Finally! You just had your braces or clear aligners removed, and you have that gorgeous smile you’ve always wanted. Your orthodontic journey is done, right? Well, not completely. You have that beautiful smile, but now you want to maintain it. That’s where retainers come in! 

But you might have questions like…Why do you need a retainer? How much does a retainer cost? How much does it cost to replace a retainer if you lose it? Well, Oltjen Orthodontics has the answers! We can guide you through any questions you have about retainers, including what retainers cost to replace, why you need retainers, and what kind of retainer is best for you. 

What Types of Retainers Are Available?

There are several types of retainers after braces and Invisalign or other clear aligners. There are three main types: conventional retainers, clear retainers, and permanent retainers. Each offers pros and cons. Let’s take a look at them. 

Conventional Retainers 

These retainers are also known as Hawley retainers, spring retainers, or wraparound retainers. They are modern versions of the classic acrylic retainer your parents might have worn. The acrylic center is custom-made to fit the palate (roof) of your mouth and the tissue around your lower teeth and tongue. A wire is attached that fits around the back molars to hold it in place and across the front teeth to keep them from shifting. The pros are that these retainers are easy to use and keep clean and are a tried-and-true method of keeping your teeth in place. On the other hand, because they are removable, it’s easy to forget to wear them as long as necessary, and it’s easy to lose them. Not wearing them can lead to your teeth moving out of place. 

Clear Retainers

Patients using Invisalign or 3M Clarity clear aligners tend to prefer a clear retainer. Like the conventional retainer, the clear retainer is custom-designed to custom fit the patient. Unlike the other types of retainers, these fit over all of your teeth, keeping them all in their precise positions. As the name suggests, clear aligners are also clear, so they are nearly invisible. Many people prefer these for aesthetic reasons. Like conventional retainers, clear retainers can be removed. This makes it easier to clean them and your teeth, but it also means you can forget to wear them for the minimum of 22 hours a day Dr. Oltjen requires right after braces or clear aligners treatment.  

Permanent Retainers

Permanent retainers, also called lingual retainers or Essix retainers, are just as they sound. Unlike conventional or clear retainers, these retainers are not removable. Instead, a wire is bonded to the back of the front teeth to hold them in place. The big advantage is that you don’t have to worry about not wearing your retainer enough. Permanent retainers also have the advantage of being nearly invisible because they go on the back of the teeth. They are also arguably the most comfortable retainer. 

Oltjen Orthodontics uses permanent retainers with most patients. We do still offer clear retainers and conventional retainers for those that want them. 

Cost of Retainers

The cost of retainers can vary, but for patients at Oltjen Orthodontics, your retainer is included in the price of your treatment. With permanent retainers, you don’t have to face the chance of the retainer getting lost or accidentally thrown away when you take it out to eat. 

With the other retainer options, there is the risk of losing or damaging the retainer. If that happens, the retainer needs to be replaced right away so the teeth don’t move, particularly right after the braces or clear aligners are removed, and the jaw is still malleable. 

After going through braces or Invisalign, the last thing you want to do is pay an additional charge for new retainers each time you might lose or damage them. Depending on the type of retainer you choose, the cost to replace a retainer can range from $150-$600. That’s one reason we prefer permanent retainers — to keep the costs down for our patients! 

Maintaining Your Retainers 

It’s important to keep maintaining good habits after your braces or clear aligners come off, and your retainers go on. Dr. Oltjen will ensure that your retainer is doing its job of keeping your teeth in place after your treatment. If at any point you break, lose, or experience unordinary discomfort with your retainers, give Oltjen Orthodontics a call and we can identify the problem and make adjustments as necessary. 

Keeping Your Beautiful Smile

You’ve worked so long and so hard to get that beautiful smile. Retainers will help you keep it for years to come! Oltjen Orthodontics can provide retainers that will maintain your smile with minimal effort. If you’re in the Olathe, KS, or Overland Park, KS, areas, we’re here to answer any questions you may have about retainers, as well as braces and clear aligners. You can schedule a free consultation to learn more about orthodontic treatment and retainers.

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