Although there are newer options available, Hawley retainers have been used to maintain the results of orthodontic treatment for decades. Made with a plastic or acrylic base which holds a metal wire that fits flush against your teeth, Hawley retainers are affordable and effective. The wire sits against your front teeth and it can even be adjusted to refine the alignment of your teeth if needed.
Depending on your unique needs, we may recommend a Hawley retainer for both the upper and lower arches, or use a combination of a Hawley retainer and a permanent wire affixed to the backs of your teeth on one arch.
Getting a Hawley Retainer
Once your orthodontic treatment is complete, we will take impressions which allow us to fabricate a retainer that is custom-fit to your mouth. When your retainer is ready to pick up, we will provide you with a plastic case for safekeeping and detailed instructions for how to wear your Hawley retainer and how to care for it.
Most patients need to wear their retainers all day long in the initial weeks after their braces have been removed. Eventually, you’ll only need to wear your retainer at night. After a year, we may recommend transitioning to wearing your retainer a few times a week to maintain your results.
Because Hawley retainers are made with plastic and wire, they can warp from rough treatment, exposure to heat, or being dropped. If you suspect that this has happened, contact our office; a warped retainer can cause teeth to shift in undesirable ways.
When you’re not wearing your retainer, store it in the carrying case provided. Do not eat with your retainer in place and rinse it well whenever you put it in or take it out of your mouth. When needed, use a retainer cleaner to remove plaque and odor. You may also brush your retainer, but avoid stiff-bristled brushes and toothpaste, as the abrasion may create small scratches in the surface of your appliance where bacteria can collect.