Whether you receive clear aligner type retainers such as Essix or Invisalign Vivera or traditional wire retainers, one of the first things you will notice is that it is a little difficult to speak clearly with them. The first thing to note is that you will always sound worse to yourself than you will to anyone else so please don’t let this put you off wearing them.  It is essential that you rigidly comply with the instructions from your orthodontist about wearing retainers and for most people, this will involve wearing them full time for a period of months after your braces are removed.

So how can you quickly adapt to speaking clearly with them?  Practicing speaking with them either to yourself or with family is a good way to start particularly if you are apprehensive about speaking with them at work or in social situations.  Reading a book aloud or singing can also help but if this doesn’t appear to work at first, try slowing down and making an effort to pronounce each word as clearly as you can. You may find you develop a slight lisp but this will soon go away the more you practice speaking whilst wearing your retainers.

You should soon find your speech getting clearer but may still find a few words difficult to say such as those with a ‘sh’ or ‘ch’ and these will simply need more practice. If after a few months your speech hasn’t completely returned to normal it may be worth having a chat with your orthodontist at your first retainer review to see if they can offer advice or adjust your retainer but for the majority of people, you will find speaking with retainers easy after the first few weeks.

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