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Difference between Invisible Retainers and Hawley Retainers

Retainers, as the name implies, is used to keep the teeth in their places after the braces have been removed.

It could take up to 12 months for the teeth to settle in their places after orthodontic treatment as the bone around the roots takes as long to solidify completely. Orthodontic relapse is common among patients who skip this step so if you do not want to waste all the money and trouble of undergoing orthodontic treatment, you must religiously wear dental retainers.

Now, to select the kind of retains you want, first understand the difference between invisible retainers and Hawley retainers.

Hawley Retainers

Also known as wire retainers these are made of a pink plastic type material (called acrylic) and a wire that forms the bow.  This wire is bendable and it runs tightly across the front teeth, thus helping prevent their movement.

The acrylic plate sits on the top palate just behind the teeth.

Hawley Retainers

Advantages of Hawley Retainers:

  • They are durable and quite long lasting. If you keep them with proper care as advised by the doctor, these retainers can easily last you for the entire duration of their recommended use.
  • They are quite easy to clean.
  • They allow for natural chewing abilities because they do not interfere with your dental occlusion. Your upper and lower teeth will continue to touch in natural manner even when you are wearing the retainers.
  • They are quite inexpensive as compared to other options and you can now order Hawley Retainers online.
  • The same retainer can be easily adjusted depending upon the requirement.


  • Hawley retainer sits on the roof of the mouth so it can cause minor speech problems until the patient gets used to it.
  • If you are overly concerned about aesthetics you might not like the steel wire running across your teeth. But you must know this wire is a trifle in comparison with the bulky braces.

Invisible Retainers

Clear plastic retainers are similar to Invisalign aligners. These cover your teeth completely but your gums and palate remain free.

Invisible Retainers

Advantages of Invisible Retainers:

  • Clearly, the top benefit of invisible retainers is aesthetics. A transparent plastic covering your teeth will go unnoticed many times.
  • They palate is not covered so you won’t have any difficulties speaking.


  • They may stain over time
  • They do not allow for the teeth to touch each other
  • More expensive as compared to Hawley retainers
Custom formed for your teeth and any slight bend or breakage will require refabricating the entire device.


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