Suggestions for Braces and Retainers on Passover
I preface any discussion with the disclaimer that I am not a rabbi. All halachic questions should be presented to a competent rabbi.
- This year, with erev Pesach on Shabbos, there is a special problem for those with braces. Most people will be eating the Shabbos seuda with challah right before the deadline for prohibition of chametz. Therefore, for those with braces it is almost impossible on Shabbos to be assured of having removed every trace of chametz. In theory, it is possible to brush teeth very well with a dry toothbrush (no toothpaste) if one’s gums don’t bleed. However, those for whom this is not possible are strongly advised to consider eating Matzah ashira (egg matzah) and not eating any chametz. It would also be advised not to eat hot chametz with braces or retainers for this Shabbos.
- Those patients wearing orthodontic elastics should be aware that the elastics are
manufactured with corn starch which is a derivative of legumes (kitnios). Therefore, on Pesach, elastics should be rinsed in water before wearing.
- Regarding removable plastic appliances (retainers, Invisalign, and bite plates), there are various opinions about how to prepare them for Pesach. Many rabbis will advise cleaning them well in warm water and leaving them out for 24 hours. Please do not boil them. A rule of thumb is that if the water is too hot for your finger, it is too hot for the plastic. Boiling water will warp the plastic.
- Invisalign patients might try to change to the next tray on the first day of Pesach
— Dr. Rubin