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What You Need To Know About Hawley Retainers

Hawley Retainers tend to be one of the most popular retainer forms that patients use throughout the United States. Since they are widely used, they are based on the Hawley Retainer being adjustable enough for the patient to still apply the correct oral hygiene.

What Is a Hawley Retainer?

Usually consisting of an acrylic plate with wires and clasps embedded in it, a Hawley retainer is the most versatile and commonly prescribed retainer in the orthodontic industry. Hawley retainers come in a variety of design options, and may be used to hold teeth securely in place after braces, or they may be adjusted to guide teeth back into position if they’ve shifted.

What You Need To Know About Hawley Retainers

How Does a Hawley Retainer Work?

Hawley retainers are designed to “retain” or hold teeth in position via the use of gentle force and pressure on the teeth. The retainer consists of acrylic  body that typically covers a portion of the roof of the mouth or sits behind the lower teeth. Metal wires and clasps attached to the acrylic body allow the retainer to be anchored to specific teeth. By holding teeth securely in place, Hawley retainers protect the results of your braces or other orthodontic treatment.

Let’s jump into figuring out how to clean Hawley Retainers below:

Water for cleaning on the go

Water will not clean a retainer on its own, but drinking plenty of water during the day can prevent bacteria overgrowth. Keeping a retainer moist will help prevent damage. Water also combats a dry mouth, which is linked to tooth decay.

If a retainer feels dirty, a person can try swishing some water in their mouth a few times.

Soda and other sugary drinks can affect a retainer, just as they affect the teeth. People should take their retainers out before enjoying a sugary drink and before eating anything.

Retainers that dry out are more prone to damage. As a result, people should not allow this to happen, especially overnight. Instead, soak a retainer in distilled water, any time it is removed.

If there is nothing available to store the retainer in, or if the retainer is dirty and cannot be cleaned right away, a person can soak it in a damp paper towel, until they can clean it.


When brushing their teeth, people should brush their retainer as well. It is best to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-whitening toothpaste. Afterward, remove the retainer and rinse it thoroughly.

People should brush teeth again after removing the retainer, to clean any areas covered by it.

Denture cleaners

It is safe to clean a retainer with denture cleaner, from time to time, particularly if no other option is available. Over time, however, denture cleaners can turn a retainer yellow.

To clean with denture cleaner, people should rinse the retainer and then allow it to soak in the denture cleaner for about 20 minutes. After taking it out, they should then gently scrub it with a soft toothbrush.

If the retainer tastes like denture cleaner afterward, rinsing should continue until it no longer does.

Hawley Retainers

Baking soda

Baking soda is a safe, all-purpose disinfectant. It may also help whiten retainers that have yellowed. Baking soda controls bacteria without harsh chemicals and can prevent a retainer from developing pH imbalances that harm the mouth.

To use baking soda, people should create a paste that is half water and half baking soda. The mixture should be thick enough to stick to the retainer.

They can then scrub the retainer gently with the mixture and a soft toothbrush, just as they would with toothpaste. Residue should be removed by rinsing the retainer, thoroughly.

How to Know If You Need A Hawley Retainer

Patients will not know if a  Hawley Retainer is the best fit for them until they have an appointment with their orthodontist. This way, anyone will be on the right track toward the best route for a clean and healthy smile.  No one should be self-diagnosed as this can lead to the wrong diagnosis.

Understanding Life With A Retainer

We have a curated article that details what life is like when it comes to wearing a retainer. Essentially, everyone should talk to their orthodontist about how their life will need adjustment once they acquire a retainer. This guide will be useful when a patient needs to have a retainer.

Orthodontic Care Is Available In These Locations

If anyone is needing to visit our orthodontic care center, visit Amazing Smiles Orthodontist with convenient locations in Long Island Brooklyn, and Queens, NY  along with sublocations Hewlett and Lawrence. Amazing Smiles honors payment plans such as payment installments, insurance, flexible spending programs, and third-party financing.

Make An Orthodontist Appointment Today

Anyone can reach out and schedule a free consultation by contacting the phone numbers below:

Forest Hills
Ph: 718-275-3200
100-25 Queens Blvd.
Forest Hills, NY, 11375

Phone: 516-295-2006
545 Central Avenue
Cedarhurst, NY, 11516

Phone: 718-763-2080
2078 East 65th Street
Brooklyn, NY, 11234

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