The Retainer of the Month is...The Hawley!

The Hawley retainer is commonly the most prescribed retainer by Orthodontists and dentists. The Hawley is one of the most basic and simple appliances for labs to produce, which is another reason for its popularity. The traditional upper and lower Hawley consists of a labial bow with no clasping.  An upper and lower Hawley can hold sets of “C” clasps, Adams clasps, Ball clasps, and Arrow clasps for anchorage. The Hawley is an extremely versatile appliance; perhaps the most versatile retainer produced, and can contain a myriad of clasping with expansion options. There are many different types of springs that can be added to the basic Hawley to move one, two, or even three teeth into the desired position. For example, the molar retractor spring, finger spring, “S” spring, or “S” spring with helixes, or a bloore spring, are just a few of the possibilities of what the Hawley can hold.

Certainly adding an expansion screw to the Hawley may change the technical name for the appliance but the shape and basic design are the same. There is also several types of expansion screws that are commonly put into the basic Hawley retainer, for example; the transverse (or lateral) expansion screw, the sagittal screw, the smaller one tooth screw, the fan type screw, or the 3-way expansion screw. Being able to add most clasps, springs, and screws to the basic Hawley design makes this appliance the most versatile appliance produced in labs today.

The Hawley also can hold a number of acrylic additions as well. Adding an anterior or posterior bite plane is very common. Also adding a pontic to the appliance is an easy way for a patient to quickly and cheaply improve their smile temporarily.

 The majority of orthodontic labs consider the Hawley their “bread and butter” appliance because it is so commonly requested. Also because of the acrylic plate that makes up much of the body it is also the most decorated appliance labs can produce. Patients in the chair love to pick out their favorite acrylic design, and like everything else with the Hawley the possibilities are almost endless. For an example of color and design choices visit And that is why the Hawley is the retainer of the month for Reserve Ortho Lab!