Nearly all orthodontic treatments require a retainer of some sort to be worn for a designated period of time afterwards. The purpose of a retainer is to keep the teeth in their correct position. Retainers are used after braces, after palatal expanders, after tooth extractions, and other orthodontic treatments, each with a unique prescription of wear time your orthodontist will specify for you and you should adhere strictly to in order to protect your efforts and investment.
In most cases, the cost of a retainer is included in the total cost of your treatment. Where the cost of a retainer may matter to you is if your child’s retainer becomes lost or damaged. A replacement retainer will typically come at an additional cost. The appliance alone may range from $150 to $2150 depending on its function and materials.
How much do basic after treatment retainers cost in Missouri? Here’s a general idea.
Average Cost of an Orthodontic Retainer
There are different types of retainers and they come at different costs. On average a retainer may cost anywhere from $150 to $800. Here are the specific types and their typical cost range:
- Hawley. A Hawley retainer is made of pressure compressed acrylic and stainless steel metal. The acrylic portion is custom fit to adapt against the roof of the mouth and behind the teeth. The metal part wraps around the front of the teeth. The cost of a Hawley retainer may fall anywhere in the range of $250-$600.
- Essix. An Essix retainer is made of clear thin uniform plastic. It fits over and around every surface of the teeth, almost like it was shrink-wrapped to the teeth. This is the style that Invisalign and other clear aligner systems use. An Essix retainer may cost anywhere from $150-$800. Some offices charge more simply because it is a more cosmetically appealing retainer, even though they are less strong and break easily.
- Permanent. A permanent retainer is made of metal or resin thread and is affixed to the back or tongue side of the teeth. The idea is that it stays in place unless your orthodontist removes it. A permanent retainer costs anywhere from $150-$500. These retainers are not without issues and should be reviewed with your orthodontist, dentist and especially your dental hygienist before selecting this type.
How To Avoid Replacing Your Retainers
Not interested in paying that amount out of pocket to replace your or your child’s retainers? Here are some tips to avoid losing or damaging your retainers.
- Always store them in the case. We like to say, “if it is not in your face it is in your case” When you take the retainers out, if you always put them immediately in the case you are not likely to have as many of the mishaps you will hear about. Do not place them on your plate or tray while you’re eating, because that is how they get thrown away or washed down the garbage disposal. Storing them in the case while at home will also keep pets from chewing them as they are prone to do.
- Do not wrap them in a napkin or tissue. Napkins and tissues are commonly snatched up and tossed before it is ever realized that your retainer is missing. If you wrap your retainers up in one of these or other disposable paper products, they are highly likely to get accidentally thrown in the trash. NEVER EVER wrap your retainers in a napkin or paper towel!!
- Dry them off before storing them. Retainers that are put away wet are likely to grow mold and mildew, which can permanently stain them or even get into the spaces between the plastic and metal. After you brush your retainers, dry them off before you put them in the case. This will help them stay fresh and clean. We also recommend that you never soak them in mouthwash that contains any alcohol. The alcohol denatures the acrylic retainers and makes them more porous and harder to clean which can cause the retainers to begin to smell and develop unpleasant tastes..
- Brush them daily. Brushing your retainers with your toothbrush and toothpaste will help them avoid growing bacteria, mold, and mildew. You should be brushing your teeth at least twice a day, so when you do, also brush your retainers. If you prefer, you can use a mild dish soap instead of toothpaste.
- Don’t chew gum with your retainers in your mouth. Gum is very difficult to remove from retainers and may ruin them. Eating some foods with your retainers in could cause them to break from the force. Hawley retainers are most resistant to these forces but most people prefer to remove retainers to eat.
How Long Are Retainers Needed?
You may need to wear your retainers all the time for a while, and then at night for a while longer. It would be very rare for an orthodontist to tell their patient to stop wearing their retainers altogether. If your retainer gets lost or damaged, you should contact an office immediately and consider replacing it. Having a properly fitting retainer will prevent your teeth from shifting back to their old positions.
Have More Questions About Retainers? Reach out to us at Demko Orthodontics.
Your orthodontic treatment doesn’t suddenly stop when your braces come off. After all the time and effort to reposition your teeth, if you don’t wear your retainers you could lose all that progress. Wear your retainers according to your orthodontist’s instructions.Think of your retainers as your insurance policy and us as your insurance agent. If you have questions, Demko Orthodontics is here to help.
Contact us at any of our 3 convenient locations or request an appointment:
St. Charles: 636-946-6503