How to Get a Replacement Retainer
By Dr. Tyler Coles – Premier Orthodontics
Table of Contents
Once your teeth have been straightened by braces or Invisalign, they will need to wear a retainer in order to stay that way for the rest of your life…
…which is why orthodontic retainers are a life-long commitment. That being said, one set of retainers isn’t going to last you the rest of your life.
At some point you will need to get a replacement retainer. It could be months or years away, but you will need a replacement some day.
So, When Should I Get a Replacement Retainer?
In order to avoid your teeth shifting or moving out of position, you should never put off getting a replacement retainer. The longer you go without wearing your retainer, the more at risk your teeth are of moving back to unwanted areas.
Below are some signs that you need a replacement retainer:
- Your retainer is worn down or beginning to get holes in it.
- Your retainer is cracked or broken.
- Your retainer is severely discolored.
- Your retainer is no longer fitting properly.
- You’ve lost your retainer.
- You stopped wearing your retainer and now it doesn’t fit.
If any item on this list applies to you, it’s time to look into getting a replacement retainer.
What Steps Are Involved With Getting a Replacement Retainer?
Depending on what type of technology your orthodontist uses, getting a replacement retainer may look a little different. We’ll outline the general process for getting a replacement retainer that applies to just about every type of orthodontist office.
The first step in getting a replacement retainer is creating a model of your teeth. Your orthodontist may need to schedule you to come into the office to get a new 3D scan of your teeth or an impression. Using this scan or impression, they will then make a model of your teeth.
Some orthodontists give their patients a plastic model of their teeth with their initial retainers when their braces are removed. If you have a model of your teeth, you can often take this to your orthodontist and they can use this model to make your replacement retainer.
Some offices may store your models or 3D scans of your teeth. If this is the case, the office may be able to use the scan or model that they have in storage to make you a model of your teeth. That way you won’t even have to come into the office.
Once the orthodontist has a proper model of your teeth, they can produce a replacement retainer. This may be done in-house or by an outside lab. In-house tends to be a quicker turnaround time, while an outside lab just means you’ll have to wait a few extra days to get your replacement retainers in.
The orthodontist will usually have you come in the office to try on the replacement retainer and make sure it’s a good fit.
Can I Get a Replacement Retainer from a Different Orthodontist?
Many people go off to school or move states and won’t be close to the orthodontist who did their braces or Invisalign treatment. Yet, no matter where you go, chances are good you will be needing a replacement retainer. In cases like these it is fine to see a different orthodontist.
A new orthodontist may need you to come into the office first to get their own 3D scan or mold of your teeth before proceeding with making a replacement retainer.
How Much Does a Replacement Retainer Cost?
The cost of a replacement retainer may vary depending on the office and which type of retainer you are wanting.
Many orthodontists, including Premier Orthodontics, include free replacement retainers for a certain period of time after braces or Invisalign with the cost of braces. (Click here to learn more about the cost of braces or Invisalign with Premier Orthodontics, which includes replacement retainers)
For someone who has been finished with braces for a period outside of that window or for someone who didn’t originally have braces or Invisalign with our office but is wanting to repair their broken permanent retainers, it costs $250 to repair or replace a retainer.
Some offices may have programs available where you can order multiple sets of replacement retainers at a quantity discount. These programs incentivize you to get multiple sets of retainers, which you will more likely than not need down the road anyway.
It’s a good idea to ask your orthodontist about their costs of replacement retainers. It’s also good to ask if they have a pre-purchase plan that lets you get multiple replacement retainers at a discount.
Hopefully this article provided you some general information about how to get a replacement retainer. Keep in mind that each orthodontic office will be a little different, so the processes and fees will inevitably vary. The best way to get started with getting a replacement retainer is to call the orthodontic office. Everything you need to know (costs, time frame, getting multiples) can be easily answered in a phone call.
Are you in need of a replacement retainer? Feel free to give us a call at 480-361-4600 to ask any questions or to schedule an appointment to get started with your replacement retainer today.
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