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Teeth Whitening After Braces

Posted on August 30, 2021

We know how much time and effort you put into completing your braces treatment. The freedom that comes with ditching your brackets and wires at last is certainly worth celebrating! But what happens if your newly aligned teeth are discolored? What if you’re looking to amp up the wattage of your beautifully straight smile? We’re here to tell you everything you need to know about teeth whitening after orthodontics. 

Here at Chawla Orthodontics, we often hear from patients who are looking to achieve a whiter and brighter smile after wrapping up their treatment plan. Let’s take a look at why patients are interested in teeth whitening after braces and how our expert team can help them accomplish that! 

Brightening your smile after braces

There are two main reasons patients inquire about teeth whitening in our Westmont and Villa Park offices. Some are simply looking to further improve their smile after having their braces removed. Whitening your teeth once they’ve been straightened can feel like the cherry on top of a perfect smile sundae! 

Other patients may have noticed some discoloration of their teeth during or after the orthodontic process. Braces do not cause your teeth to be stained. However, plaque that is allowed to sit on the teeth for too long can lead to discoloration or staining. 

When you wear braces, it can be difficult to remove plaque from around the brackets and wire, which may cause it to build up in those areas. If plaque sits on a tooth for too long, it will begin stripping away the tooth enamel. When this occurs, you may find that once your braces are removed, there are darker areas where the brackets were placed with white surrounding them.

Regardless of your reasons for wanting a brighter smile, there are a variety of teeth whitening options! We’ll highlight some of the most popular methods below, including at-home and in-office treatments. Keep in mind that you’re likely to see the best results with professional procedures, as these use more powerful products and can produce the desired effect in less time. 

These treatments will also protect your entire mouth, including the tooth enamel. Over-the-counter products can contain abrasive chemicals that may irritate your mouth when used over an extended length of time. 

Whitening toothpaste

Whitening toothpaste tends to be the least expensive option for brightening up your smile, and is extremely easy to access since you can find different brands in almost any store these days. Your regular toothpaste is designed to help remove some staining while cleaning your teeth and maintaining your oral health. Whitening toothpaste takes this a step further by adding mild abrasives like silica to scrub the surface of the teeth and eliminate deeper stains. 

It can take several weeks of regular use to see results with whitening toothpaste. While these products can’t change the actual color of your teeth, removing any obvious staining will still make them appear lighter! It’s important to note, though, that any results you achieve can be undone if you continue habits that contribute to staining. The same applies if you stop using the toothpaste. To be sure you’re getting a safe and effective product, look for a whitening toothpaste that has a seal of approval from the American Dental Association.

Whitening strips

Whitening strip kits tend to come with two types of strips — one for your upper teeth and another for the lower teeth. These flexible strips are made of plastic polyethylene and have a thin film of hydrogen peroxide on one side. They are worn gel side down on the teeth, usually twice a day for half an hour at a time. The length of time required to see results will depend on how efficient the product you’ve chosen is. While these strips are convenient, they are only able to whiten your front teeth. Professional whitening can whiten all your teeth. 

Tray bleaching

Although teeth whitening trays are available over-the-counter, professional products tend to produce much better results! Our practice is proud to offer patients professional whitening trays at an affordable price. After procuring a custom mold of your mouth, we create a tray that is designed to perfectly fit over your teeth. This process may take anywhere from a few hours to a few days to complete. 

The whitening gel that is used with these trays is only available through a dental or orthodontic practice. Once you’ve received your tray, you’ll put the whitening gel in the custom-fitted tray and fit it over your teeth. Although you may notice some brightening in as little as 3-5 days, most at-home professional tray whitening will take anywhere from ten days to two weeks to yield the best results.

The basics of teeth whitening

Now that you know what options are available to you, let’s explore how teeth become discolored in the first place—and how teeth whitening can correct this! There are two types of discoloration: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic stains are surface stains caused by things like coffee, tea, and nicotine. These can often be removed (at least in part) by brushing daily with a whitening toothpaste. 

Intrinsic stains exist beneath the enamel. They can be the result of extended exposure to a variety of substances, but whatever the case, they’re harder to remove than extrinsic stains. Teeth whitening agents contain an active oxidizing agent in the form of carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. This reacts with the “inside” of the teeth, mixing with the stains and breaking them apart. This gives the teeth a noticeably whiter appearance! 

Some whitening treatments may cause your teeth to be sensitive. This is usually temporary and will go away on its own. If you’re already prone to sensitive teeth, you can try using a desensitizing toothpaste for at least a full month before exposing them to any whitening agents. You should also let our team know in advance so our doctors can change the protocol or frequency of application if necessary. 

Whitening treatments are incapable of changing the color of fillings, veneers, or crowns. Remember that they can’t change the actual color of your teeth, either! Most people experience excellent results, however, especially with professional teeth whitening.

Teeth whitening

Get a whiter, brighter, straighter smile with Chawla Orthodontics

Once your braces have been removed, we recommend scheduling a professional cleaning with your dentist before beginning whitening treatment. This will ensure all outer stains, plaque, and tartar are removed prior to applying any whitening agents. Have you recently completed braces treatment? Would you like to learn how we can give your newly straightened smile a brighter, whiter upgrade? Get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation!