How Much Do Retainers Cost? | Which Type Will Suit Your Orthodontic Needs AND Fit Your Budget?

Are you in search of a retainer to keep your teeth from moving after they have been straightened with braces? You have come to the right place. Retainers come in different types; a permanent and removable retainer.

So, how much do retainers cost? Their price varies depending on where it was purchased from, and its type. Read on to learn about their prices, while to check on their maintenance read this useful article. Of course, once you read that, you will want to find out more about the best retainer cleaner.

What are Retainers?

These are dental devices that are made of plastic clear retainers or wire to hold teeth together. When your braces are removed, a retainer is necessary to prevent your teeth from shifting back into their original position. Click here to find out what retainers actually do. Also, make sure to learn more about other ways to straighten your teeth in this review.

girl with a beautiful smile

Your upper and lower teeth become very wiggly after you remove your braces. This is because the bone around the teeth hasn’t firmed up. As a result, it is more likely that the elastic fibers around each tooth are more likely to pull it back to its original position. This is the reason why you need to wear your retainers for a couple of months.

Each retainer is custom made to suit the teeth of its owner/patient. Your orthodontist will create a mold of your mouth to design a special retainer device that will hold your tooth in position after surgery or after the removal of braces.

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The Type of Retainer and Their Costs

The good quality retainers made should be long-lasting, strong, adjustable, repairable, and comfortable. There Are different types of retainers and they are;

1.Traditional Hawley retainers

2. Essix retainers

3.Permanent retainers

1. Essix Retainers

There Are different types of plastic retainers and Essix is one of them.  It is the most popular type of retainer because it is removable, and is barely visible, just like an Invisalign.  Their cost varies; from $150 to $500.

This is for a full set of retainers, from top to bottom.  They may be prescribed by a dentist to wear after a brace treatment. Essix retainers are designed to sit on top of the teeth and can easily be removed.

Due to their clear nature, they are not easily noticed when you wear them. Their disadvantage is that they're hard to see if you place them somewhere else other than their protective case.

Also, they wear out quickly compared to the Hawley retainer because of the plastic material.

teenager putting on invisalign

2. Hawley Retainers

These types of retainers generally cost between $350 and $600.  The cost varies depending on where you are being treated, your specific case, and the orthodontist treating you.

This type of retainer is made with an acrylic plate connected by a metal wire. The wire part wraps around all or part of your teeth. Orthodontists have been prescribing Hawley retainers for a long time. This type of retainer can be molded depending on the patient’s case of malocclusion or crooked teeth.

These orthodontic retainers play a big role in preventing teeth from sliding back into their previous positions.  

Generally, the wire runs across the front teeth which have little loops that can be used to adjust the Hawley retainer making it tighter or loose. On the downside, if patients aren't comfortable with this retainer or do not fit well, their teeth start to move, which can be hard to regain the intended position.

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3. Bonded Retainers

They are also known as fixed retainers or lingual wire. A Bonded retainer cost is from $150 to $500 to put or replace.

A bonded retainer is common nowadays. This is where an orthodontist uses a piece of metal wire that is glued to the back of the upper or lower teeth. For a fixed retainer to be effective, an orthodontist uses a lot of glue on the back of each tooth that the retainer attaches to.

Fixed bonded retainers make it hard for patients to properly clean their teeth and overtime plaque may start to build up. This composite will absorb liquid and food particles resulting in bacterial infection and the patient's breath can begin to smell.

check out bonded retainers


Removable and Permanent Retainer

The cost for removable clear plastic retainers is $400 to $800 for both arches while a permanent retainer is $500 per arch (lower or upper teeth).

