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.

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