What are the pros and cons of Hawley retainers?

Everyone desires a beautiful smile, but achieving one may necessitate wearing braces for two or more years under the supervision of your orthodontist. The Hawley Retainer is a prevalent type of retainer. The Hawley Retainer essentially "retains" the position of your teeth by supporting them while the bone forms around them. Patience during this stage of treatment is essential for maintaining your lovely new smile. Therefore, if you are considering this type of retainer, it is necessary to know the pros and cons of Hawley retainers, their cost, and how to clean them.


Why is it important to wear a retainer after braces?


A retainer helps keep your teeth in their new place after removing your braces. Because it takes about a year for your periodontal ligaments to adjust properly to their recent locations, you must follow your orthodontist's retainer usage recommendations. Avoiding your orthodontist's instructions may result in the gaps reopening or your teeth shifting and becoming crooked.


Your orthodontist may recommend that you do not remove your retainer at all for several months before allowing you to wear it only at night. After a few years, you will only wear the retainer a few weekly nights. However, please do not leave the retainer on the shelf for too long since it may fail to fit when you try to replace it.


When most people think of retainers, they believe in Hawley retainers. Furthermore, retainers are initially uncomfortably tight. However, if the retainer is too irritating, let your orthodontist know so that they can make some adjustments to make it more comfortable. You may also develop a lisp when first wearing the retainer. Nonetheless, you will grow accustomed to it, and your speech will improve over time.


What is a Hawley retainer?


A Hawley retainer is an orthodontic retainer that consists of a hard plastic or acrylic plate joined by a thin metal wire. The retainer is custom-molded to sit comfortably on the roof of your mouth, with the wire resting against the front of your top teeth.


Furthermore, the retainer safeguards the effects of your orthodontic treatment and keeps your teeth from shifting back into their original locations. It can be used after braces or transparent aligners such as Invisalign therapy.


Hawley retainers are the original retention device, although other designs, such as removable clear plastic retainers such as Essix and Vivera retainers, have evolved in recent decades. Furthermore, clear retainers are becoming more popular, but the Hawley retainer remains one of the most often used and effective retention devices among orthodontists and patients.

 What are the pros and cons of Hawley retainers? 

According to a recent National Institute of Health Research, 90% of orthodontists choose Hawley retainers for usage with a maxillary dental arch.


As long as you use it according to your orthodontist's advice, a Hawley retainer is simple to use, comfortable to wear, and incredibly successful at protecting the results of your smile.


Pros and cons of Hawley Retainer


A Hawley retainer has various advantages:


  • Moldable to the patient's mouth
  • If necessary, adjustable over time
  • The color of the plate is customizable for a unique appearance
  • It consists of solid materials that are long-lasting and difficult to damage
  • Simple to clean
  • Removable for easy cleaning and maintenance
  • There are no food restrictions: remove the retainer for all meals and beverages
  • It is repairable if broken


Some disadvantages of Hawley retainers to consider:


  • More visibility than other retainers
  • Plastic plates can be irritating
  • Speaking difficulties may occur
  • It can irritate the lips, gums, or tongue
  • Bacteria might grow if not adequately cleansed
  • Teeth may shift if not appropriately worn and frequently


How much does a Hawley retainer cost?


A Hawley retainer typically ranges from $350 to $600. The fee includes the expense of sending the mold to a manufacturing facility and having the retainer customized for your mouth and returned to the office. The cost varies depending on your orthodontist's services and the specifics of your case. Hawley retainers are generally more expensive than transparent plastic Essix retainers, but a single Hawley retainer is designed to last several years, far longer than plastic Essix retainers.


Your Hawley retainer may be included in the overall cost of your orthodontic treatment. Furthermore, the retainer may also cover patients whose insurance covers their braces treatment.


How to care for your retainer?


The Hawley retainer is a removable orthodontic appliance, and caring for it is critical to preserve your dream smile effectively. Not only is the Hawley retainer fragile, but it is also costly to replace - so keep it safe and make sure you don't lose it. Keeping the retainer secure and clean will only hasten to achieve a stable smile. Remaking a new retainer can take a week or more. Proper Hawley retainer care and storage should involve the following:


  1. Cleaning should be done daily to eradicate bacteria and food debris.
  2. Keeping it away from hot water or heat.
  3. When not in use, keep it in its case.


How do I clean my Hawley Retainer?


Wear your Hawley retainer every night and properly clean it before keeping it in its case during the day. To clean, remove it from your mouth and carefully brush the entire surface with a toothbrush and warm water. However, it is essential to avoid using toothpaste since it can damage the plastic in the retainer.


To thoroughly clean the appliance, you can soak the retainer overnight once or twice a month. Moreover, you can also soak the retainer in baking soda and water for several hours for deeper cleaning. However, please do not do it every night because it will corrode the metal wire. To avoid bacterial growth, wet the storage case. Rinse your retainer with water before replacing it in your mouth or the storage case; do the same with the storage case.




Wearing your retainer will ensure that all your hard work to obtain the perfect smile is not in vain. The Hawley retainer is quite common among people of all ages. Most people, including children and adults, must wear them after their braces. Whether you choose a Hawley retainer or another form of retainer, make sure you wear them exactly as prescribed by your orthodontist. Your teeth will stay in place for the rest of your life, giving you that perfect smile.


Contact your Danville Orthodontics, Dr. Hoss Abar, DDS, MSD, at Danville Orthodontics to learn more about Hawley Retainers.






This media/content or any other on this website does not prescribe, recommend, or prevent any treatment or procedure. Therefore, we highly recommend that you get the advice of a qualified dentist or other medical practitioners regarding your specific dental condition.

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