25 October, 2009
I have a permanent retainer on my mouth and I have had it for about 9 years now. I had it placed in my mouth after I finished using braces. The retainer is there to ensure that my teeth do not return to the way they were before I had braces. I swallow incorrectly and therefore I am constantly putting pressure on my teeth attempting to make them move. If my teeth move too much it could lead to a lot of jaw pain eventually. Can I leave the retainer in for the mikvah?
A permanent retainer may be left in for mikveh immersion. However, you must take great care to clean the retainer very well to ensure no food is stuck in it or between it and your teeth and you should check to confirm that the retainer is securely attached before each immersion.
Note that there is halachic debate about when a permanent retainer may be left in for immersion: in all cases or only when medically advantageous. Our site's supervisor, Rav Yehuda Henkin, agrees with the lenient opinions allowing immersion with a permanent medical retainer even when the permanent retainer does not have a medical advantage over one that can be removed regularly.
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