A image of two different kinds of orthodontic retainers with a tooth model in between them

Comparison of Retainer Technology

Comparison of Retainer Technology


Each has its own pluses and minuses

There are two main retainer technologies that are used: aligners and Hawley retainers. We offer both retainers, but we think it is important to highlight the significant differences between the two as they both have very clear advantages and disadvantages.

As is always the case, we want our patients to have as much information as possible in order to make an informed decision for their own healthcare.

Technology
Features
Hawley
Retainer
Clear "Aligner Style"
Retainer
Durability Lasts years, even decades Recommend replacement every 6 months
Aesthetics Single labial wire visable, worn when sleeping after first six weeks Clear acrylic material
Ability to adjust individual teeth as needed Yes, a strength of the appliance Unless pre-programmed, not effective
Stability of the materials Excellent, short and long term Short term, good. Long term, the plastic can distort resulting in undesired tooth movement
Index of tooth position at retention to monitor relapse Tooth movement away from retainer easily determined Cannot be determined
Interference with the occlusion, or bite. Can the appliance change the way teeth come together? When constructed properly, will not change the bite as no teeth make contact with any part of retainer. Many documented cases of bite changes with wear
Maintenance Cleaning with toothbrush Cleaning with toothbrush
Discoloration Will discolor, but acrylic not seen unless out of mouth Will discolor, but is replaced frequently
Can retainer indicate changes? Patient will feel changes to their teeth in microns Patient may feel changes as their teeth engage the tray, but not close to the sensitivity of the more rigid Hawley

Durability


HAWLEY
RETAINER

CLEAR ALIGNER STYLE
RETAINER

Aesthetics


HAWLEY
RETAINER

CLEAR ALIGNER STYLE
RETAINER

Ability to adjust individual teeth as needed


HAWLEY
RETAINER

CLEAR ALIGNER STYLE
RETAINER

Stability of the materials


HAWLEY
RETAINER

CLEAR ALIGNER STYLE
RETAINER

Index of tooth position at retention to monitor relapse


HAWLEY
RETAINER

CLEAR ALIGNER STYLE
RETAINER

Interference with the occlusion, or bite. Can the appliance change the way teeth come together?


HAWLEY
RETAINER

CLEAR ALIGNER STYLE
RETAINER

Maintenance


HAWLEY
RETAINER

CLEAR ALIGNER STYLE
RETAINER

Discoloration


HAWLEY
RETAINER

CLEAR ALIGNER STYLE
RETAINER

Can retainer indicate changes?


HAWLEY
RETAINER

CLEAR ALIGNER STYLE
RETAINER

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