Can I Whiten My Teeth with Braces?

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Braces mean that you are already working on improving your smile. Another big part of peoples’ smiles is how white their teeth are. If you are trying to get a perfect smile in the shortest amount of time, you might ask, “Can I whiten my teeth with braces?”

The short answer is that you can, but we do not recommend it, and we will explain why.

Teeth Whitening with Braces

If you have traditional clear or metal braces with brackets, we recommend that you wait until your treatment plan is completed before whitening your teeth. Since the brackets are glued directly onto your teeth, whitening your teeth with the brackets in place can cause uneven coloring when the braces are removed.

If you have Invisalign braces, we still recommend waiting until after treatment. Even though Invisalign aligners are removable, whitening products can damage tooth attachments. And, overuse of a whitening gel can potentially cause damage to the tooth.

The best thing you can do if you want to have white, straight teeth as fast as you possibly can is to ask us. We want to help you get what you want, and we are experts in this subject! We can create a plan to achieve your goal for your smile.

Extra Tooth Sensitivity

Another issue is that some teeth whitening products can cause tooth sensitivity.

After whitening, you may notice pain in response to hot and cold beverages, sweet foods, and tooth brushing. This pain can happen for a variety of reasons including, the duration of the bleaching process, the strength of the whitening agent, and because some peroxide-based products bleach through the enamel and expose the nerves beneath it.

While everyone’s situation is different, in most cases, it is best to wait until you have completed your orthodontic treatment to begin teeth whitening treatment. You will achieve better, longer-lasting results, and you won’t have to worry about the whitening treatment being disrupted or adversely affected by the braces.

Teeth Whitening Before or After Braces

So, if whitening your teeth when you have braces isn’t an option, what about whitening your teeth before getting braces? Before getting braces, it is likely some of your teeth overlap. If that’s the case, the whitening agent won’t reach the overlapped areas. After braces straighten those teeth, the overlapped areas may still be discolored. For that reason, it’s usually best to wait until after your braces are removed to have your teeth whitened.

How to Have White Teeth with Braces

Even if you opt for teeth whitening once the braces come off, it is a good idea to prevent stains as best you can during orthodontic treatment. Doing so will keep your teeth looking as sparkly as possible. Plus, you don’t want to worsen the stains you plan to whiten.

Here are a few tips for preventing discoloration while you are wearing braces:

  • Clean your teeth and braces. Proper dental hygiene is good for keeping your teeth stain-free but essential to preventing tooth decay while wearing braces. Food easily gets stuck in the wires and brackets, so brushing and flossing are a must.
  • Prevent the white spots you may have heard about. Called “white spot lesions,” these light-colored spots are similar to decay and caused by plaque building up around the brackets. The plaque decalcifies the enamel, leaving patchy white spots. These patches do not typically respond to teeth whitening, so sticking to your oral hygiene routine while wearing braces is crucial. Cutting back on sodas and other sugary drinks is another good way to prevent them.
  • Avoid stain-causing beverages and foods. Soda, black coffee, tea, wine, sports drinks, tomato sauce, beets, blackberries, curry sauce — all of these things stain your teeth. You may wish to enjoy them only in moderation to prevent tooth discoloration. After consuming them, you can also help reduce their staining power by rinsing your mouth with plain water.

Final Words

We are committed to giving you the highest level of service while being open, professional, and friendly. At McDonough Orthodontics, we stand behind our work, and we are committed to being your orthodontist for life. We want you to always be proud of your smile.

That’s why we offer the McDonough Orthodontics Lifetime Smile Guarantee. If for any reason, you aren’t satisfied with your orthodontist services, even if your teeth have shifted due to poor retainer wear, we will retreat your case at just the cost of braces or Invisalign, your choice. It’s one more way we can help you keep the smile you love.

Dr. David McDonough
McDonough Orthodontics

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