If you have a Hawley retainer, labial bows can be incredibly useful. Labial bows and Hawley retainers are the way that orthodontists made minor adjustments to teeth before aligners were created. Because of their utility and perceived outdatedness, using a Hawley retainer is a very economical and effective way of doing minor tooth movements. The lab fees on a basic Hawley retainer can range from just $75-125, which is preferable to the cost of most aligners.

In this article, we will discuss how to adjust a labial bow in a Hawley retainer and one of the most common mistakes providers make with Hawleys.

How to Adjust a Labial Bow in a Hawley, Close a Space, Retract Overjet

A labial bow must be tightened when the bow is not touching the incisors for retracting. To tighten a labial bow, you will need two types of pliers to adjust it. You will need a three-prong plier and a bird beak plier to properly adjust the labial bow in a Hawley retainer. With the three-prong plier, you should locate the U-loops on the bow, put the double teeth on the top and single on the bottom, and slightly squeeze.

Another way to tighten the U-loops is by taking the bird beak pliers and horizontally applying them to the loop and giving them a small squeeze. Every movement you will make on the labial bow should be very delicate. Always use minor movements and pressure when adjusting anything in a Hawley retainer to avoid overtightening or damaging the Hawley retainer.

Remember that you can only retract top teeth with a Hawley if there is an overjet. Trying to retract teeth on the top when there is no overjet is one of the most common mistakes people make when using a Hawley retainer.