What should I do if my retainer breaks?


Teeth Retainer | Northenden House Orthodontics

It’s important that you wear either a fixed bonded retainer or removable Essix or Hawley retainer immediately after your braces are removed. This will ensure that your teeth stay in their new straight position. Your teeth will be constantly moving so you’ll need to find a way to prevent a relapse. As you should wear your retainer every day, if you break or lose a retainer you will need to make sure you contact your Orthodontist ASAP to have it repaired or a new appliance made. 

Should I wait until my next review?

If you experience any problems with your retainer before your next review, we’d advise you not to wait until the review to bring it up as your teeth are likely to move.


If your retainer does break, bend, snap, get lost or eaten by the dog we suggest you give us a call straight away to book an emergency appointment. 

Can I wear a broken retainer?

If your vacuum formed retainer (Essix retainer) snaps directly in two and both pieces still fit then continue to wear both pieces until your emergency appointment to have a new impression taken for a replacement.  If you have distorted the appliance with heat, then it will no longer fit. Should you have a different type of removable retainers such as a Hawley or a Begg appliance then return to the clinic where you had your orthodontic treatment as soon as possible.  You may have been given models when you were provided with the appliance, if this is the case then please bring these along with you. In most circumstances, it will be the case that a new impression is required to create or repair a retainer. We are unable to create a retainer of your finish set of impressions as your teeth may have moved fractionally since. If you have a bonded retainer fitted we advise you apply a layer of Orthodontic wax to the broken part to prevent irritation to your tongue, cheeks and gums. 


What should I do if I lose my retainer?

If you lose your retainer the first thing we recommend you do is to look for the appliance as it may have been misplaced somewhere in your house. If you can’t find your retainer you will have to call and book an appointment with your Orthodontist to have impressions made that will be sent off to be made into a new appliance. Please note, you will be charged full price for any new retainers you have. 

What can I do until my appointment?

If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort due to a broken bonded retainer, contact your orthodontic practitioner as soon as possible to schedule an emergency appointment.  In the meantime, if you have developed an ulcer on your tongue from the retainer catching then rinse your mouth with a saltwater solution, this will aid healing of any ulceration that may have occurred. To prevent any further damage to a bonded retainer, it is also a good idea to stay away from hard and chewy foods. Softer foods will be easier to eat if you are experiencing discomfort. 

If you have any problems with your retainer please get in touch with us on 0161 884 1481 and we will be able to book an emergency appointment for you to come and have your retainer fixed.

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  • Mohammad Malik
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