Broken retainer, what to do?
May 15, 2006 3:23 AM   Subscribe

My invisalign-type retainer has broken and I won't see my orthodontist for months! What should I do?

I've had several jaw surgeries and worn braces over the course of around 6 years. The entire process is finally over and I'm winding down with a sleep retainer for a year, which i've worn for a few months. My retainer setup consists of a 'traditional-style' retainer for the top (red, flesh-colored hyperbolic surface shape with wires at the edge) and an invisalign-type retainer for the bottom.

While brushing the bottom retainer a few days ago, it snapped down the middle, probably weakened by my nighttime teeth-grinding. I can still wear both parts and they seem to fit, but is this hurting more than it is helping? I swear that even after a few days i can see the teeth begin to shift where the break is... although I may be imagining things.

The kicker: I'm staying out of town for the summer and don't know when I'll be returning to my orthodontist. Can I keep wearing the pieces without much trouble for a few months, or should I absolutely go home and get fitted for a new one? Or, is there any DIY solution, where I can just glue it back together? (half-jokingly asked, but i'm interested to hear the response. I mean, it's a pretty clean snap, and it doesn't seem too hard, and the last time I broke my retainer it cost a pretty penny).
posted by nervestaple to Health & Fitness (3 answers total)
Oh, and by a break 'down the middle' i mean along the vertical axis of the U, not along the retainer itself into two smaller Us.
posted by nervestaple at 3:26 AM on May 15, 2006

Can't you call him and ask if he can just make a new one and send it to you? He would still have the prints/casts (what do you call it?), no?
posted by ClarissaWAM at 3:42 AM on May 15, 2006

I am not a dentist and this is not a dental diagnosis or prescription. I do manage a general dental office.

It would be fine to call the ortho and try to have them remake. You'll almost certainly have to pay the lab fee, but likely not as much as an office visit in the town you are visiting. If the orthodontic office won't (for whatever reason, and I can think of a few) remake the appliance, you should be seeing someone in town who can make another. This will involve diagnostic films, possibly photographs, and a ton of paperwork. The new office will have to pay attention to your oral condition as it stands today. I would assume it better to have a new mold made altogether, because i am not sure how much your teeth have shifted over these few months.

Good luck.
posted by bilabial at 4:00 AM on May 15, 2006

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