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How Much Does a Replacement Retainer Cost in the UK?

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How do you get replacement retainers in the UK? How much do these replacement retainers cost?

This article will take you through all you need to know to determine the right price of replacement retainers in the UK by covering various aspects, including:

  • Understanding what replacement retainers are and why you need them
  • A closer look at how much different types of replacement retainers cost in the UK
  • Tips on finding the best replacement retainers in the UK

What Are Replacement Retainers?

A retainer is a custom-made device patients wear right after their orthodontic treatment. These devices prevent teeth from shifting positions or returning to their original state.

There are mainly two types of retainers: removable and fixed, which can be subdivided into other categories. Removable retainers are mostly made from acrylic or wire. They can be taken out for cleaning at any time by the patient, while fixed retainers are usually bonded to the teeth and can only be removed with the help of a dentist.

The most common types of removable retainers are:

Removable wire retainers (Hawley Retainers)
Removable wire retainers (Hawley Retainers)

The Hawley retainer is designed with a plastic body that covers most of your palate while putting minimal pressure on your teeth using customizable wires.

Clear plastic retainer
Clear plastic retainer

Plastic retainers look and work similarly to clear teeth aligners. They are made out of clear plastic and are barely noticeable when worn. Just like clear aligners, the patient can remove these devices anytime.

Vacuum-formed retainers look like clear plastic retainers, but only with a different manufacturing process. A mold of the patient’s teeth is taken, and a vacuum is used to create a plastic material around the mold.

Although not as popular, spring retainers are used by patients with significant overbite and underbite. These retainers are made from acrylic and wire and can be customized to apply pressure on specific teeth to correct a bite.

There are also fixed retainers that can only be placed and removed by the dentist. Fixed retainers, also known as bonded retainers, are cemented to the back of the teeth with special dental adhesives. There aren’t as many instructions on how to wear and take care of such retainers, making them a popular choice for most patients.

Your dentist may also recommend active retainers to further help you achieve your dental aesthetic goals, even after completing braces treatment.

Nevertheless, while retainers help prevent your teeth from shifting, they may get damaged or lost, especially for the removable retainers.

When to Get Replacement Retainers

After orthodontic treatment, it is important to note that your teeth will continue moving. In most cases, they will try to return to their original or initial position, which will negate your entire orthodontic treatment.

The longer you stay without retainers, the higher the chances of ending up with crooked teeth again. This is why you should strive to get replacement retainers as long as you experience the following signs:

  • Loose or ill-fitting retainers: When your retainers feel loose or don’t fit properly, it is advisable to seek a replacement. This is because an ill-fitting retainer can put pressure on the teeth, causing them to shift out of place.
  • Damaged or broken retainer: A damaged or broken retainer is not effective in maintaining the desired position of the teeth. It would be prudent to seek a replacement retainer if you notice cracks or other damage.
  • Lost retainer: It is advisable to get a replacement retainer as soon as you lose yours. This is because when you have lost retainers and stay without them for long, your teeth will shift back to their initial crooked position.
  • Wear and tear: Retainers can experience wear and tear over time, weakening their effectiveness. Some retainers ought to be changed once every few years, which is why you should regularly have your retainers evaluated by your dentist to determine if they need to be replaced.

Is it Possible to Obtain a Replacement Retainer From a Different Dentist?

It is possible to obtain a replacement retainer from a different dentist. However, it is important to note that if possible, you should still get checked by your original orthodontist, as they have a better understanding of your treatment and what works best for you.

However, a different qualified orthodontist can still evaluate your teeth and determine the best action for your retainer needs.

Nevertheless, it is crucial to keep all your dental records safe, which comes in handy whenever you seek assistance from a different orthodontist.

How Much Do Replacement Retainers Cost in the UK?

Are you planning on getting replacement retainers in the UK? If you have lost or damaged retainers, knowing their cost is a crucial aspect.

The cost of replacement retainers varies depending on several factors, including:

  • Type of retainer: There are different types of retainers, and the cost of each varies.
  • The material used: The material used on the retainer significantly affects the total cost. For instance, a clear plastic retainer can be more expensive than a traditional Hawley retainer.
  • Permanent or removable: In most cases, permanent retainers that are bonded by the dentist may be more costly compared to removable retainers.
  • Duration: Retainers may need to be replaced after some time. Retainers that will take longer before they require replacing often cost a lot more.

Cost of Different Types of Retainers in the UK

To help you further understand the average cost of replacement retainers in the UK, here is a quick guide with approximate pricing.

Clear plastic retainers replacement cost

The cost of replacing plastic retainers varies, mostly depending on the specific brands. Invisalign (Vivera) and Essix are the most popular clear plastic retainer brands you can get.

  • Invisalign retainer replacement cost

There isn’t a fixed price for replacing Vivera (Invisalign) retainers in the UK. However, you should expect to pay anywhere between £125 – £200.

  • Essix retainer replacement cost

Essix retainers are among the pioneers of the clear plastic retainer industry. They are widely used in many dental outlets throughout the UK, and getting a replacement Essix retainer can take you back £60 – £145.

However, you may order replacement Essix retainers online, ultimately lowering the total cost as it eliminates the go-between.

Fixed retainers cost

Fixed retainers are provided at the dental clinic, as they are bonded to the teeth and cannot be removed. These retainers generally cost between £150 and £350 per arch.

Hawley retainers cost

Hawley retainers are made from a combination of metal and plastic or acrylic. These retainers are removable and cost approximately £100 – £200 per arch.

