A Hawley retainer is designed to surround the six front teeth to hold them in place. A metal wire surrounds the teeth, with two loops for adjustment, and then anchored to the roof of the mouth with its design. This creates minor movement of the front teeth to bring them into alignment as needed.
There are three design options available for Hawley retainers as of today. One model offers C clasps, another offers a flat wire with Adams clasps, while the final utilizes ball clasps. They can be used for the upper or the lower teeth, depending upon the needs of the patient.
Some patients with very minor alignment needs may be given a retainer without clasps. Some lower appliances are suitable without occlusal rests.
If your dentist is recommending a Hawley retainer for yourself, your child, or someone you know, then here are the pros and cons to consider.
List of the Pros of a Hawley Retainer
1. These retainers are very easy to personalize.
If you prefer to have a specific design or color for your retainer, then you have the option to choose one that meets your current needs. It can be fun to decide if you want something specific, like sparkles, or if you prefer something that is traditional. Although it does require some lifestyle changes once it is in, because you can personalize it, the transition is often smoother.
2. They are quick and easy to make.
A Hawley retainer is quickly made within a lab setting. If your local orthodontist’s office has access to an on-site lab, it’s possible that your retainer could be ready by the time your appointment is concluded. They’re made from wire and acrylic, customized based on the exact measurements that are in your mouth. Then, as the acrylic hardens inside a pressure cooker, it can be trimmed to the necessary size.
3. You can replace them quickly.
Hawley retainers do tend to get lost. You must take them out at specific times to maintain the integrity of the unit. Even though a storage container is provided for the retainer, it can be misplaced or forgotten at school, at home, or anywhere else that is part of the usual routine. Getting one replaced is simple and quick, though you’ll need to pay the same price for a replacement as you would a new unit.
4. It is a dental apparatus that is easy to maintain.
Hawley retainers are helpful because you can pop them in or out of place in just a couple of seconds. That means you can take them out to clean them whenever it is necessary. With proper care, a single retainer could be used for several years to encourage the teeth to align properly.
5. You can have the retainer adjusted as needed.
When your teeth do begin to align, your dentist may take another measurement of your mouth. This process allows the Hawley retainer to be aligned better to your current situation. In most circumstances, the wire placements can be changed without the need for a new retainer to be created. That gives you an option which is cheaper than braces to gain the alignment needed for a happy and healthy mouth.
6. Hawley retainers are strong enough to secure your teeth.
As your teeth begin to shift under the pressure of the retainer, the bone which is around the teeth will begin to grow. It will fill in around the teeth as they move, which may create loose teeth for some individuals during periods of rapid movement. With the design of this appliance, the teeth will be held in place, which gives the bone the time which is required to secure each tooth in its new location.
7. It can be used to correct crossbite issues.
When the top teeth are further back in the gum line, with the bottom teeth crossing in front of them, it is a condition which is called anterior crossbite. The Hawley retainer can work to correct this issue without the need for costly orthodontic procedures. It may require more time in the retainer than others to correct, but it will provide effective results. Because of that advantage, more people are able to have their alignment and bite issues corrected since it is an affordable option even outside of insurance.
8. These retainers are very durable.
You won’t need to worry about a Hawley retainer breaking during normal use. Even if damage occurs to it, a repair is available instead of a complete replacement. Most other retainer types cannot be fixed in such a way, which means most families will find the Hawley to be the most cost-effective way to obtain a desired alignment.
9. It is comfortable to wear and use.
Hawley retainers do not affect how you bite. You continue to eat or drink beverages like always. Every part of the retainer works in its own way to ensure that it stays in place during use, which is why it is more comfortable to wear than similar appliances. You don’t need to worry about it slipping out while you’re talking. Some people are even encouraged to eat while their retainers are in place.
List of the Cons of a Hawley Retainer
1. They can be expensive.
The cost of a Hawley retainer is equal to what parents might pay for glasses when their child requires a correction to their vision. Pricing is also based on your geographic location. In the United States, the product is priced anywhere between $100 to $1,000, even if they are used alone. Dental insurance may cover a portion of this cost for some families. The replacement cost for a lost retainer is equal to the initial cost.
The average cost of a Hawley retainer is about $300, so to fix both sets of teeth, families can expect to pay around $600.
2. These retainers can interfere with your normal speech patterns.
When you are wearing the retainer, it can cause interference with some of the words that you speak. Until you get used to wearing the appliance, it is not unusual for a minor lisp to develop with certain phonics. Most people are able to adjust their speech patterns to account for the retainer placement, which makes the lisp go away within a couple of months. Some people, however, never do get beyond the lisp issue, which can be embarrassing.
3. No matter what someone may say, it is noticeable.
You are going to notice when the retainer is in place. It adds a bit of weight and pressure to the teeth that can feel uncomfortable when it is first worn. Although the metal components are minimal, there will still be the wires placed along the front which will be noticed when you talk or smile. If you are self-conscious about how you look, then the retainer is going to be something that will require an ongoing coping skill to manage.
4. Hawley retainers can be easy to lose.
Unlike other retainers, the Hawley retainer comes out rather easily. Although this can be advantageous in some ways, it also creates a distinctive disadvantage. There is always a chance that the retainer could be lost or misplaced over the regular course of the day. Try to get into the habit of only taking the retainer out in the bathroom when you need to clean it to prevent this issue. If you’re asked to remove it for athletics, then store your container with your athletic gear to prevent it from wandering off.
5. Success with a Hawley retainer is dependent upon the patient.
You must have the dedication required to keep the retainer in place according to the recommendation of your orthodontist. If you take it out and only use it infrequently, then the alignment results you want will take longer to appear – assuming that it happens in the first place. Do your best to wear it as instructed to receive the best potential benefit from this investment.
6. Your mouth may produce extra saliva.
When items are placed in your mouth, the natural response of the body is to produce extra saliva. Until you get used to wearing the retainer, this issue is going to think that it is time to eat something. Most people see their saliva levels return to normal in about 3 to 4 weeks. Although this issue can be unsettling at first, it isn’t bothersome for most people. You’re not going to go around drooling on everything as you proceed through your day.
These Hawley retainer pros and cons take a generalized look at what may happen when wearing this appliance. If you’re uncomfortable with the current alignment of your teeth, then talk to your doctor about these advantages and disadvantages. Although cost and comfort are issues to consider, the benefits for many will outweigh the temporary discomfort a Hawley retainer might provide.