Why you Need both Orthodontic Treatment and Teeth Whitening

If you are considering an orthodontic treatment or have been wearing braces, chances are that it is most likely in exchange for a beautiful, straighter smile. The benefits of having an orthodontic procedure go beyond the aesthetic look as you are left with better oral health, a decreased risk from periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, and even better speech.

Although you will have aligned teeth and straighter teeth by the end of your orthodontic procedure, they may not be as white as you would like. Regardless of whether you opt for traditional braces or aligners, stained teeth can occur no matter how well you’ve taken care of them. This is completely natural and not something to worry about but it could leave you feeling as though you can’t show off your smile.

At the Art of Dentistry, a number of our patients have experienced the natural process of discolouring teeth both during and after the completion of an orthodontic treatment. We recommend teeth whitening treatments to all of our patients who have braces to brighten their new and beautiful smile.

Why do Teeth Stain with Braces?

Orthodontic treatments are a great way to rectify overcrowding, a bad bite, realignment of your teeth and improve the quality of your oral health, to boost your confidence and give you that beautiful smile you have always wanted. Traditional braces and Invisalign aligners both offer the same result in straightening your teeth through different methods; however, both procedures can leave yellow stains. Stains not only occur from food that is stuck in teeth but also certain types such as mustard and tomatoes or beverages such as coffee, tea and red wine.

Wearing traditional braces can make it challenging to properly clean your teeth in between the wires and metal bracket fixtures. This will cause buildup of plaque around your teeth, behind the braces wire and around the brackets. Although plaque buildup is completely normal when eating or drinking, it could eventually lead to thickened calculus or tartar which causes yellow stains on the teeth.

The same issue can occur in those who get Invisalign, or clear aligners. Although this type of orthodontic treatment makes it easy for you to clean your teeth, there is a potential that your choice of food and beverage can stain or get stuck in your teeth. When food isn’t properly cleaned from your gums or teeth, it can end up sticking to your aligner to cause further buildup of plaque. Without brushing or flossing your teeth correctly, you could be setting yourself up from dirty tooth enamel and stains.

orthodontic treatment

Tooth Whitening Treatments with Braces

Many of our patients ask whether it is safe to whiten their teeth during the orthodontic treatment or whether it is best to wait until the end. The truth is, the type of braces you have will determine whether you can whiten your teeth with braces or should wait.

Traditional Braces

For those with traditional braces, visible discolouration is usually present when you have not been able to properly care for your teeth through brushing and flossing. We know that brushing around each bracket and wire can be quite a task but this is perhaps the most effective way to avoid staining your teeth.

We recommend that you use an electric toothbrush with a toothpaste that contains whitening agents and an interdental brush to keep your teeth clean. It is suggested that you wait until you have completed your orthodontic treatment before going ahead with professional teeth whitening to penetrate your enamel deeply.

Invisalign or Clear Aligners

The orthodontic clear aligners, such as Invisalign, are removable which means they can be taken out for eating, drinking and cleaning purposes. Even though we recommend that you wear your aligner for a minimum 22 hours of the day, you can always use whitening strips to brighten your teeth during the time that they are removed.

Should you choose to apply a professional whitening gel inside the aligner, we encourage you to talk to us first before taking such measures for further guidance and suggestions. This is due to the fact that the aligners fit quite snug against your teeth which increases the risk of chemical burns or bleached gum tissue from gel spillover.

Much like traditional braces, it is best to complete your series of orthodontic treatment before going ahead with any type of professional teeth whitening to minimize risk to your gums.

Lingual Braces

This type of hidden orthodontic treatment works the same as traditional braces in the sense that they are made with a combination of metal wires and brackets. The difference with lingual braces is that they are applied to the back of your teeth rather than the front for realignment. It can be easy for food debris to get stuck in your teeth with this type of orthodontic treatment and be difficult to remove on your own which causes plaque buildup and staining.

Similarly, to traditional braces, you will not be able to use teeth whitening trays as they will not fit over the brace. Instead, you can always visit our clinic for a professional whitening treatment, use a whitening toothpaste or carefully apply whitening strips to the front of your teeth. Once again, we would prefer if you spoke to us before going ahead with any type of at-home teeth whitening treatment while you have lingual braces to prevent any risk to your gums.

lingual braces

The Bottom Line

Many of our patients who undergo orthodontic treatments have experienced stains on their teeth once their braces or aligners have been removed. The best way to avoid stains on your teeth caused by braces would be to thoroughly carry out an oral hygiene routine using an electric toothbrush and floss. You could also go ahead to research the type of food and drink that you may want to avoid to keep your teeth bright while having an orthodontic procedure.

We understand that staining can occur even with great oral care, but that doesn’t mean that you should feel shy about showing off your new teeth once the braces or aligners have been removed. Tooth whitening procedures are extremely common for patients who have had orthodontic treatments and work well to deeply penetrate the enamel for complete brightness. Regardless of the orthodontic treatment you choose to use for teeth realignment, we recommend that you wait until the completion of your procedure before going ahead with professional teeth whitening to minimize risk to your gums. If you find that you can’t, then you should consider using a toothpaste with whitening components in the meantime.

Are you thinking about having a tooth whitening procedure after your orthodontic treatment? Book a consultation with the Art of Dentistry to discuss whitening your options!