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CostHelper > Health & Personal Care  > Dentistry & Orthodontics > Retainers

Retainers Cost

How Much Do Retainers Cost?

low costClear Plastic Retainers: $200-$500 per setaverage costHawley Retainers: $300-$600 per sethigh costBonded Retainers: $500-$1,000 per set
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Made of molded plastic and metal, retainers are custom-fit orthodontic appliances designed to keep teeth straight. Typically they are used to hold teeth in their new alignment after braces have been removed, although some retainers can be used to correct minor bite problems. Retainers have traditionally been removable, but there are now fixed/bonded retainers that use a customized wire attached to the back of the patient's front teeth.

Typical costs:

  • Removable Hawley retainers (made of hard acrylic molded to fit the patient's mouth plus a visible wire to hold the teeth in position) can cost $150-$300 or more for one, or $300-$600 or more for a set (upper and lower). However, a retainer is usually included in the overall braces fee, so there is no additional charge for the first set of retainers -- and some orthodontists include one or two replacements in their standard braces package. If not included, replacement retainers can cost $70-$250 for one or $140-$500 or more for a set. Most dental insurance does not cover replacement retainers.
  • Removable Essix retainers made of vacuum-formed clear plastic typically cost $100-$250 for one or $200-$500 for a set. They are prone to warping or breaking, so they may need replacing to be replaced relatively frequently.
  • Vivera clear plastic retainers by Invisalign have an annual fee of $300-$750, for a new set of identical retainers delivered every three months. Vivera retainers can be used by people whose teeth were straightened by conventional braces as well as those who used Invisalign's series of clear plastic aligner trays.
  • Bonded retainers that are glued to the back of the teeth can cost $250-$500 for one arch or $500-$1,000 for both upper and lower. (Bonded retainers are often placed on the bottom teeth, with a removable retainer used on top.)
  • Using a removable retainer to correct a minor overbite typically involves a series of retainers plus several office visits, X-Rays and fittings. This can cost $500-$2,500, although in some cases it can be $5,000 or more, depending on the complexity and length of treatment.
Related articles: Braces, Dental Veneers, Night Guard

What should be included:
  • Orthodontists may use a combination of different retainers to get the best results in terms of retaining the straight alignment created by braces. Hawley retainers have a visible wire in front of the teeth; are the most common and most durable; and can be adjusted by the orthodontist to make minor tooth movements. Clear plastic retainers are nearly invisible when in place, but cannot be adjusted and do not let the teeth touch in a natural way. Fixed/bonded retainers are virtually invisible but require meticulous cleaning and may irritate the tongue. provides an overview of retainers[1] .
  • Removable retainers are made using an impression of the patient's mouth. Fixed/bonded retainers are glued to the back of the teeth, cannot be removed by the patient and must be carefully brushed and flossed on a regular basis to prevent the buildup of plaque and food debris around the wires.
  • Removable retainers are typically worn 24 hours a day for the first three to nine months, then at night or for a few hours a day, depending on the orthodontist's instructions. If the retainer isn't worn as required, the teeth may return to their old positions and it could be necessary to wear braces again. Many patients need to wear their removable retainers a few nights a week for the rest of their lives.
  • With fixed/bonded retainers, some orthodontists switch the patient to removable retainers after six months or a year. Others leave the bonded retainers in place until at least a year after the patient's wisdom teeth have fully erupted or been extracted (typically age 18-25), and if there are no problems fixed retainers may be left in place for the patient's lifetime.
Additional costs:
  • A plastic case is typically provided with the retainer, but extra cases ($1-$10) can be useful, to avoid losing or accidentally discarding the retainer.
  • If the wire on a bonded retainers breaks or comes loose, repairs need to be done immediately and can cost $75-$250 or more.
  • There can be a discount (typically $50-$150) off the total for ordering two sets of retainers at once, so the patient has a back-up set. (Retainers are at high risk of being lost or misplaced.)
Shopping for retainers:
  • Retainers are generally part of an orthodontic braces package. Search for local members of the American Association of Orthodontists[2] .
Material on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications or medical procedures.
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What People Are Paying - Recent Comments

