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How Much Does Permanent Retainer Cost? (2024 Edition)

If you are at the end of your orthodontic treatment, you may want to know the permanent retainer cost. A permanent retainer is an excellent way to reduce the risk of teeth shifting after the treatment.

However, they can be a little bit pricey and there is no guarantee that your insurance will cover it.

In this Dbd guide, we are going to answer your question about how much does permanent retainer costs with or without insurance. Additionally, we have put together the most common questions we get about permanent retainers and answered them. Moreover, we have also addressed the pros and cons of permanent retainers so you can make an informed decision on whether or not it is right for you.

What is a permanent retainer?

permanent retainer cost

A permanent retainer is a device that holds teeth in place after the orthodontic treatment. They are placed over the teeth and wired or cemented onto the natural tooth structure to hold the retainer in place. Orthodontists recommend this appliance. They want to ensure that all your teeth stay in their new positions even if your function or habits change.

It is important to know that your teeth may shift back into their original position if you do not wear your retainer. That means all the time and money spent on orthodontic treatment will be for nothing.

Permanent retainers come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. They may be made up of any material that is strong enough to withstand chewing forces. This often depends upon the patient’s specific needs as well as their personal preferences.

Permanent retainers can also be used as removable appliances if fitted with clips or springs that allow them to be easily put on or taken off.

Permanent retainers are also called Bonded retainers, Lingual wire retainers, and Fixed retainers.

Why are permanent retainers called Bonded or Lingual retainers?

Permanent retainers are glued or bonded to the back of the teeth, so no one can see them while smiling or speaking. They are not visible when you smile because they lie against your tongue (lingual). So, they are also called bonded or lingual retainers.

Traditionally, on bonded retainer, a small wire is cemented to the back of molars by orthodontists. There are generally two types of bonds used on permanent retainers, elastomeric and metal.

A traditional bonded retainer will last for a lifetime in most cases. Because the metal wire has been cemented onto the tooth and tooth enamel by a dentist in a process called “cementation.” In comparison with traditional bonded retainers, elastomeric is more comfortable.

Now you know what is fixed retainer is and why it is called bonded or lingual retainers. Let’s look into the upfront and maintenance costs of a permanent retainer.

How much does a permanent retainer cost?

permanent retainer cost

Single permanent retainer cost ranges between $150 to $500. The actual permanent retainer cost will depend on the severity of your case, the type of material used, and your dentist’s fees. Bottom and top permanent retainers can set you back around $1000. Permanent retainers could be expensive and may not be covered by your insurance. Therefore, you might want to get an estimate from your orthodontist before making any decisions. [1]

If you are thinking about getting a permanent retainer, learn all you can. You may also have to wear permanent retainers for a long time. Therefore, you also need to know its maintenance and replacement expense besides the initial permanent retainer cost. Only after knowing all the recurring costs, you can talk to your orthodontist about which appliance is best for your teeth and lifestyle.

Learn More: How Long Do You Have to Wear Retainers?

How much does permanent retainer removal cost?

permanent retainer removal cost

Having a retainer removed can be expensive. The average cost of permanent retainer removal ranges from $150- $500, depending on the type of retainer. This price will cover replacement or repair services after extraction if necessary. [2]

How much does permanent retainer glue come off cost?

Having the retainer glue come off can come up with a high cost. The average cost to scrape tooth enamel and refill with a bonding agent to reattach can range from $100- $500. The cost depends on how extensive the damage is.

How much does it cost to fix a broken permanent retainer?

Broken retainers also come with a hefty bill. The average cost to fix a fractured retainer ranges from $100- $500. It also depends on the extent of the damage and the amount of work to fix it.

How much does a permanent retainer cost with insurance?

Insurance companies may cover a part of the initial permanent retainer cost. Retainers fall under cosmetic treatments. Thus, on average your insurance can cover 20-50 % of your cost. Again, it depends on various factors like an insurance policy, where you live, and so on.

How much does a permanent top retainer cost?

The price of this device will be determined by your orthodontist and the type of material used to make it. Again, the cost of a top retainer can be anything from $150 to $500.

How much does a permanent bottom retainer cost?

Similarly, the price of the bottom retainer will also vary depending on the type of material used and your dentist’s fees. The cost of this appliance can range from $150 to $500.

Now you know the original and associated costs related to the permanent retainer. You may want to know why permanent retainer instead of removable plastic retainer. Here we have included a brief comparison between them.

Permanent vs. Removable retainers

permanent retainer cost permanent vs removable

Removable retainers must be worn every day, but you can take them out whenever you want during eating and drinking or brushing your teeth.

Permanent retainers are cemented to the back of your teeth. They cannot be taken out without help from either your dentist or orthodontist.

Permanent retainers are also called lingual, custom, and bonded retainers. Lingual retainers are bonded directly onto the back of your teeth. Custom retainers are fitted with a high-strength adhesive material. Bonded retainers rely on attachments on the back of each tooth for retention.

Permanent retainers are expensive. Different types and specialty appliances need to be made. If you need a bonded retainer or custom retainer, your orthodontist will have to take impressions of your teeth to construct it. Removable retainers are less expensive than their permanent counterparts. However, you will still find permanent retainers economic in long run.

Permanent retainers can be made from various materials. So, talk to your dentist about the pros and cons of each option before you make any decisions.

Learn More: Can You Drink With Retainers?

