You may consider teeth whitening procedures even if you have braces to keep your smile bright, confident, and clean. However, the type of braces you have can change how effective teeth whitening is. To make sure you maintain a healthy-looking white smile even during your treatment, continue reading to learn about how to whiten teeth with braces.
Want to find out if you or your child needs braces? Visit Reese Orthodontics in Charleston, SC for leading orthodontic care.
Why Choose Whitening?
Teeth whitening is a common procedure that uses products called bleaches to break up stains on the surface of your teeth. This leads to a whiter, brighter smile. Teeth can become discolored for any number of reasons, including dietary and lifestyle habits. These include:
- Consuming certain foods and drinks frequently such as tea, coffee, and red wine
- Being older, which results in thinner enamel
- Tobacco use, which puts your teeth in contact with nicotine and tar
- Taking certain antipsychotic and high blood pressure medications
- Undergoing chemotherapy
- Sustaining a trauma to your teeth
While braces straighten your teeth, they can also make it more difficult to brush and floss properly, leading to stains around your brackets and archwire. However, normal teeth whitening procedures cannot be applied to teeth with metal brackets attached to the front since only the area around the bracket will be affected. When the braces are removed, your teeth will be two different colors.
Options for Tooth Whitening
Whitening is a process that could refer to several different procedures, including:
- Professional bleaching, which uses a permanent whitening product to change the color of your teeth. Your dentist will smear a gel over your gums to protect them from the product. It generally only takes one session to work.
- At-home bleaching can be achieved by asking your dentist for the necessary tools, including the bleaching solution and customized mouth tray. In this case, you can whiten your teeth in several sessions over a period of several days.
- Pharmaceutical products can be purchased over the counter that have a bleaching effect. These include whitening strips and special toothpaste. Ask your doctor for recommendations on safe and effective products. Keep in mind that these will not be as powerful as your dentist’s whitening procedure.
How to Whiten Teeth With Braces
The type of braces you have is significant when deciding whether your teeth can be whitened during your treatment. While conventional braces adhere to the front of your teeth and make whitening unviable, lingual braces, attached to the backside of your teeth, would not affect the whitening process. Invisalign is also an option for people who want the benefits of braces without interfering with other procedures like whitening.
Even if you have conventional metal braces with brackets in the front, you can invest in stain-removing toothpaste in the meantime. It contains small abrasive granules that scrub teeth more vigorously than normal toothpaste. They are made with polishing compounds that clean and shine teeth. Though they do not whiten teeth, cleaning away stains can have a similar visual effect.
Other options for tooth whitening with braces include using an electric toothbrush, which can more efficiently remove stains from your teeth at more difficult angles. A proxy brush can be used to brush more meticulously around the brackets and wires of your teeth. A mouthwash that contains fluoride can also be useful since it can flush trapped food from behind your archwire and protect your teeth but a water flosser can have a similar effect.
Keep in mind that these methods do not whiten your teeth like the procedure. However, they can help you manage your oral health and prevent stains from forming.
When to Avoid Tooth Whitening
Despite the visual benefits of tooth whitening, there are times when you should avoid the process. If you suffer from sensitive teeth, the bleaching solution could irritate your gums. You may also have veneers, caps, or crowns that cannot be whitened. Teeth that are discolored due to injury also cannot be whitened.
Choose Reese Orthodontics
If you’re an adult who is considering braces, you need professional advice on your treatment and payment options. For orthodontic treatments in Charleston, SC, Reese Orthodontics offers the latest technology and treatment plans. Our advanced and comfortable orthodontic treatments can be customized to suit your needs. A consultation with Reese Orthodontics includes scans, a comprehensive exam, and a conversation with the orthodontist to discover which treatment options are right for you.
Schedule an appointment with us today to stay ahead of your oral health and receive the best possible treatment in your area.