Hawley Retainer | Costs & Care (2022 Update)

Hawley Retainer, also named a metal retainer by some is used when an orthodontic treatment has been completed, it is common for a Hawley retainer to be fitted and used. If you are unfamiliar or new to orthodontic work, then you may be wondering what is Hawley retainer? The cost, colors and care. Knowing more about this retainer along with listening to your orthodontist will help you in deciding if this is the right retainer for you or your family. 

What is a Hawley Retainer?

  • A Hawley retainer is a piece that is placed inside your mouth after orthodontic treatment has been completed. The retainer will help to keep your teeth in place in order to keep the high quality work that has been done. It can also help in completing any minor movements that may need to be done.
  • Can a Hawley retainer straighten teeth? – Are Hawley retainers effective? The Hawley retainer is typically made up of three parts that flow together to make one piece. In some Hawley retainers, a fourth part is also included.

What Makes up a Hawley Retainer?

Acrylic Base

  • The base of the retainer is an acrylic piece that fits into the roof of your mouth or along the bottom gum line below your tongue. The base gives the other parts of the retainer the support they need. They come in a design that is clear or can be a variety of different colors and designs as well.

Adam Clasp

  • The Adam clasp is a wire that is attached to the acrylic base of the retainer. It is designed to fit onto the tooth in order to hold the retainer in the appropriate place. The clasp is typically fitted onto the first molar.

Labial Bow

  • The labial bow is a metal wire that runs along the front teeth at about the middle of the teeth. It is attached to the acrylic base of the retainer and helps to stabilize the retainer and assist in minor movements of the teeth.

Finger Spring

  • This is a small metal piece that looks slightly like a spring. It is not included in all retainers but is used in retainers where any teeth need to be tipped. This will help to tip the teeth while the root of the tooth remains in place.

Soldered “C” Clasps

  • This is a Cuspid to Cuspid Hawley labial bow with adjustment loops. Circumferential clasps soldered to the labial bow extended around the 1st bicuspids.

Upper or Lower Ball Clasps

  • Cuspid to Cuspid Hawley labial bow with adjustment loops. Ball clasps between 2nd bicuspids and 1st molars.


Hawley Retainer Costs?

The cost of this device can range between $150 and $340. This depends on many different factors:

  • Orthodontist
  • Where you live
  • The seriousness of your case.

That’s relatively low compared to other types of retainer, like an aligner one for example. Hawley retainers can also be fixed rather than replaced, this saves even more.

What Color is a Hawley Retainer?

A wide variety of colors and patterns are available on Hawley retainers, including watermelon, tie-dye, and stars-and-stripes. This retainer is colorful because of the hard plastic or acrylic plate that sits on top of the mouth, connected to metal wires that keep it securely in place. You can customize your retainer by choosing from nearly any color acrylic or plastic material.

You can choose bright and fun colors for your retainer since it sits high on the roof of the mouth, hidden completely behind the teeth.

What Are the Advantages of a Hawley Retainer?

  • They can easily be personalized. If you would like to have a particular color or even design, you can choose one that works for you. You can have a little fun deciding whether or you would add sparkles or some other design.
  • Retainers are quickly and easily made within a lab, so your orthodontist can have the retainer you need as soon as your dental work has been completed.
  • With how quickly this retainer can be made, if it is accidentally lost, you will not be without a retainer for too long.
  • When you brush and floss your teeth or have a special occasion where you do not want to wear the retainer, it can easily be removed making it easier to thoroughly brush and floss.
  • Being able to remove the retainer also gives you the ability to clean it and maintain it as necessary.

There’s More…


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  • This type of retainer is extremely versatile and can be modified and adjusted as necessary.
  • Because of the way the retainer is made, it can be used for many years.
  • After dental treatment, the bone around the teeth will grow and begin to fill in around the teeth that have been moved. While this is happening, the retainer will hold the teeth in place and give the bone the time it needs to secure the teeth in the new place.
  • The retainer can also help to correct an anterior crossbite. This is when the top teeth are further back in the gum line and the bottom teeth cross in front of them.
  • This is the most durable type of retainer that is made. It can give you the confidence that it will not easily break and need to be replaced.
  • If any damage occurs to the retainer, it can be repaired rather than needing to be replaced. Other types of retainers cannot be repaired and would need to be replaced any time they are damaged.
  • All of the parts of the retainer work well together to keep it in place. This makes the retainer more comfortable to wear and can make you more comfortable wearing it knowing that it will not slip out while talking or eating.
  • This type of retainer does not affect the bite. This allows you to continue to eat as you always have without any issues or discomfort.

What Are the Disadvantages of a Hawley Retainer?

  • There can be some interference with your normal speech. Included in this is the potential for a minor lisp for a few months. This is typically temporary and as you adjust to the retainer the lisp will go away.
  • The retainer is quite noticeable. Because of the placement along the front of your teeth, it is something that will be noticed when you smile and even while you talk.
  • Because it can be removed, there is a chance that the retainer may be misplaced or lost when it is taken out.
  • How successful this retainer depends on the patient. If you wear the retainer as your orthodontist recommends, then it will be successful. But if you take it out and do not wear it as your orthodontist instructs, then it may not be successful.
  • For a period of time, your mouth may produce extra saliva. When something is put into your mouth, your mouth thinks it is time to eat, so it begins to produce saliva to help break down the food. Over time, your body will begin to realize that it does not need the extra saliva and it will return to normal.

Hawley Retainer Care

Proper care is important to maintain the device. You should make sure to store it properly too. Storage should include:

  • Cleaning daily to remove bacteria and food debris.
  • Keep away from heat or hot water.
  • Storing in its case when not in the use.

Cleaning Regime

Cleaning your retainer is important. Follow these tips to ensure a fresh device at all times. As always, it is best to follow your orthodontist’s recommendation for how to clean your type of retainer.

  • Brush it gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Soak it in a cleaning agent similar to a denture cleaner a few times per week. This kills germs that sit in the crevices.


Now that you know what Hawley retainers are, what their advantages and disadvantages are, and how much they cost, you are prepared to make a decision.

Now is the time to contact us for all of your retainer and all orthodontic needs. Contact Dr. McDermott and his team today.


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McDermott Orthodontist
708 Elm Ave. E.
MN 5328
TEL: 763-972-4444


Hawley Retainer | All You Need to Know in 2022