Wire Retainers

Traditional Wire or 'Hawley' Retainers

Finally! A Way You can Eliminate a trip to the Dentist and Save yourself Hundreds of Dollars by dealing Directly with the Dental Lab!

 Dental Lab Direct announces that Traditional or 'Hawley' Retainers are now available OVER THE INTERNET for $249 (Upper & Lower), for individuals with concern over their teeth crowding. 

We do this by providing you the dental impression putty to create your own teeth impressions, then you send them to our lab for manufacturing...IT'S EASY!  These "Hawley" retainers are made of a very durable plastic with a stainless steel wire that snaps into place over the teeth and prevents teeth rotation & migration.  Considerable time and financial investment are at risk if you don't have a retainer AND wear it as your dental professinal suggests.

When using this dental retainer, a metal wire shows, unlike the “Essix” retainer (which is clear or 'Invisible').  When one smiles others are able to see the dental retainer wire; retainers with the wire across the front teeth are used mostly to keep teeth from shifting, but can also be used to close a gap between teeth; That type is called a 'Hawley with Finger Springs'. Finger Springs are small clasps that add pressure to one side of the tooth, "moving" it along the retaining wire.



WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE CLEAR RETAINERS AND THE WIRE RETAINERS? NOTHING, they both achieve the same purpose: Retain tooth position. The metal wire Retainer / Hawley Retainer may get more miles; the Essix or clear type, you may sacrifice longevity, but with good care can last for years.  

Traditional Wire or Hawley Retainer (UPPER displayed)

Hawley Retainer

Today, with the advent of our Personal Impression Kit, it’s possible to take your own teeth impression usually taking less than ten minutes for both the upper and lower teeth. Just drop the kit along with your impressions in the mail to our lab…the same lab dentists & orthodontists use, yet costing 60-90% less by “skipping the trip”…eliminating the need for a D.D.S. to fit a nightguard, pair of Professional Customized Tooth Whitening Trays, Wire Retainers, Invisible Retainers, Snoring Appliance or even Invisible Braces! We ask for 10 business days to complete your order upon receiving your impressions. Remember, your mouthpiece is being custom made; and it takes a little longer than purchasing them from a store or worse, the dentist. All you have to provide us is your teeth impression...

 Our Wire retainers do not move teeth (unless it is a gap); they simply keep teeth in their current position & eliminate further crowding.  By wearing these for just 30 minutes per day, it will prevent teeth from rotation or migration.  These retainers are made of the same materials that dentists use and manufactured by the same lab as well.


Our At Home Impression Kit Allows You To “Easily” Take Your Own Teeth Impressions to make Custom Fitted Dental Appliances EXACTLY like the ones found at your Dentist's for a FRACTION of the Price...and all without a trip to his Dental Office!

Teeth Impression Kit


Here's how it works:


Mix the two pieces of putty together for 45-65 seconds just to get one solid BLUE color (warmer areas may set faster)


When your putty is one solid color, roll it & shape it like a finger.  Pick up your tray.


Put the finger shaped putty into the tray, making sure to cover all parts of the tray.


Take the tray and place it over the center of your upper or lower teeth (REMEMBER: this putty will begin to harden in under TWO (2) minutes). Push the tray over your teeth. Hold for five minutes, then remove.


 Send your impressions back to our dental lab using the pre-paid envelope that came with your kit. We make your custom mouthpiece(s) & mail it back to you, EASY!

Wire or Hawley Retainer (LOWER displayed)

Hawley Lower

We can also provide just a single retainer $159:



How to Clean Wire Retainers-
One of the biggest challenges to wearing retainers (and even Invisalign-type aligner trays) is keeping the retainers and aligners clean. Bacteria build up on the retainers and aligners the same way that they build up on teeth. If you don't keep your aligners clean, very quickly you will notice that they smell bad and have an ugly layer of white gunky film. If you don't clean your retainers or aligners properly, the film will harden and become almost impossible to remove. This is true for all types of retainers (plastic and wire retainers or Hawley retainers, clear Essix retainers, aligner trays, snoring and bruxism devices, etc).

How can you keep your retainers clean and odor free? There are several ways.

