There are a few instances that are very common here at the lab when we get broken retainers in. Retainers can usually get crushed if you put them in your back pocket, so it is always advisable to carry your retainer case. Also, when people do not have a retainer case and are about to have dinner or eat in a social setting, they might wrap their retainer in a napkin to keep it safe from the elements, but that napkin may end up at the dumpster and their retainer may not be found after that. It’s always advisable to keep a retainer case with you at all times and perhaps at multiple places. See, all of our retainers are shipped to our practices with retainer cases. Most practices will also provide you their own retainer cases. At the very least, you have two retainer cases that you can put at strategic places so that you’re never without one.
It is also advisable to keep your retainer as clean as possible. We tell our patients not to use toothpaste. You can use your toothbrush, but not your toothpaste because that actually creates more buildup than what it removes. It is always a good idea to get advice from your orthodontist and get access to cleaning tablets for retainers. They will allow for the buildup to be broken up so you can keep your retainers clean and lasting
for a long time.
Another source of pain for patients is how they remove their retainer from the mouth or put it into the mouth. Their retainers do have retention clasps, which are usually on the back part of their retainer. Those tend to be the most sturdy pieces of wire that you can have on a retainer and it is advisable to remove the retainer or put it on using those. For convenience of course, patients do sometimes pull their retainer from the anterior piece of wire called the labial bow. The problem is that that labial bow, because it is a greater expanse of wire, tends to be more flexible, so as you pull it in and out the mouth, the wire starts to flex, it creates stress on the wire, and the wire breaks.
Those I will say will be the biggest pieces of advice I will have for patients. Of course, we see that happening all the time here at the lab.