Almost 90% of people report wanting whiter teeth when asked what they’d most like to improve about their smiles. Since straightening teeth with braces can on average take 16 months, it’s no surprise that many patients ask about whitening their teeth.
At Fry Orthodontics, we’re always committed to helping you achieve your smile goals and answering any questions you may have. While you may be ready to start whitening your teeth now, there are some factors you should consider first.
Teeth Staining and Discoloration
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 dark spots and uneven coloring when the braces are removed. If you have Invisalign braces, it’s also recommended that you wait 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.
Another issue to consider 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 can happen for a variety of reasons including, the duration of bleaching process, the strength of whitening agent, and because some peroxide-based agents 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 a 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.
What About Before 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’s likely some of your teeth overlap. If that’s the case, the whitening agent won’t be able to reach the overlapped areas. After those teeth are straightened by braces, 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.
Have More Questions About Whitening Your Teeth?
Bottom line, when it comes to bleaching your teeth during treatment, we recommend waiting until after you’ve completed orthodontic treatment and are enjoying your new beautiful smile.
Once treatment is complete, we recommend following up with your dentist to choose a teeth whitening plan to best suit your teeth. If you’re concerned about any current discoloration with your braces or have questions about your orthodontic treatment, let us know!