How much do retainers cost in Australia, and what kinds of retainer should you opt for?
After braces (or aligners) have done most of the heavy shifting, retainers are (generally) clear cases prescribed by an orthodontist to ensure your smile stays in place.
Retainers are made from a mould of your mouth and are worn over the teeth to help maintain their corrected positions for years and potentially over a lifetime.
Just like braces, retainers have their own individual costs. This article will give you a clearer picture of what you can expect to pay for your retainers, as well as what options you have for them.
Table of contents
- How much does a retainer cost in Australia?
- Different types of retainers
- Removable retainers
- Permanent retainers
- Costs for different types of retainers
- Costs to replace a broken or lost retainer
- Factors that influence retainer prices
- Braces vs. retainers – which is better?
- Retainer treatment timeframe
How much does a retainer cost in Australia?
The average cost of a retainer in Australia ranges from $250 to $600, depending on the quality of the retainer and the type of retainer needed.
The exact cost of your retainers will depend on the type of retainers you choose and the duration of your treatment, but it will generally fall in between this range.
Different types of retainers
Retainers aren’t one-size-fits-all — just like your braces, they must be custom-made to fit your mouth’s profile and come in two main types: removable and permanent.
Removable retainers are the most commonly prescribed type of retainer.
Made of clear plastic, removable retainers can be easily put on and taken off, which makes them especially convenient when eating or brushing your teeth.
- Hawley retainers
Hawley retainers are used to expand the shape of the teeth during the first phase of orthodontic treatment.
Hawley retainers use a metal wire to provide additional structure to the retainer, stabilise the arch, and retain the shape of the permanent teeth.
- Essix Retainers
Essix retainers are an orthodontic treatment device that is designed to protect the results of dental work. Unlike Hawley retainers, which are used to shape the smile, the underlying purpose of an Essix retainer is to maintain the shape and ensure that the results achieved through braces are maintained over time.
Depending on the nature of the treatment, Essix retainers may be used as a ‘night retainer’ or may be advised for all-day and all-night use.
Permanent retainers, or bonded retainers, are non-removable retainers that stay applied to your teeth until the treatment duration is completed. While they may sound uncomfortable, they can prevent cases where you forget to wear your retainers or lose them.
Typically done only on the bottom row of teeth, permanent retainers involve the application of a wire behind your teeth, making them virtually invisible.
Costs for different types of retainers
Each of the different types of retainers has its own cost based on the materials used and the difficulty of their manufacture/application.
As the more durable type of removable retainer, Hawley retainers can cost between $150-$300 and can typically last about 5-10 years.
The price for Essix retainers is between $100-$250 for one or $200-$500 for a set. As mentioned before, Essix retainers are more flexible and need to be replaced more often.
A bonded wire retainer or permanent retainer for your teeth will cost you between $350-$700.
Costs to replace a broken or lost retainer
It’s common for removable retainers to be misplaced, lost, or damaged throughout your period of treatment.
When you lose your retainer, it’s important for you to get a replacement retainer as soon as possible to ensure that your teeth remain in their new and improved positions. Waiting weeks or months to replace a lost retainer may lead to more serious consequences, which require extensive orthodontic work to remedy.
The cost for a replacement teeth retainer will usually be the same as what you paid for the initial one or set. However, if the position of your teeth has changed drastically (due to a bad fall or an extended time of non-wearing retainers), the cost of replacement is likely to be higher.
Retainer treatment timeframe
A removable retainer should be worn all day (and night) for a period of 6-12 months after finishing orthodontic treatment.
Removable retainers can be removed for eating and brushing, however, outside of this, it is recommended that the retainer is worn throughout the day without interruption. Past this initial period, some patients will only need to wear retainers at night.
As the name suggests, permanent retainers are designed to stay in place indefinitely. Permanent retainers are designed to be worn indefinitely and, in conjunction with a good oral health routine, will help to maintain the results of orthodontic treatment.
In some cases, your orthodontist might remove them if your teeth are considered to be stable enough.
Factors that influence retainer prices
So, what makes retainers cost as much as they do?
The factors that influence the cost of retainers are the type (fixed vs. removable) the complexity of the retainer, and the skill and experience of the orthodontist.
The cost of retainers is mainly affected by the type of retainer you’ve chosen, but the location and experience of your orthodontist, as well as the complexity of your teeth layout, can also contribute to it.
Senior orthodontists tend to charge higher prices for retainers as they have a better track record of success compared to newer practitioners. Clinics located in the city will also tend to charge more for retainers due to the centrality of the location.
Braces vs. retainers cost
As two halves of the same process, you’d think that the cost for braces and retainers would largely be the same.
The truth is that while retainers are an essential part of the end process, they only cost a fraction of how much braces can cost. The price of expensive retainers goes up to $800, while the cost for braces often lies in the thousands.
Instead of looking at the cost of braces and retainers separately, it might be more holistic to look at them together when it comes to deciding on a teeth straightening treatment.
Many people make the mistake of thinking that their journey to a better smile ends when their braces are taken off — and with their teeth realigned, it’s easy to see why. By factoring in the cost of your retainers, you’ll be more aware of their importance and what decisions to make when it comes to getting your teeth aligned.
At Elevate Dental, we help our patients every step of the way in their orthodontic treatment, from the initial visit to the last when they walk out with a new smile. If you are thinking of getting braces done, contact our friendly team to book an appointment today!