From June 2016 to June 2017, I used Smile Direct Club's invisible aligner system to straighten up my smile. After wearing my SDC provided retainer for 6 months, I thought it would be a good time to get a backup/alternative retainer. A quick Google search led me to From Home Dental. This is my unbiased review of ordering Hawley retainers through the mail.
- December 6, 2017 – Today I ordered an impression kit for a Hawley retainer through I loved the SDC aligners and the retainer served me well, but my teeth feel a little claustrophobic and get a little funky, even after using Retainer Brite daily. Also, the Hawley retainers are supposed to last around 5 years. I plan on wearing these through the night and use my SDC retainers for daytime wear. The price seemed affordable for the investment and I ordered both a lower and upper set of Hawley retainers with the blue acrylic area that is attached to the metal wires.
- December 9, 2017 – I got my impression kit in the mail for the Hawley retainers. The kit contains 3 sets of putty – one for practice and the other for upper and lower impressions. They also have 3 different sizes for both upper and lower trays so that you're bound to have one that fits your size mouth. I’ll do the practice impression of my upper bite first and send the photo for approval to continue to the lower set for impressions.
- December 11, 2017 – The holiday season is notoriously busy, and I found some free time this morning while I was getting ready for work to do my practice impressions. I used the smallest tray for my impressions. I sent my photos for approval around 8:15 AM and received an email at 9:30 AM saying my practice impressions look good and that they can be used to make my retainer. From Home Dental also sent a link to the instructions on how to complete the lower impressions. I completed the lower impressions once I got home from work around 6 PM and by 9:30 PM I had received an email approval of my lower impressions.
- December 12, 2017 - At 9 AM, I received a prepaid USPS shipping label in an email to print and affix to the bubble mailer From Home Dental supplied inside the impression kit package. I packed up the approved impressions in the hard plastic box, put them into the mailer and dropped them off at my local post office after work.
- December 16, 2017 - I received an email stating that From Home Dental received my impressions and sent them off to the lab to have the Hawley retainer made. The email indicated it should arrive back to them in 12 days, but that the estimation does not include USPS holidays. I realize now that purchasing during the busy holiday season might not have been the best idea, but I've waited this long so it seems okay to wait a little longer to get a more permanent retainer solution. My anticipated date of arrival of the retainers back to From Home Dental from their lab is 12/28/2017. I can imagine this might be longer with the Christmas holiday coming up. I will keep this post updated with the progress.
- December 31, 2017 - I received an email with a USPS tracking number. It hasn't shipped out yet as it's a Sunday and the first of January is a mail holiday. I hope to have them by the end of the week!
- January 3, 2018 - I checked the tracking number and they should be arriving to my house by the end of the day on January 5th! If this is true, it will have been just about a month from order to receipt of the retainers. It would probably be a little bit shorter if I hadn't ordered during the holiday season.
- January 6, 2018 - We had a pretty nasty snowstorm here on Thursday and that delayed the USPS from delivering. I checked the tracking number and it doesn't currently have an estimated delivery by date, but does say that it has been delayed 😔 Hopefully it'll be here soon! I'm anxiously waiting!
- January 10, 2018 - My retainers finally got delivered! They were in bubble wrap in a bubble mailer inside of another mailing envelope. In the package was a plaster cast of my teeth (check the pictures below to see what I'm talking about), my retainers on the plaster cast, the purple impressions inside another bubble wrap (in case I need to have another retainer made they can reuse the molds) and a white retainer case. I now have 4 retainer cases and far too many teeth related items in my bathroom.
- January 11, 2018 - Whew, these things were a different kind of pressure than the SDC Aligners. I woke up earlier than usual and was wondering why my mouth was hurting and then remembered I had these new retainers in. I'm not sure if these Hawley retainers are just a tighter fit than the SDC retainers or if it's just a different kind of pressure on the teeth, but my one mildly problematic tooth (front right on top that would always feel a tiny bit more pushed back than the left) felt sore in the morning when I woke up. When I changed to my SDC retainers after I brushed in the morning before work, any discomfort seemed to have subsided. I'll keep updating if I feel any changes. I'd like to transition to wearing only the Hawleys at nighttime, but I have a weird obsession with making sure my teeth stay straight and continue to wear my SDC retainers in the morning until lunch. After lunch I sometimes brush at work and put them back in after a few hours and other times will leave them out through the work day and put them back in after dinner at night. I'm sure I'm within the amount of time to switch to only nightly wear since I finished my SDC treatment in June of 2017. For the most part they feel very stable and not too tight when I put the retainers back on after a long day without them.
- February 20, 2018 - So recently I have been only wearing my Hawley retainers at night. I tried to wear them immediately when I received them in January and the lower set's acrylic was cutting into the inside of my gums near my tongue. I thought it was just a fluke and my mouth might just be getting used to them, but I took some time off from wearing the Hawleys and instead wore my SDC retainers so I could let the cut in my mouth heal. For the past week I've been wearing my Hawleys again and the same issue of the acrylic cutting into my gums happened again. I messaged From Home Dental on their contact page and received an email back within a short amount of time giving me instructions on how to return the Hawley on the plaster mold, marking with a sharpie where the irritation was.
- I was unaware that there was a 30 day guarantee period from when the Hawleys were delivered. Mine would have been February 10th and I would have been able to get an adjustment, no questions asked. (I was a bit busy still recovering from my appendix surgery most of January, but I digress.) However, in the purchase price they include one free of charge adjustment after the guarantee period, so I'll be using that towards this fix - hopefully it's taken care of in one go. The only downside is that I have to pay for return shipping and be without that retainer for however long it takes them to send the fixed item back. I'm glad I have my SDC retainer as a backup for when these are "in the shop" getting repaired.
- March 31, 2018 - I finally got to sending my lower retainer and the mold back to From Home Dental. They should arrive by Monday and hopefully they will have an email for me as to how long it'll take to get back to me.
At this time, I currently wear my Smile Direct Club retainers at night only, as I prefer them to the Hawley retainers. I keep the Hawleys on hand in case I misplace or break my clear retainers.