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Woman smiling with white teeth and braces

Keeping teeth clean during braces is an important part of your oral health regimen, but keeping teeth white with braces sometimes presents a problem. Teeth whitening with braces is a common practice that orthodontic patients have done to keep their teeth white during orthodontic care. Which teeth whitening treatment you use will depend on what type of braces you have. Achieving a whiter smile is not impossible with braces, but will need extra effort and care to protect your braces. Find out how you can both whiten and straighten your teeth at the same time with these tips and tricks!

 

In-Office versus At-Home Treatments

Teeth whitening has been a popular choice of treatment for dental patients for years now, but orthodontic patients can now receive the same treatment, too, while getting their teeth straightened at the same time. Keeping your teeth clean while undergoing orthodontic treatment is an important step in maintaining good oral health, and teeth whitening options can enhance that process. With the variety of treatment options that orthodontic patients now have to straighten their teeth, there are plenty of ways to whiten teeth while receiving care. For patients who prefer whitening their teeth at the dental office, one option that patients can choose is “chairside bleaching.” This process requires one or two office visits in which a strong bleaching agent is applied to the teeth combined with a special light to accelerate the whitening effect and lift stains. For patients with brackets on the front of their teeth, chairside bleaching can cause a two-tone effect after traditional braces are removed, so sometimes it is best to bleach after your treatment is over. For patients with lingual braces (on the backside of teeth), though, it is relatively easy to whiten teeth during treatment since teeth whitening focuses on the front of the teeth and not the back. Removable braces and retainers also allow for successful teeth whitening as they allow all of the teeth to be uncovered.

 

Many patients prefer at-home teeth whitening treatments over in-office treatments because it allows them the flexibility to decide when and where they whiten their teeth. For at-home treatments, gel similar to those used in dental offices will be given to you that is inserted into a customized tray which is fit to your mouth. The gel uses peroxide to bleach the tooth enamel and whiten the tooth. Even those with braces can use these custom trays after braces have been placed in the mouth. The trays have to account for the space that brackets use so the gel doesn’t displace the bracket from the tooth. With at-home treatments, though, there is a larger risk of sensitivity and gum irritation if bleaching material leaks out of the tray. Both options for teeth whitening allow patients the freedom to get the best results during their orthodontic treatment but still get the same benefits that braces offer.

 

Things To Consider

When deciding on which type of teeth whitening you should do, it is important to remember that the type of braces you have dictates what kind of teeth whitening you can receive. As teeth shift during orthodontic treatment, tooth sensitivity and gum irritation can increase when using mouth trays or teeth whitening strips at home. Traditional braces use brackets on the front side of the teeth to correct malocclusion while other options, like lingual braces, use brackets on the backside of teeth to straighten teeth. Whitening teeth with lingual or removable braces is much easier for patients than those with traditional braces as brackets prevent a good portion of the tooth from bleaching agents. For this reason, most orthodontists recommend using teeth whitening products once braces are removed for most effectiveness. If you do choose to use teeth whitener during treatment with traditional braces and you feel some sensitivity/tenderness, make sure to avoid whitening for a while to give your teeth a break. Chewing gum can also help with any pain you might feel from whitening agents, as well as using sensitivity toothpaste. For additional insights into what to expect when using teeth whitener with braces, meet with your orthodontist to discuss which option is best for your mouth.

 

Everyday Teeth WhiteningWoman putting whitening stripes on teeth while looking in the mirrow

Many patients use everyday teeth whitening products to improve their smile rather than going to a dental office or using expensive products. As teeth whitening has become more popular, more and more products have been created to enhance smiles in the comfort of one’s home with a smaller price tag than traditional methods. For anyone, with or without braces, using a teeth whitening toothpaste is a great and easy way to whiten your smile and maintain good oral health at the same time. Even if you have sensitive teeth, there are still plenty of options for toothpaste that whiten teeth without putting your sensitive mouth at risk. There is also teeth whitening mouthwash that whitens and protects teeth from stains while freshening your breath at the same time. Switching from a manual to electric toothbrush can further whiten your teeth by polishing away surface stains that appear under braces. With all of the different dental items that can be tailored to your individual needs, you can have a whiter smile with braces in no time.

 

For more information on how you can whiten your teeth during orthodontic treatment, call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016! Our team is committed to helping you and your family get the healthiest and brightest smile possible!

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Close-up image of a person's teeth before and after teeth whitening

Many patients expect their braces to come off, exposing a beautiful, white smile. However, the teeth are often not bright and sparkling when brackets and wires come off. This is why many patients opt to have teeth whitening treatments after their orthodontic treatment is over. You can even do it right after your braces come off. We can help you to know what you can expect when your braces come off and how to approach teeth whitening to brighten your smile!

