Orthodontics Laboratory: Retainer & Finishing


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The Hawley retainer includes a metal wire that typically surrounds the six anterior teeth and keeps them in place. The labial wire, or Hawley bow, incorporates 2 loops for adjustment. It is anchored in an acrylic arch that sits in the palate (roof of the mouth). The advantage of this type of retainer is that the metal wires can be adjusted to finish treatment and continue minor movement of the anterior teeth as needed.

*Custom Hawley Retainers are available, contact us if you have any questions


A Wraparound retainer has a wire that wraps around the full arch upper or lower and crosses over into the palate in the posterior. A “C” clasp or Adams clasp can be used in the posterior for extra retention. Stabilizing wires may be incorporated into the design to support the arch wire. This appliance is preferred when there is limited interproximal-occlusal space or minor spaces that need to be closed.

*Custom Retainers are available, contact us if you have any questions (Examples: Labial Bow Soldered to Clasps)


A bonded 3×3 retainer is probably the most commonly used retainer to stabilize the mandibular anteriors following the completion of orthodontic treatment. Due to the bonded 3×3 retainer being a permanent fixed appliance it requires minimal patient cooperation and provides less adverse tooth movement after treatment. It consists of a well- contoured wire fitted against the lingual of the anteriors, canine to canine (hence the name 3×3 retainer).

It can also be ordered in various lengths. For example, 1×1 (central to central), 2×2 (lateral to lateral), or 4×4 (bicuspid to bicuspid).

When placing a bonded retainer on the upper arch the depth of the bite must be considered. If the patient’s bite is deep it may be that an upper 3×3 retainer cannot be placed without the incisal edges of the lower teeth interfering with the retainer. When sending your case to the lab for an upper 3×3 retainer always include a lower model as well.


Spring Retainers are most often used for minor anterior tooth movement. They can be used on the maxillary or mandibular arch and are very effective in aligning slight to moderate crowding of the anterior teeth by resetting the teeth, adapting the labial bow, and adding facial acrylic. (additional charge for resets).

*Custom Retainers are available, contact us if you have any questions

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