Cracked Retainers: What's Behind the Breaks?
Oral Health Blog

Cracked Retainers: What's Behind the Breaks?


When grappling with cracked retainers and exploring the causes behind the breaks, the choice of retainer cleaner becomes pivotal. Opting for a persulfate-free retainer cleaner is a preventive measure against potential issues. Other cleaners may contribute to weakening the retainer structure, potentially leading to cracks. By choosing a persulfate-free alternative, you prioritize a gentler cleaning approach, reducing the risk of damage and cracks. Incorporating a persulfate-free retainer cleaner into your routine addresses concerns related to retainer breaks, ensuring a cleaner and more durable oral appliance.

In this article, we'll delve into the reasons why retainers can crack and explore common culprits behind this dental mystery.

1. Wear and Tear

One of the most common reasons for retainer cracks is everyday wear and tear. Regardless of whether you have a removable or permanent retainer, using it as instructed by your orthodontist puts your appliance under stress. Over time, this stress can accumulate and lead to structural weaknesses, resulting in cracks.

2. Material Fatigue

Retainers are typically made of plastic, acrylic, or wire, depending on the type. These materials, while durable, are not immune to fatigue. The constant pressure and adjustment can weaken the materials, making them more susceptible to cracks over time.

3. Biting or Chewing on the Retainer

Some individuals unknowingly bite or chew on their retainers, which can contribute to cracks. This habit places undue stress on the appliance, increasing the risk of damage.

4. Accidental Damage

Accidents happen, and sometimes they involve your retainer. Dropping your retainer, stepping on it, or accidentally bending it can lead to cracks or fractures. It's essential to handle your retainer with care to avoid accidental damage.

5. Poor Maintenance

Neglecting proper retainer maintenance can indirectly lead to cracks. Failing to clean your retainer regularly can result in the buildup of bacteria and plaque, which can weaken the material and compromise its structural integrity.

6. Changes in Mouth Structure

Over time, your mouth's structure can change, affecting the fit of your retainer. If your retainer no longer fits properly and you continue wearing it, it may experience stress in areas not originally designed for it, potentially causing cracks.

7. High-Stress Areas

Certain areas of a retainer may be more prone to stress and, consequently, cracks. For example, removable retainer wires can weaken or crack near the points where they are adjusted.

8. Age of the Retainer

The age of your retainer can also play a role in cracking. Over several years, even without any apparent damage or misuse, the materials can naturally degrade, making the retainer more susceptible to cracks.

Preventing Retainer Cracks

While some factors contributing to retainer cracks are beyond your control, you can take preventive measures to minimize the risk:

  • Handle with Care: Treat your retainer gently to avoid unnecessary stress.

  • Proper Storage: When you're not wearing your retainer, store it in its protective case to shield it from accidental damage.

  • Regular Cleaning: Follow your orthodontist's instructions for cleaning and maintaining your retainer to prevent plaque buildup.

  • Regular Checkups: Attend scheduled appointments with your orthodontist to ensure the retainer is in good condition.


Discovering a cracked retainer can be puzzling, but understanding the potential reasons behind it can help you prevent future issues. Whether it's due to wear and tear, material fatigue, or other factors, proper care and maintenance can go a long way in preserving the integrity of your retainer. If you do notice a crack, don't hesitate to contact your orthodontist for guidance on repair or replacement.

Are you currently using or thinking about using retainer cleaning tablets? It's important to be aware that certain cleaner brands have the potential to cause toxic reactions.

It's crucial to be aware of harmful ingredients hiding in common cleaner brands. One such persulfate, which can pose SERIOUS health risks and is found in almost all leading retainer cleaners brands. Moreover, persulfate's health risks potentially impact respiratory health and skin sensitivities in your family, especially in teens and sensitive individuals. Learn more about the risk of persulfate HERE.


The content in this article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare provider before making any changes to your health regimen. The author and publisher do not take responsibility for any consequences resulting from the information provided in this article.