Do you need a retainer replacement because you've lost or broken yours? If that's the case then you're probably wondering where to get a new one, and how much do they cost?
It is important not to put off getting a new retainer, especially if you have recently finished any orthodontic treatment. You don't want your teeth to move and change position after all that work!
But, we know it can be stressful trying to figure out the ins and outs of getting a new retainer, especially if you can't get an appointment with your dentist right away. And then there are the differences between getting a replacement with the NHS vs private care.
This article will walk you through everything you need to know about replacement retainers, including:
- How and where to get a replacement retainer
- New retainer cost
- NHS retainer replacement cost
- Buying retainers online
Once you've read this article, you'll have all the information you need to buy the best retainer replacement for you.
Table of contents
- 1 When should I get a replacement retainer?
- 2 Can I get my replacement retainer from a different dentist?
- 3 How to get a new retainer
- 4 How much does it cost to get a new retainer in the UK?
- 5 I lost my retainer and can't afford a new one
- 6 Can I buy retainers online?
- 7 Conclusion
- 8 FAQs
When should I get a replacement retainer?
As we mentioned before, it is important to order a new retainer as soon as possible if you have lost or broken yours. This is because, after orthodontic treatment, your teeth will continue to move.
And they will often try to get back to their original position. The longer you put off getting a new retainer, the greater the risk you'll end up with crooked teeth again.
Some types of retainers actually require you to change them every few months or every couple of years. Hawley retainers can go longer than clear plastic retainers before needing to be replaced – around 5 to 8 years. And permanent retainers can last 20 years or more, making them the longest-lasting type of retainer.
Here are some signs that you may need to replace your retainer:
- Visible signs of wear, like holes or cracking
- Your retainer is broken or lost
- A buildup of plaque or discolouration (this can be avoided with proper retainer cleaning)
- Your retainer does not fit
Can I get my replacement retainer from a different dentist?
The dentist you had when you had braces as a teenager may be long gone from your life. But, don't worry, your new dentist will most likely be able to access your dental records. Regardless, you will still need to make an appointment, and you might have to get new models of your teeth done.
However, if you get the OK from your dentist or orthodontist first, it's also fine to buy your retainers online, as long as you use a reputable company.
How to get a new retainer
The process for replacing retainers varies depending on the kind of retainer you have and whether or not you are with an NHS dentist or a private dentist. Either way, to get a replacement retainer, your orthodontist will need a model of your teeth to work from.
These models can be made with the traditional moulding putty, or with 3D scans, which tend to be more accurate. Once the models have been made to your orthodontist's satisfaction, they will then be sent to a lab where your actual retainer will be made.
You may not always have to have a new model of your teeth made if you need a replacement retainer. If your orthodontist or dental lab has the records of your teeth stored in their system, and if your teeth haven't shifted out of position, they'll be able to make your new retainers without you making a physical trip to the office.
If you have a permanent retainer, then you'll need to get your retainer replaced or fixed at the dentists. Don't try to fix your permanent retainer at home!
How to get retainers online
There are also a growing number of online options for retainer replacement. You can get clear plastic retainers and Hawley retainers online. This process usually involves ordering a tooth impression kit online, making the models of your teeth at home, and sending them back to the company.
They will then use your models to craft your replacement retainers in the lab and send them back to you. Many people like this option because it doesn't require them to leave their home, while others prefer direct contact with their orthodontist, or may find it difficult to make their own impressions at home.
In the video below, Dr Jiten Vadukul discusses broken retainers and the process of getting a replacement from your orthodontist:
How much does it cost to get a new retainer in the UK?
The cost of replacement retainers will vary depending on the type and where you get them from. Let's have a look at some of the common types of retainers and the cost of replacing them.
NHS retainer replacement cost
If you go to an NHS dentist you will have to pay a fee for replacement retainers, even if you or your child had your braces treatment for free. The NHS charge for replacement retainers is £84.80 per device.
Clear plastic retainer replacement cost
The costs for replacing clear plastic retainers can vary greatly. For a set, you can pay anywhere from £60 to £700. To narrow down the price range, it helps to take a look at specific brands, like Invisalign (Vivera) or Essix retainers.
Invisalign retainer replacement cost
There is no fixed replacement retainer cost for Vivera retainers (Invisalign retainers), but you can purchase them in sets of four, which helps bring the price down a bit. For a set of four Vivera retainers, you can expect to pay anywhere from £125 – £200.
Vivera retainers are some of the most affordable retainers available, and they also tend to be quite durable. They are also available to anyone through a dentist, they are not just for Invisalign patients.
