How to Make a Fake Retainer Out of Wax

Two Parts:Knowing the RisksMaking Your Fake Retainer

Retainers are medical devices intended to hold, or "retain", the teeth in place. Usually, people wear a retainer after removal of orthodontic braces. If you aren't seeing an orthodontist, you can still make your own retainer out of wax. This technique is only decorative, not medical. There are many risks associated with making your own fake retainer.

Part 1
Knowing the Risks

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    Learn about damage to teeth. A dental retainer works by applying pressure to your teeth. If this pressure is applied wrong, the result might be wearing away the enamel of the tooth's surface. You can also impact the blood flow to the tooth, which causes the tooth to die. If your tooth dies, it will eventually have to be removed.[1]
    • With the wrong pressure, your teeth can become loose. It will be harder to chew food, and your tooth might eventually fall out.
    • Your tooth can become discolored. Its naturally ivory/white color will turn to dull gray or black.
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    Be aware of how fake retainers affect gums. An improperly fitting retainer will irritate your gums. It may cause bleeding, infection, and inflammation. Because your gums are essential to maintaining your teeth's health, damage to your gums results in damage to your teeth.[2]
    • If you notice any irritation to your gums, remove your retainer immediately.
    • Your gums can recede or pull away from your tooth. This exposes more of the tooth's surface to bacteria, and weakens the overall strength of the tooth.
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    Avoid Bisphenol-A (aka BPA). If you purchase your retainers from an orthodontist, it will be made of substance approved by the FDA for safe oral use. However, making your own retainer may mean you use plastics contaminated by Bisphenol-A, a common material in many commercial products.[3]
    • Even low doses of BPA ingested over time may result in chronic health issues.
    • Making a retainer out of wax means that you are likely to be wearing BPA-rich material in your mouth.
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    Think about schooling required for orthodontists. An orthodontist is a dental specialist. She must attend 4-8 years of post-undergraduate education in order to practice. There are only 63 programs in orthodontics in the United States, and they are quite competitive to attend.[4]
    • If orthodontics weren't a challenging field, it wouldn't require so much education.
    • The practice of orthodontics and dentistry is a medical practice, affecting not only the mouth but the overall body health. An infection caused by improper use of retainer can result in infection carried to the bloodstream.

Part 2
Making Your Fake Retainer

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    Select your wax. You can use the red wax wrapping from popular cheese products, such as Baby Bel Cheese, or you can use the clear wax wrapping of certain candies. For example, some stores sell miniature soda bottles made of wax.
    • Your choice can be based on the color of wax, or on the most available product.
    • Dispose of the cheese or soda in whatever way you want to. All you really need is the waxy coating.
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    Fill a glass jar with boiling water. If you don't have access to boiling water, very hot tap water will also work. Put the wax into the water and let it soak for short time. Being immersed in hot water will soften the wax.
    • You'll want to take the wax out while the water is still hot.
    • Putting wax into the microwave to heat it isn't recommended.
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    Mash your wax into a malleable shape. Holding the waxy product between your thumbs and fingers, press repeatedly until the wax shapes itself into a flattish oval shape. You want the shape to eventually fit over your teeth.
    • Don't let the wax get larger than your mouth.
    • If the wax is too small, it won't fit over the width of your mouth.
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    Press the wax against your upper teeth. With your thumb and your first finger, press the wax between your upper lip and your upper teeth. Hold the wax gently against your teeth and gums as you spread it.
    • Don't scrape your gums. You'll have to be gentle as you work.
    • It helps to use a mirror while you spread the wax.
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    Fold the wax over your teeth. Working from left to right, pinch the wax with your thumb and index finger against your teeth until it's smooth and flat. Make sure that the wax doesn't rub against or dig into your upper gum.
    • Gently press the wax against the roof of your mouth with your thumb.
    • Your fake retainer can be as wide as you want it to be. Usually, it will cover all of your front upper teeth.
    • The retainer will harden as it cools.


  • The American Organization of Orthodontists strongly cautions against the use of fake retainers. Improperly fitted retainers can result in expensive, long-lasting problems for your teeth, mouth, and gums.
  • Never use a night guard in place of a dental retainer. While the 2 devices share a similar look, a night guard is meant to protect your teeth from unconscious grinding during sleep.

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Categories: Teeth and Mouth