After braces or Invisalign have straightened your teeth, you must wear a retainer to keep your teeth aligned. Post-treatment, your teeth will eventually shift out of place if you don’t wear a retainer.
Over time, you will find yourself in need of getting retainers remade. Don’t worry; we understand that things happen: your dog ate it, you melted it in the dishwasher (bad idea), you threw it out with lunch, etc.
Are you wondering, “How do I get a new retainer?” Or, maybe you’re looking for an answer to the question, “Can I get a new retainer from a different orthodontist?” and for the natural follow-up question, “How much does a replacement retainer cost?”
Either way, keep reading to find answers to these questions and more.
When Should I Be Getting Retainers Remade?
Don’t put off getting retainers remade. The longer you wait, the more at risk your teeth are of shifting out of place. Here’s how you know if you need an orthodontics retainer replacement:
- Your retainer is very worn out
- Your retainer is cracked or broken
- Your retainer is significantly discolored
- Your retainer no longer fits
- Your retainer went missing
If any of these apply to you, consider getting your retainer(s) remade as soon as possible. If you need an orthodontics retainer replacement, the question becomes, “How do I get a new retainer?”
How to Get a Replacement Retainer
If you’re wondering where to get a retainer, you’ll want to contact the orthodontist who straightened your teeth initially. If you’re looking for a new orthodontist, we’ll talk later about the question, “Can I go to a different orthodontist for a retainer?”
Depending on the technology your orthodontist uses, getting retainers remade may vary, but here’s the general process.
1. Schedule an appointment
First, you’ll need to schedule an appointment for an assessment. You likely can’t just walk into your orthodontist’s office and get the exact retainer you lost. It depends on how much time has passed, but your teeth have likely shifted while you haven’t been wearing your retainer.
2. Get a scan or impression of your teeth
Next, your orthodontist will need to take a 3D scan or impression of your teeth. Then, using this new model, they can create a retainer replacement. However, there are a couple of alternatives.
Option 1. Bring in your teeth model. Some orthodontists give their patients a model of their teeth once treatment is complete. If you still have this model – and diligently made an appointment right after realizing you needed a new retainer – they can use it to make your replacement retainer. Important note: If you do have the original model it must be perfectly intact (i.e. no chips, broken teeth, etc.). Otherwise, any retainer made on that model will not fit.
Option 2. Use a stored teeth model. Some modern orthodontists store a 3D scan of your teeth in their system. If so, you can simply call and ask them to make a retainer replacement without going into the office. Important note: If too much time has passed, your teeth will have shifted, and the remade retainer will likely not fit.
3. Create your new retainer
Once an orthodontist has an accurate model of your teeth, they can create your retainer replacement. The turnaround time may vary depending on if the retainer is made in-house or by an outside lab.
4. Ensure your new retainer fits
The final step is making sure the new retainer fits. Your orthodontist may ask you to come into the office to try on the replacement, ensuring that it fits properly.
Can I Get a New Retainer From a Different Orthodontist?
Life happens; people move, go to school in another state, etc. As a result, you won’t always be near the orthodontist who originally handled your treatment. Or, maybe you’re looking for a new orthodontist in the same area, wondering, “Can I go to a different orthodontist for a retainer?”
The answer is yes; you can get a new retainer from a different orthodontist.
The new orthodontist will likely want you to come in person for an evaluation before making your new retainer. First, you’ll need to fill out paperwork, talk about your teeth, and discuss the type of retainer replacement you need. Then, the orthodontist will need to get a new model of your teeth so they can have one on file.
They will also determine whether it’s been too long since your teeth have been retained. If that’s the case, the orthodontist may recommend a short-term treatment to get your teeth straight again.
How Much Does a Replacement Retainer Cost?
Normally, the cost of your initial retainer is included in your treatment. But how much does a replacement retainer cost? It depends on where you get it and what type of retainer you want.
Clear Retainer Cost
The price of a clear plastic retainer, often called Essix retainers, varies depending on how many you purchase. It’s cheaper to purchase them in a set versus just a top or bottom replacement. For a set of four retainers, you can expect to pay anywhere from $400 to $1,000.
Hawley Retainer Cost
Hawley retainers are sometimes considered “old-school” retainers. They’re a combination of a plastic or acrylic plate and metal wire—the plastic part being a replica of the roof of your mouth while the metal spans the front of your teeth. These retainers cost around $150 to $300, with a set costing up to $600.
Permanent Retainer Cost
Permanent retainers are when metal wires are bonded to the inside of your teeth. These retainers can last up to 20 years and cost around $250 to $500 per arch. Many people have one bonded retainer applied to their bottom teeth with a removable retainer for the top. However, not all orthodontists offer permanent retainers.
Ask Bates Orthodontics About Free Retainers for Life
Whether you need a retainer replacement, a new orthodontist, or treatment to straighten your teeth, contact Bates Orthodontics.
At Bates, we make the smile of your dreams more attainable than ever. Using the best tools in the trade, we offer Invisalign, braces, Lightforce, and retainers to bring children and adults the best, most efficient orthodontic care.
Be sure to ask about our Free Retainers for Life program because when life happens, we want to be there to help! Book your free consultation online today.