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A Hawley retainer is an oral appliance made of wire and hard plastic or acrylic. The wire extends across the teeth to keep them aligned after braces are removed. The acrylic rests on the roof of the mouth.
Hawley retainers are removable. They’re often an affordable option if you don’t lose them or need replacements often.
While everyone is different, you’ll likely need to wear your Hawley retainer for 22+ hours a day for 3 to 6 months. When your orthodontist is confident that your teeth are stable, you can wear the retainer just while you sleep.
If you’re unsure about how often you should wear your retainer, ask your orthodontist. For example, if your retainer feels tight, you’ll need to wear it more often.
Retainers need to be worn indefinitely to prevent tooth movement. They should also be replaced every 5 to 8 years.
Hawley retainers usually cost between $150 and $300. This makes them an affordable option.
The total cost also depends on how well you take care of your Hawley retainers. If you lose or break them, it may be more cost-effective to have a permanent retainer fixed to the back of your teeth instead.
There are various pros and cons of Hawley retainers:
There are two basic types of retainers: permanent and removable. Hawley retainers are removable.
Your orthodontist will help you select the best type of retainer based on your needs and any conditions you may have.
You may receive just one type of retainer. Or, you may be given a removable retainer for your top teeth and a permanent one for your bottom.
Other types of retainers include:
Clear plastic retainers are also removable. They’re molded to fit the new position of your teeth.
These retainers are also called:
To make clear plastic retainers, your orthodontist will create a mold of your teeth. Then, thin plastic or polyurethane heats and sucks down around the mold.
The average price varies from $100 to $285 for one tray, upper or lower.
Permanent retainers have a solid or braided wire curved to fit the shape of your new, straightened smile. The wire bonds to the inside of your front teeth to prevent them from moving.
These types of retainers are most often used on lower teeth. They can only be removed by your orthodontist or dentist.
Permanent retainers are also called:
Orthodontists often recommend permanent retainers if they think the teeth are likely to relapse. They might also recommend a permanent retainer to someone, like a child, who won’t follow the instructions for using a removable retainer properly.
Permanent retainers can be removed if necessary. This is usually due to a buildup of excess plaque and tartar or gum irritation. However, most are left in place indefinitely.
Permanent retainers should be cleaned daily. A threader can help dental floss reach under the wire to remove food, plaque, and tartar.
The average cost of permanent retainers varies from $225 to $550.
Hawley retainers aren’t designed to straighten teeth. This is true unless you need a slight shift after you complete braces treatment.
Their primary purpose is to keep teeth in the correct position.
Hawley retainers require daily cleaning to avoid gum disease, bad breath, and trapped food debris.
Oral hygiene is always essential, but even more so when you’re wearing retainers. If you don’t clean your retainer, it can lead to a buildup of plaque on the acrylic piece. This can impact the health of your teeth.
You should rinse the retainer whenever you remove it, and before placing it back in. Also, brush it once a day with a soft-bristle toothbrush. Use mild dish soap for a more thorough clean.
You can also soak your retainer weekly in a retainer cleaner.
Some retainers require replacement every few months or years.
Hawley retainers can last longer than clear plastic retainers, at around 5 to 8 years.3
Whether you choose a Hawley or fixed retainer depends on your needs and any conditions you have. For example, if you have trouble following the rules for placing and removing it, a permanent retainer may be more suitable.
Essix retainers are less expensive and less durable than other retainers, like Hawleys.
A Hawley retainer is a better choice for people who grind their teeth, play contact sports, or are more careless with their routines.
The cost of your Hawley retainer may be included in the price of your orthodontic care.
People whose insurance covers their braces treatment may have the retainer covered, too. Always check your policy.
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