It’s not uncommon for those going through orthodontic treatment to want a whiter and brighter smile when they get their braces off. You want people to see your brand-new smile but you don’t want to show off yellow or dull teeth.

Should You Whiten Your Teeth While You Have Braces?

It is strongly recommended that you wait until your orthodontic treatment is over before you go through any whitening processes. Whitening treatments, whether in-office or at home, only bleach the parts of your teeth that the gel can come in contact with.

If you have regular braces with brackets and wires, the gel can’t bleach the areas of your teeth that are covered by them. Once you get your braces off, you could have darker spots where the brackets were because the bleach couldn’t get that area of your teeth.

The same is true with Invisalign. About 90% of Invisalign patients have small, clear attachments bonded to their teeth to help keep the aligner trays in place, and the whitening compound will not reach the parts of your teeth underneath them.

In-Office or at-Home Treatments?

There are great options at both the dentist’s office and in your own bathroom at home to whiten your teeth. At the office, you can get what is called “chairside bleaching.” Your dentist will put a strong bleaching solution consisting of hydrogen peroxide on your teeth for about 30 minutes. Sometimes an intense light is used on your teeth while you have the bleaching gel on in order to enhance the process. It rarely ever hurts or causes any discomfort. Your dentist will always perform an examination before the procedure to make sure you are a good candidate.

At home treatments are a little less intense than the ones you’d get at the dentist’s office, but they do take longer. For these, you’ll have to have trays that have been molded and shaped to your teeth. You would put a peroxide gel in the trays to bleach your teeth.

While this option might be more convenient, it can cause a little discomfort or sensitivity. The gel can sometimes leak out of the tray and cause minor gum irritation.

Other Solutions to a Brighter Smile

Bleaching your teeth can add up, so those options might not always be available to you. But don’t worry! There are other ways to prevent staining while you have braces.

  • Brush your teeth carefully – taking care to brush especially well around each bracket
  • Floss regularly to prevent the build-up of plaque
  • Rinse and brush after every meal or snack
  • You should also avoid foods and drinks that cause heavy staining on your teeth. Drinks like dark soda, coffee, tea, and red wine are known culprits. Cigarettes are also a big cause of teeth stains.

However you choose to keep your teeth pearly white, make sure you consult your orthodontist and dentist in order to receive the best treatment possible. Call us today at (843) 4-BRACES to get more information about whitening your teeth and how it can affect your braces.