A Hawley Retainer is made from wire and acrylic (or plastic). It consists of a metal wire that surrounds the six anterior teeth and keeps them in place. Unlike an Essix Retainer, a Hawley Retainer’s wires can be adjusted to finish treatment or cause minor tooth movement. It can also accommodate prosthetic teeth if necessary.
While a Hawley Retainer offers excellent tooth and bite retention, it can be cumbersome to wear until you get used to it. It might cause speech problems, and the wire is clearly visible across your teeth. Like Essix Retainers, it is necessary to wear a Hawley Retainer 24 hours a day for the first few months after your braces come off, and then only at night.
You need to properly clean your retainer every day, or it will begin to smell and look dirty. To clean Hawley Retainers, it is important not to use a toothbrush or toothpaste, because they can put microscopic scratches into the plastic, making it easier for bacteria to attach to it. You also should not use denture cleaner, because over time, it could give your Retainer a yellow cast. Instead, you should use a retainer-cleaning product which was specifically developed for this purpose. Some examples of the proper products are: RetainerBrite, Dentibrite, SonicBrite, Steraligner, Cleanse Freshen Go Wipes, and OAP Foaming Cleaner. You can find these products at DentaKit.com.
Some Hawley Retainers are made with extra soldered pieces attached. If your Hawley Retainer contains metal solder, do not soak it to clean it. Soaking will eventually cause the solder to disintegrate, turn black, and crumble off.
With proper care and storage, your Hawley Retainer should last 5 to 7 years or longer.