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Q&A from the Bais HaVaad Halacha Hotline

Dental Car(r)ies

By Dayan Yehoshua Grunwald

June 10, 2022

 

Q May an orthodontic retainer be worn on Shabbos? If so, what about where there is no eiruv?

A  Chazal forbade most medical treatment on Shabbos out of concern that one might come to prepare medicines and violate the melacha of tochein (grinding). Shulchan Shlomo (328:67) permits the wearing of retainers on Shabbos because straightening of the teeth cannot be achieved through medication.

Shmiras Shabbos Kehilchasah (34:29) allows the wearing of a retainer outside of an eiruv. The Debreciner Rav (Piskei Hilchos Shabbos 3:43) says that if one only wears the retainer a few hours a day, it is better that he do so while indoors.

The retainer may only be worn out of the eiruv if it is properly seated. One who tends to dislodge it with his tongue should ask a rav. If food stuck between one’s teeth makes wearing the retainer uncomfortable and he expects that he will remove it, he should take out the food before wearing the retainer out of the eiruv.

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