Essix retainer replacement cost
Essix retainers are the original clear plastic retainer and these can cost anywhere from £60 – £145 for a single retainer if you get them from the dentist. If you order them online, the cost can go down quite a bit because you're cutting out the middleman.
If you're interested in ordering replacement Essix retainers online, make sure to choose a reputable service.
Hawley retainer replacement cost
Hawley retainers are often the best bang for your buck, although they aren't the most aesthetic option because they have a metal bar that goes across the front of your teeth. However, they are the most durable kind of retainer and they're easy to clean. They're also quite affordable, ranging from £70 – £150 per single retainer.
Have a look at the table below for a summary of the different retainer costs and lifespan estimates:
Type of retainer
Permanent or removable?
Wire fixed behind teeth
£100 - £400 (single)
3 - 10 years
Wire and plastic
£70 - £150 (single)
5 - 10 years
£60 - £145 (single)
6 months - 3 years
£125 - £200 per set
1 - 5 years
I lost my retainer and can't afford a new one
Even the most affordable retainers can still take a chunk out of your budget, and you might be tempted to put off replacing your retainer to avoid the extra cost. But, it's important you don't put off replacing your retainer because the longer you do, the more your teeth will shift out of place.
You'll also need to get new moulds made of your teeth, which could cause the price of your replacement retainers to go up. So how can you find affordable retainer replacement? Let's find out!
Cheap retainer replacement
The cheapest retainer replacement will be the online method. There are many companies offering affordable retainer replacement at a much lower cost than you would find at the dentist.
In many cases, that doesn't mean that your online retainers are of inferior quality; it's just that because these online companies cut out the middleman and you make your own teeth moulds at home, they're able to keep costs down.
Can I buy retainers online?
You can buy retainers online. In fact, buying retainers online—new or replacement—is becoming more popular because they are high quality and the process is convenient and affordable. You can get most types of retainers online, including Invisalign, Essix, and Hawley retainers.
You can't get permanent retainers online because your dentist or orthodontist needs to be present to fix them permanently to your teeth.
Essix retainer online
There are several companies in the UK who offer Essix retainers online. This service can be useful if you can't get to a dentist or just need a more affordable retainer replacement.
These online retainer companies will send you an impression kit that you use to make moulds of your teeth at home. Once you've made your moulds, you send them off to a dental lab. The lab will create your retainers and post them out to you.
This is a great option for many people, but not everyone; in some cases, you may have to go see your orthodontist or dentist in person to get a new retainer, especially if your teeth have shifted a lot.
Companies like Guardian Pro, Vivident and Retainers Online all offer this service in the UK.
Hawley retainer online
If you want to purchase your Hawley retainer online, you'll typically pay between £70 – £150.
The general steps you'll need to go through to get your Hawley retainer are as follows:
- Make sure that the Hawley retainer is most suitable for your needs. These retainers are typically used to hold teeth in place that are already straightened—they aren't used to straighten teeth.
- Order your impression kit to make your teeth moulds at home.
- Take your teeth impressions per kit instructions.
- Receive your replacement Hawley retainer in the mail.
At some point in your life, you'll probably need to replace your retainers. While permanent retainers can last up to 20 years, clear plastic retainers need to be replaced every couple of years. And, some retainers need to be replaced every 6 months.
No matter what type of retainer you have, it's important to replace your retainers if they are broken, lost, or simply worn out. That's because your teeth will begin to move out of alignment, and you may even need to get braces again.
To replace your retainer, you can visit your orthodontist or you can order them online through a trusted and reputable service.
Ordering your replacement retainer online can make it a quick and hassle-free process. It's also one of the most affordable ways to get new retainers because you make your own tooth moulds at home, cutting out extra service fees.
How much is a replacement retainer?
The cost of replacement retainers will depend on the type of retainer you get and whether you get it in-office or online. Invisalign retainers can cost anywhere between £125 – £200 per set. Essix retainers generally cost between £60 – £145 per retainer, and Hawley replacement retainers cost between £70 – £150 per retainer to replace.
Can you buy retainers online in the UK?
There are plenty of online services that create quality and affordable retainers, including Hawley and Essix retainers. First, you first order an impression kit and take your own teeth moulds at home. Once you have sent your moulds back to the company they will create your retainers in a dental lab. Then, they'll send your retainers back to you directly at home.
How often should I get a new retainer?
The frequency with which you should replace your retainer depends on the kind of retainer. Some require you to change them every few months and others, like permanent retainers, can last 20 years. You should also replace your retainers if they break or show signs of severe wear and tear, or discolouration.
European Journal of Orthodontics: Survival Analysis of Orthodontic Retainers. Consulted 23rd May 2021.