If you need a retainerreplacement, it will actually depend on the kind of retainer that you have. Not all retainers are created equal and some are not really designed to be replaced so much as repaired. Affixed retainers are fixed to the teeth and hence cannot be removed by the patient (Shyamala Naidu & Anand Suresh, 2018). However, although fixed retainers may not need replacing as often, if they do need to be fixed, one of their major drawbacks is the expense.
This is one of the reasons when individuals are talking about retainer replacement they are most often talking about removal retainers. Removable retainers are the most common because they are the most user-friendly, and patients can remove and re-insert them. This means that patients can continue to enjoy their favorite foods and drinks, and maintain good dental hygiene. However, their proper use is dependent on patient compliance (Shyamala Naidu & Anand Suresh, 2018).
Of course, not everybody knows why they may need to get retainer replacements, or even if they should continue wearing retainers for teeth. Thinking about a replacement for a broken retainer or permanent retainer problems can make some individuals squeamish, especially when they wonder how much is a replacement retainer? Replacing retainers can sometimes be easier depending on your particular situation.
If you have Invisalign, your question may simply be how long do Invisalign retainers last as opposed to how to actually get retainer replacements? Regardless of what the need is, there are several things to keep in mind when you are wearing retainers and how to know if you need to get one replaced. Let’s break this into two categories: knowing when to get your fixed retainers replaced, and knowing when to get your removable retainers replaced.
Removable retainers, as the name suggests, are removable and because of that can sometimes be more easily damaged than permanent retainers. Removable retainers may be lost, misplaced, left in the wrong pocket, left at work or at school, or could simply be damaged because of careless handling. Dropping it on the floor, stepping on it, or rolling over it with a chair can all happen. If you’re utilizing plastic retainers like Invisalign, you simply could have pulled it out of shape, bent it, warped it with hot water, or cracked it.
A good way to know if your retainer is still doing its job is to see how well it fits. If it has become loose and does not seem to be attaching as firmly as it did then you may have an issue. Retainers are not made to shift teeth – they are made to retain teeth so if your teeth are feeling looser while wearing your retainer will not be able to effectively do its job of keeping your teeth in place.
A loose retainer is a good signal that you should check in with your orthodontist. In addition to that, assuming you simply haven’t lost it, a visual inspection of your retainer can help determine whether it has been warped, bent, or has any cracks. Talking with your orthodontic office about how often to replace them and what replacements will cost will help give you a good idea of what you should do when it comes time to change out your retainer. You can expect a replacement Hawley (plastic and metal) retainer to run $150 – $300.
Permanent retainer problems
Fixing permanent retainers is a bit more involved. This is because these retainers are not really made to be replaced. If properly cared for and you follow your orthodontist’s advice should not need to be replaced ever. However, life does happen and accidents can occur and the permanent retainer may have become damaged due to something you ate, a sports injury or accident, or any other number of circumstances.
This is where one of the disadvantages of fixed retainers comes in – they are more expensive, they are more challenging to install, and may result in the loss of healthy tooth material (Shyamala Naidu & Anand Suresh, 2018).
One way to help minimize any of these issues is to simply be careful about what you eat and if playing sports to always wear a mouthguard. However, if your permanent retainer is damaged, getting your replacement is not difficult; like with the others, it simply involves making an appointment with your orthodontic office to have it repaired. Repairing it quickly can be important as making sure that your retainer is retaining your teeth in the correct position will help make sure that your teeth do not revert to the wrong spots later. This can be especially important if you have just gotten your braces off.
Most individuals need to wear retainers for months and oftentimes years to make sure the teeth are fully fixed into the right positions. Talking with your orthodontic office about this though can help you have peace in mind. Your orthodontic office will be able to tell you how much retainers will cost and that will largely depend on your individual needs.
Some retainers can cost up to $500, as fixing permanent retainers may be dependent on the level of damage. Getting new Invisalign retainers may be significantly less – only a couple hundred dollars, especially if it’s covered by your insurance or already part of your pre-planned treatment. In fact, if you are using Invisalign for your orthodontic appliance, you may be due for your next set if the old ones are feeling loose.
Talking with your orthodontic specialist to get the best care available is the surest way of ensuring that you’re able to get affordable retainers to help retain your beautiful smile.
Retainers are an essential part of your orthodontic process. The active phase of your treatment was successful but not complete without a retainer to ensure that the teeth remain in their correct places and do not shift positions.
There are two main classes of retainers, namely removable retainers, which run the risk of being lost and needing to be replaced; and permanent retainers, which patients can wear permanently. It would be best if you spoke to your orthodontist about anything related to your retainer.
If you have a fixed retainer, you are not likely to require a replacement, as these retainers are bonded to the lingual surface of your teeth and require minimal patient maintenance. They are made to be very durable. They are a type of invisible retainer that because of their placement cannot easily be seen. It is usually used where long-term retention is required and involves minimal or no patient cooperation.
Removable retainers are not meant to last a lifetime and so may need to be replaced. Also, if the patient does not take care of their retainer, it will likely need replacing. Some common signs that you need to replace your retainer include a build-up of calcium, the presence of cracks in the retainer, and if the retainer feels loose and unsupportive.
Shyamala Naidu & Anand Suresh. (2018). ORTHODONTIC RETAINERS. Orthodontics. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/338990573_ORTHODONTIC_RETAINERS/link/5e37c3a9299bf1cdb9084dbf/download