Always rinse your retainers in warm water after taking them out of your mouth. Before putting your retainer into a retainer case, give it a quick rinse. This will wash away some of the surface bacteria. Do not use an anti-bacterial hand wipe on your Hawley retainer. The chemicals in antibacterial hand wipes may be toxic if they are put into your mouth!

The easiest method for cleaning retainers is the good old-fashioned toothbrush. If you have a plastic and wire retainer or Hawley retainer, you can brush it with toothpaste on a soft toothbrush. However, this method is not recommended for Invisalign-type clear aligner trays or clear Essix retainers (which look like aligner trays). The toothpaste can scratch the clear plastic and over time, your retainers will not be "invisible" anymore. Use listerine instead.

Some people recommend soaking Hawley retainers or wire retainers in a weak solution of hydrogen peroxide diluted with water, or even an alcohol-based mouthwash. This helps to kill germs, but doesn't address the white gunky build-up. In addition, these harsh chemicals can damage the surface of the plastic over time, turning it yellow.
Some people use denture cleaning tablets to clean their Hawley retainers or wire retainers or aligners. This will seem to work at first, but over time the harsh chemicals in the denture tablets will turn your retainer yellow. This is because the denture tablets are strongly formulated to clean false teeth, not clear retainers.

Keeping Your Wire Retainers Safe

"I lost my wire retainer!" These are dreadful words that you will hopefully never say. It can take 2 to 3 weeks to make a new Hawley retainer or wire retainer, and most orthodontists charge anywhere from $400 to $600 or more to make a new set of Hawley retainers or wire retainers. This is because most wire retainers are made by outside labs like ours, so the orthodontist must send the mold of your mouth to the lab to have a new set of custom wire retainers fabricated. Obviously you want to keep your Hawley retainers safe and accounted for at all times. The best way to do this is with a good Hawley retainer case.

The most common way that wire retainers are lost is by wrapping them in napkins. You can't see the retainer inside the napkin, you forget about it, and soon the napkin gets tossed in the garbage. Unless you want to spend hours digging through the trash, it's better to put your Hawley retainer into a proper case - never use a napkin.


Clear Retainers

When you've completed the moving part of your treatment, you're ready for the holding part! The next few months will be a critical part of your treatment! Your Clear OR Hawley Retainer is designed to hold your teeth in their corrected position until the bone surrounding the roots of the moved teeth "fill in" and make them "solid." If we do not retain (or hold) following orthodontic tooth movement, the teeth will move back to their old positions and all that time wearing braces would be wasted. 


If your Wire Retainer is going to do the job, here are things you must do: 

Wear your Hawley retainer as instructed! 

Lifetime: As an insurance policy it is recommended to wear your Wire retainer at night indefinitely (or more importantly as your doctor instructs). Simply use your Hawley retainer as a template and try it in. If it feels tight, wear it for the night. 

Remove your Wire Retainer from the back hook - not from the front. 

Take care of your Hawley retainers: Clean with soap, water and Q-Tips. Efferdent® works fine, too. Don't brush the appliance with toothpaste; it dulls the brilliance. Keep them away from pets - they love to chew on them. Don't use hot water or place near hot surfaces; this can distort the shape of your retainer. You may remove your retainer while swimming in a lake or ocean. 

No flipping: Avoid flipping the Wire retainer with your tongue or chewing on your retainer. This can cause damage to your teeth and retainer. 

NEVER wrap the Hawley Retainer or Wire retainer in a napkin or tissue, as they may be thrown away. Always store the retainer in its case (not your pocket). 

Speech: You may notice a difference in your speech at first. However, in 2 or 3 days, your speech will become normal. The plastic taste of the new appliance will soon disappear. 
Return to your family dentist for an examination and cleaning. Keep your appointments: You will have fewer office visits but checking your retainer is still very important. Always remember to bring your retainer to every appointment. 

If you lose or break a Wire Retainer, Hawley Retainer or Clear Retainer, please call us immediately. The teeth will move if the retainers are not worn as instructed. We will keep your models on file for some time.


Essix or Clear Retainer

Hawley Retainers After Braces

Purpose: The dental retainer is important to hold the teeth after braces are removed. New bone and supporting fibers of the teeth are being completed for the new tooth positions.

