I wore traditional braces for nearly four years, starting at age nine, and I spent my first two teen years diligently wearing my retainer to maintain the results. Then, like so many of us former-braces-wearers, I stopped. Then, also like so many of us former-braces-wearers, I noticed that my teeth had shifted and tried to put the retainer back in and — oh my god. Putting a retainer back in your mouth after months or years is legit agony, which is why I have the utmost respect for Gabrielle Union's latest selfie.
On Thursday, July 23, Union shared a new makeup-free photo — one of many she's been posting while isolating with her family since pandemic-prompted stay-home recommendations started in early spring. But while this selfie showed off her glowing skin and freckles like previous ones, this one had a new addition: an old-school metal retainer.
"My teeth are moving. I have to wear my retainer. 🥴😬," Union wrote under the photo, in which she is smiling way too big for someone who's very likely in pain from putting that torture device in her mouth after her teeth have shifted. Resting her chin on her hand and wearing an adorable, blue Lapp workout jacket, Union looks all of 15 years old with her fresh face and metal mouth.
If Union is inspiring you to start wearing your retainer again, make sure you give it a good cleaning first. "If you use a retainer or aligners, you can buy over-the-counter cleansing tablets to help keep them germ-free," orthodontist Gabrielle Ollins recently told Allure. "But please don’t boil your retainer as a means of disinfection, as it will warp the structure and make it ineffective."
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Originally Appeared on Allure