Make a Night Time Orthodontic Retainer




Introduction: Make a Night Time Orthodontic Retainer

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.

Step 1: Materials/ Tools Needed

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

The best place to get the plastic is by getting a 35 gram sample for 5 dollars here

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.



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    81 Discussions

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

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

    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.


    2 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..

    can you get this plastic in any stores?

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

    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 :)

    1 reply

    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

    how do i make a clear retainer

    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

    1 reply

    It shouldn't affect them. The plastic isn't very sticky so it won't grab the fillings or anything.


    2 years ago

    First off thank you for pointing a lot of us in the right direction but I do have some questions that your experience would be able to answer.

    I am ordering some of this stuff from amazon today. Any tips on your technique to go from glass to mouth without burning yourself? I will be using boiling water instead of microwave have you tried it and know of any problems I might have to be concerned about? Also how long do I have to keep it in my mouth before its hard enough to remove and still fit? Anything else you might not consider important because you have done this a few times before that I might need to know when I get start doing it myself?

    Again thank you very much for this information your going to save a lot of us a good amount of cash and having to deal with stress about our teeth moving!

    1 reply

    Your not going to have a problem with it being too hot. Just let it cool in the air and test it with yiur fingers before putting it in your mouth. Also, the plastic cools very quickly when it is in your mouth, so it is going to take a few times to get it to the right shape. Once you feel it become rigid, you can take it out. It should be pretty obvious.

    Ahh I see that shapelock took down their sample size. You can buy 500g from shapelock's website still. I have only used shapelock before so I'm not sure how other similar products will work. You can look for "shapelock", on amazon and it comes up with a bunch of similar stuff, really just under a different brand name. But do make sure it is the same type of plastic and is food safe before using it.

    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.)."

    I made this but they felt reeeeaaally tight. Do you have any tips on how to make them fit snugly but not suuuper tight?