An appointment is usually made within a week following braces removal for retainer placement. This time is usually necessary to fabricate the retainers at the lab. The clear, "Essix" type retainers can sometimes be made faster.
At the retainer placement appointment, the orthodontist will make sure the retainer fits properly and provides the necessary retention of the teeth. Instructions are usually given to the patient (and parents, if the patient is a minor) regarding the proper wear and care of the appliances.
Instructions may vary depending on the type and material of a retainer, but they are included here for reference.
Wear the retainers all the time as instructed by the orthodontist. Exceptions may be while eating, drinking, brushing, playing sports, or for swimming. Remember, the first 6 months after braces are removed the teeth are the most prone to movement and relapse.
Brush the retainers inside and outside with a soft toothbrush and cool water regularly. Retainer wear will sometimes be difficult if they are not kept clean and fresh. A retainer cleaner (such as Retainer Brite) can be used to keep them fresh and clean, however do not use hot water. Avoid toothpaste (it is abrasive) and mouthwash (it contains dye and alcohol which can damage the retainer). Do not use denture cleaner.
Keep the retainers away from pets, and especially dogs. They love to chew on the retainers and will likely damage them.
Avoid placing the retainers near heat. Boiling water, dishwashers, dryers, and even a hot dashboard of a car can warp the plastic.
Keep the retainers in a protective case if they are not being worn. This will prevent breakage, loss, or accidentally throwing them away.
The best place for a retainer is in the mouth. It hopefully will not be lost or broken if it is being worn.
If the suggestions given are followed, and the retainers are worn as instructed, the risk of movement and relapse becomes very low.