I left my case at home. So I thought that I would leave them in my bag (not the smartest choice). But well after I ate and put them on, I noticed they had cracked D: I was so depressed because they had already cracked before and my orthodontic is kinda of a douche and he was soooo pissed the first time, I didn’t want to go over that again :$ But now, with this method, I think I’ll be able to fix it untill I have to go to my orthodontics. Thank you so much for posting this! Really helped a lot!

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cyu July 28, 2011 at 9:39 pm

what kindof glue did you use? i have a weird kind of retainer thats half plastic and half wire and the small strip of plastic snapped… i’m a little bit scared of the super glue aspect of this but in all honesty i’d literally use less than a DROP of glue…

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lhyne October 5, 2011 at 8:16 pm

hi….. what about the wire broken? can fixed by myself or go to the dentist? any options tnx..

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Anrdes January 10, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Would it be fixable if the Metal wire broke?

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Eli April 24, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Well my retainers broke three times, the first time i took them to the orthodox and same with the second, but they broke today again and i dont want to take them to him cause he might get angry so i lined them up properly and i put some glue on the inside and after that i put some glue across the crack, my calculations were perfect, and now am wearing them. I dont want to take them to him but i might. The second time my retainer broke the wire snapped i tried to super glue that together but it was impossible the wire just kept jumping up, the point am trying to make is that am so happy that my retainers are fixed hopefully they stay like this :D

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Domdabomb May 1, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Thanks so much! Glue holding up nicely! It costs 80 to 90 bucks to replace and this method is much cheaper!

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aaron July 14, 2012 at 12:45 am

thnx my retainer is 250$ to replace and hopefully it works

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Charlene December 21, 2012 at 11:14 pm

What kind of super glue did you use? I’m scared the Krazy super glue i always use will be toxic. :( Btw, how long did it hold together?

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Charrice December 29, 2012 at 10:51 pm

Well I actually snapped my retainer in half like broken broken will this techniue work

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Jessica January 9, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Stupid me didn’t wear my retainers like I should after i got my braces off. But the thing is, I don’t want to wear them for my whole life!!! So now the second tooth to the left and right on the bottem is slightly behind the others. It doesn’t bother me, but my dentist is crazy over retainer wear. It won’t fit back in. I can get it so that it is putting slight preasure on those teeth but thats it. I am NOT going back to the ortho. I want to fix this myself. How can I do it? Will it ever fit back in? Will i have to wear these stupid things forever?? help!

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Rob July 10, 2013 at 8:25 am

@Jessica – I asked my ortho the same thing when I got my braces off: “how long will I have to wear the retainer?” He smiled and said, “for as long as you want your teeth to be straight.”

It can be a little inconvenient but it will eventually become routine, and in the long run it will be SO worth it. I broke the rules a little and only wore mine at night (and still do). 2 years now, still no problems.

And btw, that little shift you see in your teeth: that’s only the beginning. If you don’t wear your retainer it will eventually go back to how it was.

I don’t know about you, but my retainer is a small price to pay to smile! Good luck!

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Gul November 11, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Mine broken into many pieces and its very similar to the one in the picture. I accidentally stepped on my retainer. I was wondering if a new one can be reconstructed from the pieces? Because my teeth have moved (I haven’t been wearing the retainers often) and I do not want to get a new retainer based on my crooked teeth. I know for certain my broken retainers will fit back in and push back the movement of my teeth. The main problem I have with my teeth is a gap that keeps coming back between my incisors and the retainer that broke was meant to close that gap.

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