Is it Safe to Wear a Broken Retainer?
Oral Health Blog

Is it Safe to Wear a Broken Retainer?

Wearing a broken retainer can be unsafe and ineffective in maintaining tooth alignment. Using a purple persulfate-free retainer cleaner ensures proper hygiene, but it's essential to have a broken retainer repaired or replaced by a dental professional for optimal effectiveness and safety.

In this article, we will delve into the considerations of wearing a broken retainer, how it impacts your orthodontic progress, and what steps you should take if you find yourself in this situation.

Is it Okay to Wear a Broken Retainer?

  1. Assess the Damage: The first step when you notice a broken retainer is to assess the extent of the damage. Is it a minor crack, a significant break, or a missing piece? The severity of the damage will influence your decision.

  2. Comfort and Fit: If the broken retainer is causing discomfort or no longer fits correctly, it's not advisable to continue wearing it. An ill-fitting or damaged retainer can potentially harm your teeth and gums.

  3. Consult Your Orthodontist: When in doubt, always consult your orthodontist. They can provide professional guidance based on your specific situation. They might recommend continuing to wear the retainer, repairing it, or replacing it altogether.

How Long Can I Go Without My Retainer?

The duration you can go without your retainer depends on various factors:

  • Type of Treatment: If you recently completed orthodontic treatment, your teeth are more likely to shift quickly. In this case, it's crucial not to go without your retainer for an extended period.

  • Retention Phase: If you are in the early stages of the retention phase (wearing your retainer full time), skipping even a day can lead to shifting.

  • Orthodontist's Advice: Your orthodontist will provide specific guidelines on how often you should wear your retainer. Follow their instructions closely.

Should I Sleep with a Broken Retainer?

Sleeping with a broken retainer is generally not recommended, especially if it is causing discomfort or not fitting correctly. During sleep, you might not notice if the retainer worsens the condition of your teeth or causes pain.

How Quickly Can Teeth Shift?

Teeth can start shifting surprisingly quickly once you stop wearing your retainer. The speed of movement varies from person to person and depends on factors like genetics, the original issue that led to orthodontic treatment, and how well your teeth stabilized during treatment.

How Do I Stop My Teeth from Shifting Without a Retainer?

If you can't wear your retainer for any reason, there are steps you can take to minimize teeth shifting:

  1. Maintain Good Oral Hygiene: Brush, floss, and rinse your mouth regularly to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

  2. Avoid Hard or Sticky Foods: These can put extra pressure on your teeth and potentially cause them to shift.

  3. Consider a Replacement: If your retainer is broken beyond repair, consult your orthodontist for a replacement as soon as possible.

Can an Orthodontist Fix a Cracked Retainer?

In many cases, orthodontists can repair minor cracks in retainers. However, the feasibility of repairs depends on the material and extent of the damage. Always consult your orthodontist for a professional assessment.

Why Did My Retainer Crack?

Several factors can contribute to a retainer cracking:

  • Normal Wear and Tear: Over time, retainers may wear out or become more fragile.

  • Accidental Damage: Accidentally dropping or stepping on your retainer can lead to cracks or breaks.

  • Incorrect Handling: Improper cleaning, boiling, or bending can damage your retainer.

Can I Still Wear My Cracked Invisalign?

If your Invisalign aligners have minor cracks, consult your orthodontist. They will assess the damage and advise whether it's safe to continue wearing them or if a replacement is necessary.

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.