How To Avoid a Broken Retainer

In this post, we’ll look at how to avoid a broken retainer. It’s worth taking care of your retainers for many reasons. 

First, when you think of a retainer, think that it retains your perfect smile. So, if you break it, you’ll need to replace it right away, or your teeth could move out of alignment. Plus, replacing the device is expensive and you will need to come in to have new impressions made of your teeth. 

More importantly, you don’t want to lose the progress you’ve made wearing braces or aligners. Although it might not be much to look at, your retainer helps you keep your beautiful smile for a lifetime. Pretty remarkable, right?

Fortunately, there are some easy ways to avoid a broken retainer.

How to Avoid a Broken Retainer with the Right Habits

Even for the best of us, it’s easy to lose track of a removable retainer if you start with bad habits. Unfortunately, these habits are easy to fall into and will result in losing or breaking the device.

For example, you might take out your retainer and put it in a napkin beside you when you are eating. Too quickly, you can see how you might forget that it’s there and walk away without it. And, you might throw it away by accident. 

The Right Habits

Instead, keep your retainer in its case and always put the case where you know you’ll remember it every time. Also, write your phone number and your name on the case – just in case.

Choose one place, like a purse, or a backpack, wherever you are sure to take it with you when you leave. It might be a good idea to invest in a small waist bag/ fanny pack for the sole purpose of holding your retainer.

After you decide on the best place for you, do the same thing every time. Then, you’ll never lose or end up breaking your retainer.

Of course, the easiest way not to lose your retainer is to keep it in your mouth, except when you are eating, brushing your teeth. So, if you don’t have a safe place to put your retainer, you might be better off eating with it in your mouth. Just avoid hard and sticky foods, and never chew gum.

Lastly, you’ll need to store your retainer in its case if you play sports or spend time on the water, swimming, boating, or skiing. In this case, you may need to get a family member to keep your case for you or put it in a locker.

The Wrong Habits

Some might choose to put their retainers in their pocket, but this could be a bad idea. You might forget it’s there, and the retainer ends up melting in the clothes dryer. 

Another common choice is leaving your retainer in the car. Unfortunately, the heat inside the vehicle can distort your retainer, just like washing it in hot water.

Another tip: Watch out for cats and dogs. If you leave your case where they can get to it, your pets might think you left them a new chew toy! 

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Who says retainers can’t be fun!

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Your Smile is Worth It

A retainer plays a big role in helping you keep your perfect smile. So, it’s worth getting in the right habits to protect it. Your smile is worth it.

For more information about taking care of your retainer, see our instructions for removable retainers. There, we provide instructions for clear retainers as well as Vivera retainers. Plus, there’s a helpful video for tips on cleaning bonded retainers.

For more questions, send us a message on our contact page. Or call us anytime at 508-872-0555

Smiles in Framingham is the office of Dr. Deborah Himelhoch. We provide quality pediatric dentistry and orthodontics for infants, children, adolescents, and adults throughout Framingham, Southborough, Ashland, Wayland, Natick, Marlborough, Hopkinton, Holliston, and surrounding towns.




To all my wonderful patients and their families:


The greatest pleasures of my career are watching children grow strong and healthy and seeing smiles become more beautiful. It has been a tremendous privilege to be a part of that growth and transformation. Now, however, it is time for me to slow down and share the care of my patients.


Starting in September 2022, Smiles in Framingham will merge with Moynihan Dental Specialists. I will remain with the practice, but will reduce my hours and give up administrative responsibilities. The wonderful team of people you and I have come to rely on will be staying. They will continue to help care for you. There will also be new faces, new people who will get to know and care for and about you.


Dr. Michael Moynihan is a second generation dentist and orthodontist practicing in Framingham. Dr. Mike, as he is known, is on the faculty of Boston University in the department of orthodontics. We spent two years as teaching partners supervising the Boston University orthodontic residents as they treated special needs children at Franciscan Hospital for Children. It was during that time I came to appreciate both how skilled Dr. Mike is and how much he cares about his patients. I retired from teaching prior to the pandemic, but Dr. Mike still puts much of his time and energy into teaching the next generation of orthodontists.


I met Dr. Daniel Moynihan when he was my student in 2017. Even at that time he was one of my most conscientious students. He cares deeply about all of his patients and I am proud to be associated with him. Dr. Dan is highly skilled with all aspects of orthodontics, including treatment using Invisalign and other aligners.


Dr. Katherine Moynihan and Dr. Christine Chiao are other members of the Moynihan team. Dr. Katherine Moynihan finished her orthodontic training at Boston University in 2021. Dr. Christine Chiao is a pediatric dentist, who also teaches at the Boston University School of Dental Medicine.


Life is an adventure with many chapters, twists, and turns. I enter this chapter of my life looking forward to what comes next and feeling some sadness that this phase of my life is changing. For now, we will be keeping all appointments as scheduled. We will contact you individually about any appointment changes. All orthodontic contracts will be honored with care provided by the orthodontists. I have every confidence that the doctors of Moynihan Dental Specialists will provide you with excellent care for many years to come.


My very best wishes to all of you,


Dr. Deborah Himelhoch