A Hawley retainer is a clear plastic removable device that fits over the entire arch of teeth, similar to a mouthguard. The plastic is molded to fit around your teeth and gum line snugly so that it holds the teeth in place and prevents them from shifting forward or backward after braces are removed.
These devices are made with acrylic or medical-grade plastic and are custom-made for each patient. Hawley retainers are comparable to Invisalign aligners in that they are both designed for teeth alignment purposes.
What are Hawley Retainers used for?
These retainers are also sometimes referred to as fixed space maintainers because they help to maintain the position of the gap that was created between teeth when braces were removed. Hawley retainers are often worn at night to prevent irreversible tooth movement while sleeping.
Unlike clear aligner trays, they cannot be removed for eating or drinking. They are designed to be taken out before brushing and flossing in the morning and cleaned thoroughly before being put back in before bed. However, some orthodontists will instruct the patient to wear the retainer at all times for the first several weeks following the removal of braces so that their smile remains straight until they can get used to wearing the retainer without it. Hawley retainers are typically recommended to be worn for at least a few years once braces have been taken off, though this duration can vary depending on each patient’s individual case.
Where and when do I use a Hawley retainer?
A Hawley retainer is often used as a long-term retainer, typically after orthodontic treatment is complete. However, in some cases, your orthodontist may fit you with a Hawley during the treatment as well.
Your dentist may recommend a Hawley during orthodontic treatment if you have one of the following conditions:
- Underbite that needs to be prevented from worsening
- Crossbite that’s being corrected
- Crowded teeth that need to be removed or shifted
Since a Hawley effectively stabilizes the teeth, it can be a great option for patients who need to focus on alignment before finishing their orthodontic treatment with a permanent retainer or alternative solution.
How do I care for my Hawley retainer?
Your new appliance should be cleaned once a day with a denture cleaner. This will keep plaque from building up on the plastic and make it easier to clean off any food particles. For the best results, soak your appliance before brushing it with a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste. Avoid using a whitening paste on your appliances because it can cause the plastic material to erode.
To find out more about the dental services offered at our dental practice, call (801)- 269-0303 or schedule an online consultation. You can also visit us at 155 E 13800 S Ste F4, Draper, UT, Draper 84020.