They each have their pros and cons.  Permanent ones are the perfect choice for patients that want to get it and forget it. However, removable teeth retainer are the most popular compared with the fixed retainer and this is why;

  • A removable retainer-like vivera makes it a lot easier to brush your teeth
  • Retainers removable makes it easier for you to floss properly
  • If you’re using removable retainers, you don’t have to worry about your breath smelling because cleaning is much easier.
  • Easy to remove and eat whenever you want to than permanent retainers
  • A removable one like vivera doesn’t require maintenance such as strengthening the retainer with glue/cement compared to the permanent retainer.
  • Patients with permanent retainers are advised to maintain high oral hygiene because they’re likely to suffer from mouth infections.
at the dentist

Wired Retainers vs Clear plastic Retainers

A wired or metal retainer is just as effective as a clear one such as Invisalign; both hold the teeth in the exact position they were before.

The wired retainer comes in different varieties; some wrap around all the teeth or certain teeth.  Your orthodontist will prescribe for you the most appropriate type of retainer to hold your teeth.

Many people prefer clear vivera retainers because they are discreet, are comfortable, and are easy to speak when with them.  

The best type of retainer so far is the wire retainer. Orthodontists prescribe them more because they hold teeth better, and last longer, are strong, adjustable, and repairable. On the other hand, plastic retainers don’t last as long as wire retainers.

girl giving doctor invisalign

Difference between Clear Plastic and Metal Retainers;

  • A clear plastic retainer may need to be frequently replaced with a new retainer mostly if you grind your teeth a lot.
  • A clear retainer is discreet compared to a metal one
  • Clear ones are comfortable, easy to speak with and hold teeth in position without being obvious like their metal counterpart
  • New plastic retainers usually stain more quickly but they still work well to prevent teeth shifting.
  • A plastic retainer loses its grip and tightness more quickly than a traditional removable Hawley retainer.
  • You need to have replacement retainers at hand because a new retainer might break if you apply too much force.
girl putting on clear retainer

How much do Retainers Cost?

The retainer costs can be anywhere from $100 to $800. These estimates are for a single appliance, lower or upper.  The cost depends on several factors such as type of plastic or material used, provider, type of retainer, and whether it is included in your insurance.

Retainer treatment is very common with both adults and children that wear metal braces to help maintain the new position of their teeth after orthodontic treatment.

It may take several hours to construct a new one; the orthodontists must first examine your upper and bottom teeth layout. Then using an orthodontic mold dental work, they will construct a custom fit retainer for you depending on the type of teeth structure.

Orthodontic treatment retainers may have special clips to hold onto your molars to keep the retainer in position. A certified dental technician will process the retainer in a high-pressure water bath; it’s then polished, trimmed, and fit tested for your comfort.

How long do Retainers Last?

Just like toothbrushes, a retainer does not last forever.  However, metal or wire retainers tend to last longer than plastic ones.  Plastic ones are meant to last 6 to 12 months while metal ones can last many years. Look in this post to find about more about their longevity.

For best results, an orthodontist may ask his or her patients to wear their retainers continuously 24/7 for the first six months after braces removal to straighten teeth. After 6 months, you can wear a retainer less often, like 3 to 5 times a week, so no need to wear it for the rest of your life.

As long as you want to keep your teeth in the new position after removing your braces, you have to wear your Invisalign retainer, etc consistently.  

treatment is long

Are Retainers Covered by Insurance?

Dental Insurance does cover some orthodontic treatment though this depends on the company. I suggest that you call your insurance company and enquire if they cover orthodontic procedures such as Invisalign treatment, clear aligners, braces, or Invisalign.

 There three main types of health insurance plans;

1. Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)

These are orthodontic providers recommended by your insurance company. However, you may choose to choose the one you prefer, and your insurance company will cater to your medical bills.

2. Dental Maintenance Organizations (demos)

This insurance cover needs you to only acquire orthodontic services from specific centers to utilize whatever benefits you have.

3. New York State Medicaid

In this cover, you must have what is deemed a medical necessity in order to have orthodontic treatment by the insurance company or by your state. This insurance cover only qualifies for patients with extreme gum disease conditions such as oral surgeries along with braces or retainers.

Routine dental treatments, overbite, or crowded teeth may not qualify for a Medicaid plan.

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