Wearing braces can be quite a sacrifice, as it costs time and comfort. And it often cramps our style and affects our self-confidence and vanity. One of the most common questions we’re asked is regarding teeth whitening with braces, so today we’re going to share what you need to know!
Of course, teeth can be cleaned and polished after all of the hardware comes off, but is that too late? If you’re going to be wearing braces in the first place, is it really too much to ask that the parts of your teeth that aren’t covered in metal be white? Well, yes and no.
The reason is that your braces aren’t just making you look better, they’re making your mouth easier to clean and care for by spacing your teeth and correcting your bite. Your teeth will almost always look and feel better after wearing braces and any problems with a bite that’s out of alignment will be corrected, too.
So let’s review some different types of teeth whitening with braces.
Whether you’re wearing removable, clear appliances that cover your teeth -such as Invisalign – or sporting metal, ceramic or acrylic brackets on the front or even backs of teeth, tooth and gum care has to be ramped up and is more intricate during orthodontic treatment.
You can perform teeth whitening with braces with mixed results, but is it okay? Well, it depends on the style of braces, types of stains on the teeth and the contents of the whitening products.
If you wear removable braces or have metal braces attached only to the backs of your teeth, whitening products will work much the same as they do for people without braces. They will whiten by delivering concentrations of carbamide peroxide into surface enamel to remove stains.
If you are considering teeth whitening with braces, you should discuss it with your dentist or orthodontist first so he or she can offer advice based on your specific treatment and the condition of your teeth and gums.
Following are some solutions for teeth whitening with braces:
In-Office Bleaching: Often called “chair-side bleaching,” this treatment typically requires only one or two office visits. A strong bleaching agent is applied to the teeth, along with a special light to accelerate the effect, depending on the case.
At-Home Bleaching: Similar to in-office treatment, this bleaching material typically comes in a gel and is placed in a tray that looks like an athletic mouth guard. The product uses peroxide to bleach the tooth enamel. This option is great for those who wear Invisalign®, because the trays can be easily taken out.
Whitening Toothpastes: All toothpastes help remove surface stain through the action of mild abrasives. Whitening toothpastes that are in the ADA Seal of Acceptance program have enamel-strengthening fluoride, as well as special chemical or polishing agents that provide additional stain removal.
Can anything be done to whiten teeth while wearing bracketed braces?
Using intense whitening products such as strips and paint-on peroxides while wearing traditional braces on teeth can deliver uneven results. Orthodontists can recommend products for keeping uncovered parts of teeth looking their best, and some of these may contain whitening ingredients such as low concentrations of hydrogen peroxide.
Whitening toothpastes marketed for everyday use, and not those designed to whiten drastically in a week or so, also may be just fine, but should not be used without checking with your orthodontist first. Keeping a thorough and consistent routine of brushing, flossing and getting professional cleanings may be the best way to keep teeth white or to make them whiter.
If you have questions or concerns regarding teeth cleaning with braces, feel free to call our office today to schedule a consultation so we can put your mind at ease!