 

Keeping Teeth Healthy During Braces

If you want whiter teeth when your braces come off, it does matter what you do during your time with braces. Your oral health habits and what you eat will make a big difference in the look of your teeth. With braces, teeth are much harder to clean, so with everything you eat, make sure you know what will happen with your teeth. Sugary foods will stick to your teeth more and might sit on your teeth longer, causing decay. Chips, nuts and hard foods can break brackets and wires and even your teeth. Certain drinks will dye your tooth enamel, and can leave uneven shades if you drink them a lot. Consider the following:

  • Avoid hard foods that will break orthodontic appliances. These include: nuts, popcorn, corn on the cob, carrots, hard candy, chips, ice, apples and crusty bread.
  • Don’t eat sticky foods, which are really hard to get out of brackets. These include: gum, caramel, Sugar Daddies, Skittles, taffies, Tootsie Rolls, gummies, fruit snacks, Starburst, licorice and similar foods.
  • Sodas and carbonated drinks. Carbonic acid in these drinks will erode tooth enamel over time.
  • Juices and Citrus: Citric acid erodes tooth enamel as well. Juices are generally high in sugar and can contain acids.

 

It’s also very important to keep your teeth clean. If you have drinks that are purple, blue, red, and other dark colors, these will all stain your teeth. When you do drink these drinks, make sure to brush afterwards (about 20 minutes after) to take away the dye. Keep your teeth clean all day long by continually brushing and flossing so your teeth can stay as white as possible. The more you do for your teeth when you have braces, the less you have to do afterwards.

 

Teeth whitening tray and serum

When Your Braces Come Off

Many patients picture beautiful, white teeth when their braces come off. Even though your teeth will be beautiful and straight, they likely won’t be white. They will at least be the same color that they were when you got braces on your teeth. Depending on your oral health habits, your teeth might actually be darker if you had foods with dyes, tooth decay problems or didn’t brush and floss often. If your teeth aren’t white, don’t fret! Most patients do teeth whitening after their braces to get their new straight smile sparkling.

 

Teeth Whitening After Braces

Teeth whitening is one of the easiest dental services you can get. If you get teeth whitening through a dentist, you will have a dental hygienist whiten your teeth with professional-grade solutions. You will have teeth whitening materials placed on your teeth that will be set with ultraviolet light. Your teeth will then cure for 20-60 minutes until they reach the white shade you desire. This process can be done several times in-office on the same day, or spread out over several days if the teeth are sensitive.

 

Dentists also provide take-home professional-grade solutions that patients can do on their own time that work much quicker than toothpastes, strips or over-the counter treatments. With any teeth whitening you do, always double check the chemicals being used and what the process will be like. With a professional service, your results are usually guaranteed or the process is redone.

 

Tips to remember when doing teeth whitening:

  • Many at-home products won’t whiten your teeth significantly. Many toothpastes only remove plaque or surface stains, but they don’t actually change the color of your teeth.
  • When choosing over-the-counter products, look for ones with hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These will actually change the shade of your teeth whiter.
  • Your best and quickest results will come from getting professional teeth whitening from a dentist. Teeth whitening can even be done in just one office visit, which is great for upcoming formal events or whitening your teeth when you have very little time.

 

Male patient receiving teeth whitening treatment with a UV light in the dental office

Your Oral Health

Whether your goal is to have whiter teeth or to keep your natural teeth for your entire life, how well you take care of them will determine if you meet your oral health goals. If you never brush and floss your teeth, you can’t expect them to stay healthy. If you drink sodas and juices with dyes everyday, you can expect your teeth to stain. Having healthy teeth (and even white teeth) is fairly easy if you follow certain oral health guidelines:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day, for at least 2 minutes every time, as recommended by the American Dental Association. If you wear braces, you should brush your teeth after every meal.
  • Floss every day, 1-2 times. Flossing gets 40% of your tooth surfaces that get missed when people skip.
  • Use fluoridated toothpaste. Fluoride strengthens your teeth, and you can get fluoridated teeth whitening toothpastes.
  • See your dentist! You need more than just an orthodontist, even though the orthodontist is very important. Seeing a professional who knows both orthodontics and dentistry is even better (like us). Every person should see their dentist for comprehensive exams and dental cleanings at least twice a year.
  • See your orthodontist. When wearing braces, make sure you go to every orthodontic appointment. This helps your orthodontist know if dental problems like decay, erosion or staining are happening.

Following these guidelines can help you keep your natural teeth healthy and strong for life, even with your braces on. For more help taking care of your teeth or questions about teeth whitening after braces, call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016!