Yay! You made it through braces and now it’s time to take/post some celebratory selfies and use your retainers. It is important to wear your retainers AT ALL TIMES, exactly as Dr. Li and her staff instruct you to wear it. Only remove them while eating and brushing, and be sure to put it in the retainer’s case so you won’t lose it or throw it away by accident. Most people tend to lose their retainers in the lunch room or in restaurants.

Now the fun part—since you will be wearing your retainer at all times, it will benefit you greatly if you actively practice speaking with them right away. The more you hear yourself talk, your smart brain will adjust to the new position of the teeth with the retainers on. It’s a temporary learning curve, and we promise it won’t be long until you have mastered the technique of speaking clearly with your retainer.

Remember to clean your retainer to keep it free from germs. Brush it at least twice a day to keep plaque away before putting it back in after eating. You can also soak it in Retainer Brite or Insta-Fresh, but you will still need to brush it with a toothbrush to ensure all food particles and bacteria are cleaned from its surface.

Remove your retainer before swimming, and keep it away from curious pets because they will definitely chew it. Keep it out of direct sunlight like the dashboard of a car or deck of a pool, and don’t wrap it in a napkin because you are certain to forget it and it may break if forces are applied by accident. Keep it from extreme cold, and avoid dropping it or damaging it.

Check your pockets each time you toss clothes into the laundry hamper to ensure your retainer was not in them to prevent it from being damaged in the washing machine. Retainers can be expensive, so it’s a no-brainer to make sure it’s kept safe and clean at all times.