Picture a retainer, just the first image that comes to your mind.
I’m betting you thought of a Hawley retainer and didn’t even realize it. Read on to find out…Creative Commons
What Is a Hawley Retainer?
Hawley retainers are probably what you think of when you think “retainer.” If you need a retainer after braces, Hawley is likely the one you’ll get. They’ve been around the longest — since the 1920s — and they don’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon.
Hawley retainers have a plastic plate that curves to the roof of the mouth that is not visible from the front. The edges of the device snap over the teeth and a wire runs across the front of the teeth and helps keep the teeth aligned as is.
Pros & Cons Of Hawley Retainers
Even though it’s been around the longest, that doesn’t mean it’s the best (or the worst). Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of a Hawley retainer.
- Hawley retainers are adjustable, making them much easier to customize to the patient. Or, if the patient hasn’t done a great job of wearing the retainer regularly after getting braces off, the orthodontist can easily adjust it.
- These retainers are also much more durable than others. Plus, if it does break, it can be repaired, unlike other retainers which need to be replaced.
- In the same way that you can choose different color braces, you can choose whatever color Hawley retainer you like.
- The design of Hawley retainers is obvious. The wire running across the teeth is clearly visible.
- The plastic part that sits on the roof of the mouth can be uncomfortable and make it difficult to speak.
- If you don’t clean the retainer well, it can start to grow bacteria and eventually become unusable.
Hawley Retainer Cost
The cost of a Hawley retainer can range between $150 and $340, depending on many factors, like the orthodontist, where you live, and the seriousness of your case.
That’s relatively low compared to other retailers, which can cost several hundred dollars or even thousands. Fortunately, because you can get your Hawley retainer fixed rather than replaced, its overall cost is very low.
How To Clean Hawley Retainers?
Cleaning and caring for your Hawley retainer is super important. First, you don’t want to pay a couple hundred bucks to replace it if it’s broken or lost. So keep it safe.
Second, you’ll need to clean it every day — no exceptions. You can brush it gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush and water. You can also let it soak in a cleaning solution a couple times per week. However, don’t soak it in mouthwash as that can wear away the joints that hold the retainer together.
Hawley Retainer vs. Essix
So how do Hawley retainers match up against Essix retainers? Essix retainers are the clear plastic devices that snap over the teeth. They can be worn after braces or as an alternative to braces.
According to a study by Hichens (2007) using 330 patients, people who wore Essix retainers were slightly more likely to wear them as instructed. Is this because of comfort? We can’t say for sure. Both groups — those who wore a Hawley retainer and those who wore an Essix retainer — had a similar number of reportings of discomfort.
But more patients who wore a Hawley retainer were more embarrassed to wear them. The main reason was because of how they look (the wire that runs across the front of the teeth) and because it made it more difficult to speak.
However, there wasn’t really a difference in the compliance with wearing the retainers out of the house or with lost retainers.
Overall, the Essix users reported that they were more pleased with the experience more than Hawley users. But each participant wore only one type of retainer, so they weren’t able to compare the two retainers directly.
Also, it’s like comparing apples to oranges, so it’s hard to make the case that one is better than the other.
- A Hawley retainer is the oldest type of retainer and consists of a plastic mold that sits on the roof of the mouth with a wire that goes across the front of the teeth.
- Hawley retainers are adjustable and more durable than other retainers. However, many people don’t like their aesthetic and find the device uncomfortable.
- The average cost of a Hawley retainer is between $150 and $340.
- It’s important to brush your retainer every day. Also, consider soaking it in a denture cleaner a couple times per week.
- It’s difficult to say which is better — Hawley or Essix. It comes down to your specific case and what your orthodontist thinks is best.