Make a Night Time Orthodontic Retainer

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I lost my retainer about 6 months ago. It was a clear invisalign retainer, and I really didn't want to pay 200 dollars to get a new one. So I made my own, and they work great.
The pictures show the finished product.
Notice that they are white, so they are only really good for night time, unless you want to look like a dork. Usually after 6 months you can only wear them at night anyways.

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Step 1: Materials/ Tools Needed


A glass cup
Water
Around 5 grams of Shapelock plastic, aka friendly plastic, per retainer
Microwave

The best place to get the plastic is by getting a 35 gram sample for 5 dollars here
http://shapelock.com/page3.html

Step 2: Melting and Forming

If this is your second retainer you are making, make sure you have the previous one in your mouth. This way they will fit together when you bite down.

Fill up the glass cup with water and put it in the microwave until it bubbles (around 2 min). Pour the shapelock plastic into the water and let it sit until it is all clear. Use a fork or something else to press the plastic together into a ball. Once it is totally clear, take it out with a fork and pull a chunk off of it, around 5 g. Then shape it into a half ring in the shape of your teeth. Make sure it is wide so you can fold it over the teeth. (See pic)

Do not try to press it onto your teeth yet. Once it is in a basic half ring shape, put it back into the water to let it soften again, then take it out and fold the edges in. (See pic)

Step 3: Fitting

Once that is done, soften it again by putting it in the water, then immediately take it out and place it in your mouth, over your teeth (top or bottom). Try to create suction with your mouth to get the retainer to fit snugly over your teeth. Use your fingers to press the plastic around your teeth also. If this is your second retainer you are making, bite down so that the other retainer makes an impression in the current one. This will ensure that they fit together.

Leave the retainer in your mouth for a few minutes while it hardens, then take it out.

If any part sticks out and is uncomfortable, it can be cut off with scissors or tin snips.
If it still is not the way you want it, resoften it in the water again and reform.

This plastic can be melted as many times as needed.

1 Person Made This Project!

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87 Discussions

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Thomas TEMPÉBethany_southern

Answer 12 days ago

It's the same material as the "very low temperature" 3D pen filaments and PCL filament for 3D printers. If you're done with sleeping with non-food-grade material on your mouth, that may make it easier to buy.

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galaxyman7Bethany_southern

Answer 11 months ago

I think the generic name for it is moldable plastic or morph plastic. The actual name of the plastic is PCL. It should melt in boiling water, and be food safe.

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Bethany_southerngalaxyman7

Reply 11 months ago

Where would i be able to get some of this plastic, I live in England and am unsure where I can get it from

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galaxyman7Bethany_southern

Reply 11 months ago

I'm not sure where you could get it in England. You would have to look that up.

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Thomas TEMPÉAbigailO4

Answer 12 days ago

It won't.
If you heat it above 60°C, it becomes soft and colorless. You have to cool it down quite a bit before it softens back (there is a significant hysteresis). But body heat is definitely not enough.

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galaxyman7CourtneyC74

Answer 1 year ago

They can crack if you make them too thin in areas, but if you make sure they are thick enough, they last forever

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magushnik01

3 years ago

Thats pretty cool. You can get professionally made retainers tho for much less than what you pay at the dentist. I'd go to www.royaldentaldirect.com

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kyler405galaxyman7

Reply 3 years ago

I have my mold from my orthodontist. Could i make my retainer from that? Its been wayyy to long to make it from my teeth ha.

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Kxl1e

3 years ago

I lost my retainer two days ago, I was looking everywhere for something I can use and I saw this, I am going to try to make it but I have a question. What do I do after its done in the microwave? Please answer right away and thank you..

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camillekn

3 years ago

can you get this plastic in any stores?

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DaniaA6

3 years ago

I wasn't able to get shapelock, is Instamorph okay?

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Chantelletj

3 years ago

Hello, i know this was posted some time ago but heres hoping youll reply. I broke my retainer after only having it for 2 months, whoops. Im in no position to pay the fees for a replacement and i have an obsession about my teeth. I think your idea if brilliant but im in the UK, so do you have any alternative tips please? Many thanks :)

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galaxyman7Chantelletj

Reply 3 years ago

The plastic is called "PCL". From wikipedia:


"PCL also has many applications in the hobbyist market (sold under various tradenames, such as "InstaMorph", "Friendly Plastic", "ShapeLock", "PolyMorph", "Plastimake", "Protoplast", "Plaast" etc.)."

So any of those will work, as long as they are food safe

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sissykeira

3 years ago

how do i make a clear retainer

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KashmereG1

3 years ago

Hey..i just ordered some of the plastic. Just wanted to know if you know how cavity fillings hold up when fitting the plastic around your teeth? Not recent fillings btw but old fillings.
Thanks in advance man