Pros and Cons of Permanent Retainers

A permanent retainer is a good option for those who do not need orthodontic intervention. It is also suited for someone who will be wearing a retainer long-term. Compared to removable retainers, these devices have many more advantages. 


  • Permanent retainers are not visible. They are fixed at the back of your teeth.
  • You can clean permanent retainers easily whenever needed.
  • Moreover, permanent retainers last longer because they are less likely to fracture and break. It happens due to decreased teeth flexing.
  • Mostly customized, so fits you perfectly and is more effective than removable retainers.
  • They are less likely to get lost.
  • You can eat and drink with permanent retainers.

In contrast, there are also a few disadvantages of fixed retainer.


  • They are not removable. So, it could be difficult for one suffering from an emergency to get treatment if their appliance is damaged or comes loose. 
  • Another downside would be the discomfort in wearing them when sleeping or during meals until you get used to them.
  • Permanent retainers can be expensive compared to removable ones. It depends on the type you need and your orthodontist’s fees. 
  • Lastly, they need more care and maintenance. For example, these appliances must always stay free of plaque and food residue, or you risk tooth decay and gum disease. You should follow the best cleaning methods to clean them regularly. Otherwise, you could risk the growth of bacteria.

Learn More: Do Retainers Hurt? How to Make it Comfortable?

FAQs about permanent retainer

How long do permanent retainers last?

Permanent retainers can last anywhere from 15 to 20 years, depending on the type of appliance and how well it is taken care of.
But there is not much information about the longevity of retainers on the internet. It is still an important question for people considering getting a permanent retainer. The top retainer may come off sooner than the bottom one. [3]

Can teeth still move with a permanent retainer?

Permanent retainers are not meant to stop teeth from moving, but they can slow down the process if worn continuously.
Yet, if the teeth are exposed to a constant force, they will move again. The goal of wearing a retainer is to cut unwanted movement with a retainer. Make sure you visit your orthodontist every three months to avoid serious issues. 

What should you do if your retainer gets bent or moves?

If you do not like the way your retainer fits, talk to your orthodontist about any changes you would like to make. The dentists should take a look and provide some advice on what adjustments need to be made.
Some retainers need special tools and equipment for removal and change, which can increase the cost of maintenance.
If you are not comfortable with your retainer anymore, it might be a good idea to get a new one from your orthodontist.

How to remove a permanent retainer?

Permanent retainers are not like removable plastic retainers. The patient themselves cannot remove them. They are cemented onto your teeth. 
If you go to an orthodontist, they can help you remove your retainer.

Can permanent retainer break?

Since permanent retainers are made using unique materials, they will not break easily like plastic retainers.
They are worn all the time. So, there is always a chance of them breaking or getting damaged due to extra pressure. If a permanent retainer broke you have to consult your orthodontist.

Does it hurt to wear retainers?

Unlike removable retainers, you have to wear them 24/7. You may have some discomfort at the beginning. When you get used to it you should not have any problem wearing retainers.
But, there is always an option to switch to a removable retainer if your retainer hurts.

Why is a permanent retainer also called bonded retainer?

Permanent retainers are known as bonded retainers. They are usually held in place by metal bands that have been “bonded” to your teeth with a special adhesive. The parts of the retainer which fit over the front of the teeth are made to resist chewing forces. So that it should hold up better than regular wire braces used for straightening teeth.

What is the difference between permanent retainers and Hawley retainers?

A Hawley retainer is removable. It could be more comfortable than permanent retainers because it is thermoplastic. A metal wire, usually stainless steel or nickel-titanium, runs along the inside of the Hawley retainer to keep your teeth in place.
This retainer is also made with a plastic base that attaches to the wire and covers your upper arch. This part of the retainer contains grooves for your front teeth. It reduces the chances of food getting stuck between your teeth, making it easier to maintain than a permanent retainer.

How to clean your fixed retainer?

Ideally, you would clean permanent retainers after every meal. Be sure to brush your teeth and use floss to clean out the crevices on your device.
Do not miss the regular check-ups with your orthodontist. It helps to keep your permanent retainer bacteria and plaque-free. Keep your smile looking great and healthy with your retainer on.

How long do you have to wear fixed retainers?

After any orthodontic treatment, you have to use retainers. Fixed retainers will be most effective to prevent teeth from shifting to their original position. You should usually wear them for about 2 to 3 years. Check out this guide – Dentist’s advice for how long to wear retainers, for full insight.

Final thoughts

We have covered everything you need to know about a permanent retainer. Now you know how much does permanent retainer costs. Additionally, you know what are the benefits of using them instead of removable ones. If you are not sure whether a retainer is suitable for you, be sure to check out our section on pros and cons once again!

Permanent retainers are more expensive upfront than removable ones. They last longer, which means less money spent overtime on replacements! Do not forget about all the benefits of having a retainer and the potential lack of oral health issues you could suffer from by not having one.

We hope that the information we have provided here has helped explore different aspects of retainers. Please share this information with others who might be interested in reading it!

About the author

RN Lisa Green
RN Lisa Green
Registered Nurse | + posts

As a Registered Nurse, Lisa Green has worked in hospitals, nursing homes, and community health centers across New York. With extensive experience in patient education on various medical topics, she is also passionate about helping people understand their rights and responsibilities when it comes to healthcare. At DbdPost, Lisa covers medical news stories while providing advice about different health topics.

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