Straightening your teeth and enhancing their natural color is a minimally intrusive, natural smile design option. But can you whiten your teeth while wearing braces, or is it better to do it before or after?
Understanding how to whiten teeth with braces depends on the type of orthodontic system you use and most importantly how you take care of your smile during treatment. Without the right brushing and flossing routine, you could be preparing yourself for darker, dirtier enamel due to stain buildup.
Depends on Which Type of Braces You Wear
The type of braces you use will determine whether you can whiten your teeth. For example, if you have fixed metal brackets and wires on the front of your teeth, they will block a typical whitening plaque or whitening strip. But removable or concealed braces offer the opportunity to whiten the front of your teeth, even if you technically wear braces.
Given the special design, here’s how to whiten with braces:
You can remove removable plaque type orthodontic materials to whiten your teeth. But make sure you wear your plate for at least 22 hours a day.
These hidden braces are glued to the back of your teeth, so you can technically whiten their fronts without interfering with your orthodontic appliances. While you may not be able to wear teeth whitening plates (your braces won’t fit), you can still get a whitening treatment at your dentist’s office or apply whitening strips if you do it carefully.
When it comes to whitening strips, make sure they don’t overlap your gums. You may find it’s better to cut them in half lengthwise as they may not fit your braces or make these areas more sensitive.
Most of the discoloration you see around braces is due to stain build-up around the braces due to not brushing properly and flossing. The most important thing to keep in mind is to use an electric toothbrush and interdental brush to keep them brighter during your orthodontic treatment.
Wait for Your Orthodontic Treatment to End!
If possible, the best way to whiten with braces is to wait until your treatment is finished. Then you can use special teeth whitening palettes, whitening strips or have an in-office whitening procedure for your perfect smile.
One reason we recommend that you do the whitening later is so that your dentist and orthodontist can evaluate any structural problems or demineralized enamel. For example, it may be appropriate to bond a small area where the tooth is rough. However, the bonding will need to match the natural color of your teeth, so it would be appropriate to whiten them just before that. And if you have white spots on your teeth that happen to some orthodontic patients, the whitening product can be adapted to better manage these areas.
Spotting Around Bracket
Unless you’re wearing removable aligners like Invisalign (clear aligners), cleaning around your braces can be a bit of a chore. Regular brushing is not enough. You’ll need floss to clean under the wires, between the teeth, and then interproximal brushes to clean both sides of the brackets. Without plenty of time and dedication, stain and tartar buildup will slowly build up around your braces.
This staining not only darkens your teeth, but also interferes with the whitening of your teeth. If you apply any type of whitening gel, the whitening agents may still not penetrate the buildup. By leaving dark enamel underneath, you whiten the stain and tartar instead of teeth.
Regular teeth cleaning and good care will help you avoid this temporary staining (or worse, demineralized whiteheads). This way, once your braces are removed, you can do a thorough cleaning once again, then apply the teeth whitening agent for best results.
Options for How to Whiten During Orthodontic Treatment
When someone drinks too much coffee or tea or has other lifestyle factors that cause a lot of staining on their enamel, it’s normal to want to know how to whiten teeth with braces. If you are at a point where the stains will have to be whitened with braces, here are some things you want to include in your daily routine:
Toothpastes labeled “whitening” don’t usually whiten your teeth the way other whitening products do. What they actually do is help reduce additional staining and discoloration before they settle on your teeth. If you’re more prone to stain formation even before you get braces, you’ll want to use a whitening toothpaste. The ingredients in such toothpastes help keep your teeth whiter than usual between whitening applications or dental checkups. However, they do not actually penetrate the stain particles and do not oxidize as other whitening systems do.
2.Avoid Staining Foods and Drinks
Helping to limit stains around your braces and braces is to limit the food and drink that causes the stain. If you tend to drink a cup of coffee twice a day, try to cut back on your intake and rinse your mouth with water immediately afterward.
Do you smoke? Tobacco causes serious staining, plus it dries out your mouth and makes buildup worse.
Making changes in your lifestyle will definitely help keep your teeth whiter with braces.
3.Clean Plaque Every Day
It’s hard to clean around braces. And when you let it go, even a little bit, you’ll see yellow and brown buildup or white spots around your braces. To prevent staining and keep your teeth white, you need to physically prevent plaque buildup at least twice a day.
Take the time to brush the top and bottom of each bracket. Next, clean with some type of interdental brush to clean under the archwires and both sides of the brackets, as a toothbrush will likely bypass these gaps. And yes, you still need to floss.
Talk to Your Dentist
Many people want to know how to whiten teeth with braces, but it’s better to focus on good oral hygiene and stain prevention. Then, they can apply for a stronger and more effective whitening treatment after their strands are removed.
Not everyone is suitable for whitening, so be sure to talk to your dentist first. You may have important aesthetic and sensitivity problems that you need to overcome.