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Clear Plastic Retainer
Amount: $375.00
Posted by: Bill B in Norwalk, CT.Posted: August 11th, 2015 04:08PM
Type of Retainer: Plastic Clear Retainer
Back in January I was recommended to an Ortho and the total was $900, $150 for the evaluation and $375 for each retainer. According to my dentist that was reasonable. 6 months passed and I already chewed through on in my sleep and they charged me $375 for a new retainer after telling me it would most likely be "on the house." They re-billed my credit card from the first time. I am disgusted after reading this post. Insurance wont cover the new one they covered $375 from the first one
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I want clear braces
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: Pleh Meh in Nashville, TN.Posted: June 6th, 2015 11:06AM
Type of Retainer: clear
I really wanted to get clear braces!! Is my insurance going to cover for me, and how much does it cost to get one?
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Broke it
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: Madelyn Olmos in Clovis, CA.Posted: May 11th, 2015 12:05AM
Type of Retainer: Hawley bottom clasp
Okay, so I got my braces off two two years ago and I've always taken good care of my retainers, but yesterday I accidentally broke my lower Hayley retainer. Will the replacement be a lot? I don't even know how to tell my parents. I didn't mean to break it!
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Brace for only upper
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: Tyshea Riley in Philadelphia, PA.Posted: November 20th, 2014 11:11PM
Type of Retainer: None
The last time when I wore brace for only upper over a one year back in 2012 , somehow I got off the brace and I didn't get the retainer when the dentist suppose to . But yet for him got fired. I wanted to get one for only upper in Philadelphia , pa . Any suggestion ?
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Replacement Hawley Retainers cost
Amount: $638.00
Posted by: PDL in Fairfax, VA.Posted: August 12th, 2014 08:08AM
Type of Retainer: Hawley Wire Retainer
We paid $638 for a set of replacemet Hawley wire retainers at Hoffman dental. But we heard from one of our friends that their dr. office in Reston, VA charged only $315 per replacement set. We are not sure if we were over charged.
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lost my retainer
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: Bethani in shamokin, PA.Posted: March 25th, 2014 05:03PM
Type of Retainer: wire
I have had my braces off for about a year and a half, i cant remember what i did with my retainerast week. I am afraid that i wont find it and new ones will be terribly expensive Someone help
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Amount: $400.00
Posted by: Stevie in Newton, MA.Posted: June 11th, 2013 06:06AM
Type of Retainer: Clear plastic
It was cheaper than what the orthodontist wanted to charge me $750
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Corrective Hawley retainers to shift 1 tooth
Amount: $3,800.00
Posted by: Navi in Sugar Land, TX.Posted: April 21st, 2013 12:04AM
Type of Retainer: Hawley
The dentist says I will need a 9 month treatment that will cost around 3800. I feel as if thats absolutely ridiculous.The gap is BARELY noticeable, I think it's ridiculous that he expects me to pay more than what some peoples braces cost. Will be getting a second opinion. Anyone else have a similar situation ?
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Lost my retainer
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: Theguitarplaya in Somerset, KY.Posted: December 3rd, 2012 04:12PM
Type of Retainer: Clear
Well i lost my retainer well i was going to pizza hut and left them there and its way too late now to get them.. And if my mom finds out shes going to be pissed and if i dont tell her my teeth might shift !! What should i do ?
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Do I still need a retainer
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: Scared and Paranoid in Chicago, IL.Posted: May 23rd, 2012 01:05PM
Type of Retainer: Replacement
Broke my retainer recently, want to know if there is going to be a charge. Had braces years ago and wore my retainer the full five years I was told to. Now since it broke, I'm paranoid my teeth are going to shift. What should I do?
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Replacement clear retainer
Amount: $150.00
Posted by: Amber w/ Dr Eric Madsen's Office in Sandy, UT.Posted: May 10th, 2012 10:05AM
Type of Retainer: Clear
My horrid puppy ate my retainers (I was dumb and left them too low.) My orthadontist is only charging me $75 for each arch. So $150 total. I am so relieved, and was expecting much much more.
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Amount: $800.00
Posted by: sierra bethune in odenton, MD.Posted: August 23rd, 2011 04:08PM
I lost my retainer like 2 Days ago and to get another will cost 800 dollars! Ots way too much my mom can't afford it and I don't want my teeth to shift!
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Amount: $600.00
Posted by: Lili in Garden Grove, CA.Posted: August 13th, 2011 02:08PM
So like, i lost my retainer four days ago & i have to buy a new one because i only had mine for five months. So, i have to buy a new one for 600$. Once my parents heard of this, they got so pissed. I need help finding a place with a good price!
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Bonded Retainer
Amount: $300.00
Posted by: Thriller in Sherman Oaks, CA.Posted: July 24th, 2011 08:07PM
Both top and bottom after 2 years I went back because I could not use the plastic retainer. I never used it because it hurt to much, my teeth hardly moved, He wanted to charge me $300.00 for the top and the bottom for a total of $600.00 and I told him NO so we said okay I will do both for $300.00 - times are hard and the doctor needs money so make a deal like me
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Amount: $100.00
Posted by: Kait in Sacramento, CA.Posted: July 6th, 2011 11:07AM
It was such a good price? Right??? It was wonderful now gotta wait 2 years then I'll get braces
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Amount: $0.00
Posted by: Magnolia Brown in St.Geroge, UT.Posted: March 28th, 2011 11:03AM
I got my retainer for free, once i got my braces off the doctor made one for me. It costed me nothing.
Dr. Ericson
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Amount: $0.00
Posted by: A person who's done research on this in Houston, TX.Posted: March 11th, 2011 09:03PM
I haven't got my retaIner yet. But my friend has. Yes it is riduculous to pay 3000 for a retainer. They are only worth around 300- 500 dollars.
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Amount: $0.00
Posted by: Rafique Uddin in Norwich, Other.Posted: May 28th, 2010 09:05AM
I had my orthodontics removed from my teeth last year. I was supplied with an Retainer to keep my teeth in position after the treatment. I broke my retainer 3 times now, and my doctor didn't charge me a fee. Its been almost a year now, and my 3rd retainer had been crushed while on holiday. To get my forth retainer will i be charged by the NHS or will it be free again. i phoned up my orthodontist and the doctor said i may need to pay.
Also are orthodontists free until the age of 18? or 19 as long as you are in full time education.
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My parents dont have the money
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: not applicable in Erie, PA.Posted: May 8th, 2010 07:05PM
I need braces and a retainer, but my orthodontist's office doesnt take welfare. He said that my parents(divorced) would have to pay roughly 3,875 dollars to cover the whole thing. that would be a total 7,750 dollars roughly. Is this a rip off??
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Cost of Lost Retainers
Amount: $500.00
Posted by: Casey in Barnstable, MA.Posted: May 3rd, 2010 04:05PM
My son lost his retainers the very NEXT day- now we have to pay 500.00 for the lower and top retainers. The material isn't that expensive! These cost more than my new TV. or the cost of Airline tickets for two people, or how about an entire 40 hr. a week paycheck! This cost is way too much money. If you can, ask for an extra pair to be made. It really can't be that difficult to make these. We just allow ourselves to be charged an exuberant amount.
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