Retainers & Emergency Fixes
Orthodontics for Kids
Orthodontics for Adults

Broken Permanent Retainer: What should I do?

Permanent retainers are an excellent way to keep your teeth in place. If you have a broken permanent retainer, you should see your orthodontist as soon as possible to get it repaired.
By myOrthos
February 21, 2023

Permanent retainers are an excellent way to keep your teeth in place. If you have a broken permanent retainer, you should see your orthodontist as soon as possible to get it repaired. You will certainly have the option of having it removed and replaced, or you can obtain a detachable one to ensure that your permanent one does not break again.

Permanent retainers can break from time to time, so don't worry! Most importantly, don't try to fix a broken retainer by yourself because you can damage it further or cause other injuries to yourself. In this article, we will break down the steps you should consider when your retainer is broken. 

Is a Broken Retainer an Emergency?

Most of the time, a broken permanent retainer is not considered a dental or orthodontic emergency. If you have a broken retainer, you will probably feel a frayed or broken wire or a change in one of your composite bonds. If you notice something like this, reach out to your orthodontist or one near you as soon as possible. 

Why Did My Permanent Retainer Break?

This happens because the dental composite bonds that bind permanent retainers to the back of the teeth become weak and break. This bonding substance functions similarly to the white material used by dentists to fill cavities. Although these bonds are strong, they do not last forever and may break down. The composite may break down;

  • After frequent abrasions from chewing and brushing
  • From significant impacts on your teeth like getting hit on the mouth with a ball
  • Due to fractures from biting hard food

In addition, the wire component of the permanent retainer may ultimately lose its strength and break.

Factors Leading to a Broken Retainer

A permanent retainer that is well-bonded may last for many years. Some people can even have them for several years without significant issues. For some, though, maintenance or repair may be required every few years.

Certain people will be more susceptible to permanent retainer debonding. Here are some factors that can result in a broken retainer:

  • Chewing on ice & other hard objects
  • Fillings or crowns placed on the front of the teeth
  • Biting directly or near the permanent retainer
  • A less ideal enamel quality for dental bonding
boy smiling with retainer

How Do You Fix a Broken Retainer? 

The type of permanent retainer and the damaged section will determine how your orthodontist will repair your broken retainer. If your permanent retainer's wire is still strong, but the composite has become too thin, the procedure will be simple. Your orthodontist will attach a new composite to your retainer and bond it to your teeth. It is a simple and fast procedure.

If you have a broken permanent retainer wholly detached from your teeth, an orthodontist will typically re-bond the retainer to the teeth. If this occurs, you should keep the permanent retainer and bring it to your next visit. This will expedite the repair considerably.

If your retainer wire breaks or falls off, and you do not bring it in with you, the orthodontist will most likely have to construct a new retainer. This will lead to a time-consuming fix and may require numerous visits if an outside lab creates the permanent retainer. After the new retainer is made, the orthodontist will attach the new retainer into place.

Visit a myOrthos Partner Near You & Fix a Broken Retainer

Permanent retainers can break, although it is not considered an orthodontic emergency. They can break due to various factors like chewing and biting, accidents and impacts, or fractures from biting hard food. If you have a broken permanent retainer, visit a myOrthos partner near you or contact us for more information.