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Braces at 30 - upper Hawley and lower Essix retainer fitting appointment

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Welcome to my latest braces at 30 update. 

Yet another appointment for my teeth! I'm becoming part of the furniture at my orthodontist, I swear!

I had four teeth appointments in just one week recently. 

The last of these four was to pick up my metal Hawley retainer for my top teeth which is a totally different style to the clear Essix retainer I already have. 

I also got my first retainer for my bottom teeth which is the clear Essix style retainer.  In this blog post I will share my first impressions of my new retainers.

Here’s my last update if you missed it: My latest braces at 30 update – No more braces after 28 months (but it's not over yet)

Hawley retainer photos with two false teeth

Braces at 30 - upper Hawley and lower Essix retainer fitting appointment

Braces at 30 - what does a metal hawley retainer with false teeth look like

Braces at 30 - photo of hawley retainer with false lateral incisor teeth

Braces at 30 - metal hawley retainer with false teeth and roof of mouth pla


Hawley retainer on top, Essix retainer on bottom

Braces at 30 - Hawley and Essix Retainers with false lateral incisors teeth

Hawley on upper and Essix on lower!

What happened at my Hawley and Essix retainer fitting appointment?

So, if you read my recent blog post titled 12 reasons I hate the clear plastic Essix retainer then you’ll know I really detest this plastic retainer! 

It’s starting to split and as I had my peg tooth extracted, I needed a retainer with two false teeth instead of one.  The dentist simply added some filling material to the retainer but it’s not fixed in and only temporary.  I find the clear retainer really disgusting in the day to wear as it fills with spit and gives me bad breath, among other things, so I thought perhaps the metal Hawley retainer would be better.

Oh, how wrong I was.

I hate the metal Hawley retainer even more!

Here's why I hate the Hawley retainer:

  • It feels giant in my mouth!  It has a plastic plate that goes on the roof of the mouth, but the front part which is behind the teeth curves downwards instead of upwards, which seems illogical to me.  So it doesn’t fit the shape of the roof of my mouth. 
  • Instead, it is constantly on my tongue so it’s impossible to talk.  I sound ridiculous!
  • The false teeth are also crap.  I know they don't custom make them when it's just for a retainer, they just find the closest size they can from what they have in stock, but these are so jagged they look like broken teeth in my mouth!  They look ridiculous.
  • It also doesn’t feel as tight as the clear plastic Essix retainer.  I’ve been wearing the metal one at night times only and then changing into the plastic one in the morning and that feels tight.  So I’m sure the Hawley one is too loose.

I’m going to the dentist today to pick up my denture so I’ll ask if I can order another clear plastic retainer with two teeth in from them, but I may have to go back to the orthodontist to order one.  They cost £100 to replace!

I do find the see-through Essix retainer really grotesque, but at least it’s more comfortable to wear and I can talk properly!

So, at the moment here’s what I’m wearing:

  • Day time: Essix retainer on top, Essix on bottom
  • Night time: Hawley on top, Essix on bottom (over the permanent retainer - I have a permanent retainer behind my six front teeth at the bottom)

Once I pick up my denture today, providing it fits and looks OK, then I’ll be able to wear that at the top in the day times and finally be able to eat in front of people! Woohoo!  Fingers crossed the denture is good!

(Update, the NHS denture was hideous!!  Read all about it in this blog post: The partial denture disappointment)


I’ve been documenting my entire orthodontics journey with train track braces, retainers, consultations and tooth extractions for over two years.  Find my entire journey here: Braces at 30 or check out the following blog posts!

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Braces and bridges at 30– Was it worth it?

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Is teeth whitening worth the cost? + foods to avoid for a whiter smile

Struggling to brush your toddler’s teeth? Try the Brush-Baby!

Dental hygiene tips to improve your smile + self confidence

How to afford dental treatments

Good food for teeth + a healthy mouth


My entire braces & false teeth journey from start to finish!

First orthodontist consultation

Making the decision to get false teeth and braces at 30

Braces booking appointment and moulds

Dentist appointment to check teeth for removal

Two weeks until I get braces

Two baby teeth removed ready for adult braces

Top brace fitting

Braces at 30 - day 2

Braces at 30 - day 3

One week with adult braces

18 days with adult braces

One month with adult braces

What happened at my first brace tightening appointment

3 months with adult braces

4 months with adult braces and another tightening appointment

One week after my third braces tightening

Bottom brace fitting and biting blocks

5th brace tightening

6th brace tightening and update

7th brace tightening and update

Elastics added to my braces from top to bottom

False tooth impression taken for my brace

Temporary false tooth on brace

Braces closing gaps and improving overbite

18 months with a brace

13th braces tightening appointment

22 months with an adult brace before and after

15th tightening appointment braces photos

2 year update with adult braces

17th brace tightening at 24 months with an adult brace

My last braces tightening appointment?

The embarrassing day I get my top brace removed

Essix retainer with false tooth - fitting and photos

Dental implants consultation

Can I get dental implants?

20th braces tightening appointment

Peg tooth extraction

28 months - bottom brace removed!

12 reasons I hate the clear Essix retainer

Hawley retainer fitting appointment

The partial denture disappointment

5 weeks until I get my bridges and false teeth!

The final result of my braces at 30 and false teeth

Before and after braces photos

My teeth whitening experience


Braces blog posts

12 reasons I hate the clear plastic Essix retainer

Braces at 30 - read my entire adult braces experience here

Disappointment with my NHS denture

The decision to have two bridges with false teeth

Was having braces and false teeth worth it?

How much do adult braces cost? + 4 ways to finance them

Adult braces: what are biting blocks?