Three images of different types of retainers with the replacement retainers UK cost (from left to right): Clear plastic retainers replacement cost: £60 – £200; Hawley retainers replacement cost: £100 – £200 and fixed retainers replacement cost: £150 – £350

Here’s a quick summary table to help you answer the question, ‘How much does a replacement retainer cost in the UK?’

Type of RetainerMaterialPermanent/RemovableCost per ArchDuration
Fixed RetainersMetalPermanent£150 - £350Long-term
Invisalign retainersPlasticRemovable£125 – £2001-2 years
Essix retainersPlasticRemovable£60 – £1451-2 years
Hawley MetalRemovable£100 - £200 2-3 years

It is important to note that besides the material, type, or brand of the retainers, the cost of replacement retainers also varies depending on other factors, including the location, the experience of the dentist, and the complexity of the case, among others. This means the prices may change depending on your unique situation.

NHS Retainer Replacement Cost

Eligible patients can get replacement retainers under the NHS. However, the NHS (National Health Service) retainer replacement costs vary depending on various factors, including the type of retainer and the complexity of the case.

In some cases, patients under the NHS can receive retainers as part of their orthodontic treatment. This means they do not have to pay any additional cost when deemed medically necessary.

The cost of a replacement retainer for patients that have completed their orthodontic treatment and may require a replacement retainer generally depends on the type of retainer needed. It is important to note that patients can receive fixed or removable retainers under the NHS based on their specific needs.

Nevertheless, patients need to pay a nominal fee depending on their NHS dental plan and the policies of the dental clinic they are getting the replacement retainers. Generally, you may be expected to pay £92 per device for replacement retainers under the NHS.

How to Get Replacement Retainers in the UK

If you need replacement retainers in the UK, there are various ways to go about it. There are two main ways of doing so, getting them online or from the dentist.

The best method to follow depends on your needs and the type of retainer you need.

Getting a replacement retainer from the dentist

To get a replacement retainer from the dentist, here are the key steps to follow:

  • Contact your orthodontist

The first step to getting a replacement retainer is contacting your orthodontist. They will be able to assess the situation and determine if you need a replacement retainer or if your damaged retainer only requires a repair.

Moreover, by contacting your orthodontist beforehand, they can provide you with relevant information, including the expected cost of the replacement retainers and how you can obtain them.

  • Schedule an appointment

Once you have determined all the relevant details regarding the retainer replacement process, including agreeing to the associated costs, the next step would be to schedule an appointment with your orthodontist.

During your appointment, the dentist or orthodontist will evaluate your dental situation, including taking impressions of your teeth to ensure the retainer replacement fits properly.

  • Replacement retainer fitting

Once impressions of your teeth have been taken, replacement retainers will be made at the lab. The time taken to make the retainers depends on various factors, including the policies of the dental clinic or lab and the type of retainer. Nevertheless, your orthodontist should be able to provide you with the expected timeline.

Once it is ready, you will pick it up and fit it to ensure it fits properly. Your dentist will provide further details on how to take care of your retainer.

Getting a replacement retainer online

While it is generally recommended that you get your replacement retainers from your orthodontist or a certified dentist, it is also possible to get good replacement retainers online.

Here’s a quick guide to help you through the process:

  • Find a reputable retailer

The first step when looking for replacement retainers online is finding a reputable retailer specializing in such products. To know how reputable they are, you can check their processes online and look at reviews from previous customers.

It is important to ensure the retailer has a good reputation before engaging them.

  • Choose the type of retainer

In most cases, you might only get removable retainers from online sources. This is because fixed retainers are mostly fitted by dentists. This means that without the dentists, you cannot have bonded retainers.

Consequently, you will only have the option of choosing among a plethora of removable retainer options, including the Hawley retainer and the clear plastic retainers, such as Invisalign and Essix.

Choose the retainers you are most comfortable with, which can help you achieve your overall goals.

  • Take accurate impressions

Most reputable online retailers of replacement retainers will provide you with a kit with materials to take impressions of your teeth. When you receive the kits, follow all the instructions from the provider to ensure that you take accurate impressions.

Some online retailers may ask you to take pictures of your teeth and share with them by email for further analysis. This helps them to determine the best retainer treatment for you.

Once done, send the impressions to the retainer manufacturers using the provided details.

  • Receive and fit the replacement retainers

Once the retailer receives the impressions, they will begin making the retainers. Once they are ready, they will ship them to you. You can wear the retainers to ensure they fit properly, and once everything is in order, ensure to follow the retailer’s instructions for maintaining the retainers.

Final Thoughts

Getting replacement retainers in the UK is straightforward; you can easily get them from your dentist or online sources. Whenever you need replacement retainers, it is important to know their average cost to be well-prepared.

Nevertheless, it is advisable to look for replacement retainers as soon as possible, as staying long without them may shift your teeth, returning them to their initial crooked position.


Are replacement retainers covered by dental insurance in the UK?

Some dental insurers may cover replacement retainers, while others do not. It is important to consider and check with your dental insurance to understand what’s covered under your plan.

Can I get a replacement retainer for free if I lose or damage my original one?

You will have to pay for a replacement retainer if you got your retainers through a private orthodontist. However, you may be eligible to get them for free through the NHS under exempt circumstances.

What factors can affect the cost of a replacement retainer in the UK?

The cost of a replacement retainer can vary depending on several factors, including the type of retainer, the material used, and the complexity of the fitting process.

Can you buy replacement retainers online in the UK?

It is possible to buy replacement retainers online in the UK. However, it's important to research and find a reputable online retailer specializing in orthodontic products with a good reputation.


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