Time of Use: Mouth retainers are usually worn until eruption of the permanent teeth makes wearing a mouth retainer difficult. You will start with full time wear and phase slowly into night time wear as a dental night guard. Experiencing tightness when placing the retainers after leaving them out for a period of time is an indication of how often you need to wear the retainers.

Care: To keep your dental retainer fresh and clean, scrub them before putting them in their case. Use warm or cool water and soap. Hot water will warp the retainer. Limit the soaking time to 15 minutes if you choose to use Efferdent. We have found that over time Efferdent weakens the solder joints. Brushing with Listerine will decrease bacteria and give your retainer a fresh taste.

Adapting: Most people get used to a mouth retainer within a day or two. At first there may be a new plastic taste and you may have extra saliva in your mouth. Reading aloud the first day will help your speech adapt. The habit of flipping a dental retainer in and out with your tongue will loosen the dental retainer and may break the wires and/or plastic.

Visits: Upon completion of early phase orthodontic treatment, you will be checked periodically with visits to the dentist. Bring the dental retainer to your visits. If the dental retainer does not fit or if there is any tissue soreness, call us for an appointment as soon as possible.

Breakage/Loss: The common habit of flipping the retainers in and out with your tongue will make it become loose and can introduce stresses in the plastic or wires which will result in breakage. 

Relapse: Failure to use a dental retainer regularly may result in unfavorable tooth movement. If brought to your dentist's attention early it may be corrected with another retainer. If not caught early, retreatment with braces may be necessary.


Dental Braces Care Post-Treatment

After the braces have been removed, a Wire retainer is used to keep the teeth in their new position. Some patients may need orthodontic surgery, such as a fiberotomy, to prepare their teeth for retainer use. A fiberotomy is designed to remove the gingival fibers around a tooth. This procedure usually reduces the tendency for relapse of the tooth.

Wire Retainers are usually worn by patients once treatment with the braces is complete. Hawley Retainers maintain the teeth while the surrounding bone reforms around them. Wire Retainers are generally worn full-time for a short period, perhaps 6 months to a year, and then worn periodically, typically nightly during sleep, for as long as the orthodontist recommends. If a patient does not wear the Hawley retainer as recommended, the teeth might move back to their original position.

While it is possible for the teeth to stay aligned without regular wire retainer wear, there are many reasons teeth will crowd as a person ages. For this reason, many orthodontists recommend periodic wire retainer wear for many years, or indefinitely, after orthodontic treatment. The three most popular retainers used in dental braces care are the Hawley retainer, the Essix retainer and a Fixed retainer.

Hawley Retainer - a Hawley retainer is made of metal hooks or clasps that surround the teeth and keeps them in place. It is anchored in a specially molded, sometimes brightly colored acrylic plate shaped to fit the patient's palate, or floor of the mouth. Top and bottom retainers are usually made as necessary.

Essix Retainer - an Essix retainer is similar in appearance to Invisalign trays. It is a clear plastic tray form-fitted over the entire arch of teeth and can be produced from a mold and stays in place by suction. Essix retainers, if worn 24 hours per day, do not allow the upper and lower teeth to touch because plastic covers the chewing surfaces of the teeth. Some orthodontists feel that it is important for the top and bottom chewing surfaces to meet to allow a "favorable settling" to occur. Essix retainers are less expensive, more aesthetic and easier to wear than Hawley retainers.

Most removable wire retainers come with a retainer case to protect them. During the first few days of retainer use, many people will have extra saliva in their mouth. This is natural and is due to the presence of a new object inside the mouth and consequent stimulation of the saliva glands. It may be difficult to speak for a while after getting a retainer, but this speech difficulty should go away over time as one gets used to wearing it.

An entirely different category of orthodontic retainers, by definition not removable, are bonded or Fixed Retainers.

A Fixed retainer consists of a wire permanently bonded to the tongue-side of the lower incisor teeth, although other teeth are occasionally treated in similar fashion. Some doctors prescribe fixed retainers regularly, especially when a significant change has occurred in the bite and there is a high risk for reversal.



Dental Mouthpiece