Orthodontics can help patients achieve all types of goals, including cosmetic goals, which is why so many wonder what to do about teeth whitening during orthodontic treatments. The aim of orthodontic treatment is to provide patients with a solution to align teeth and jaws to get functional occlusion.
In other words, a perfect bite reduces disorders that could conduce to teeth wearing, poor dental hygiene, and dental and overall health problems.
However, there is a more noticeable and conspicuous benefit from orthodontics that relates to having aligned teeth and jaws and enhancing the facial proportions and craniofacial structure of patients.
Indeed, there is an indisputable cosmetic benefit from passing through the long but highly rewarding process of wearing orthodontic braces or clear aligners.
More so if a patient decides to make a complementary teeth whitening enhancement during and after treatment with braces or clear aligners.
In this short but quite interesting article, we will describe the options orthodontic patients have to whiten their teeth during and after treatment.
Teeth Whitening During Orthodontic Treatment
An often-asked question we get from our patients is, Can I Get My Teeth Whitened While on Braces? The answer is yes; with certain precautions, you can get your teeth whitened while having braces.
However, we recommend patients wait until they finish their treatment plan to bleach their teeth.
First, it is important that you understand there are two main forms to get a more precise shade and especially how teeth bleaching works.
So we divided this part into two sections Non-professional whitening and Dental Professional Whitening methods:
There are great products in the market that promise to whiten your teeth, but what they really do is help you get a clearer shade, one that is closer to your original teeth’ color before getting stained.
Some of the products you might find in stores include abrasive components that remove surface stains, which means they scrape stains that are on the external face of teeth.
Abrasive whitening options include:
A whitening toothpaste includes components such as silica or pyrophosphate that scrape teeth’ outer layer, making them look lighter and removing external stains.
Some whitening toothpaste might also include peroxides or baking soda as part of its components. However, the main principle is to remove stains through mechanical abrasion.
Whitening toothpaste acts at a surface level, which makes them ineffective in attaining a lasting effect, and due to its abrasive nature, it might damage the enamel protective outer layer of teeth.
Non-abrasive whitening options include:
Strips are a formidable way to get a clearer tooth shade you can use when having lingual braces and clear aligners, but they are not an option for patients wearing traditional metal or ceramic braces on yellow teeth with brackets cemented on the front of teeth.
Whitening strips, as implied, consists of small bands that contain hydrogen or carbamide peroxides, which are chemicals that act at a molecular level. However, strips provide concentrations that are not sufficiently high to penetrate deep into teeth.
Whitening strips can effectively remove lifestyle stains like those that derive from smoking, drinking, or eating stain-prone foods like coffee or artificially colored foods.
So, strips are inadequate for yellow stains and tooth discoloration that occur as an effect of illnesses or medications.
Whitening Gels and Trays
Whitening trays consist of guards patients fill with a bleaching agent in a gel formula that might contain peroxides, and patients wear them at night. Trays are a good option for patients wearing clear aligners.
Regrettably, trays come in a standard size, making them incompatible with braces. They might not fit or be uncomfortable to use for patients with braces.
Whitening Mouthwashes are the less effective mechanism to whiten teeth and remove teeth stains. In addition, mouthwash efficiency decreases by virtue of the little time peroxides stay in the mouth while gargling.
A study concluded that mouthwashes have a lower efficacy rate in whitening teeth after prolonged use compared to bleaching gels. However, whitening mouthwashes are by their presentation and use the most suitable option for braces-wearing patients.
There is a debate on whether patients can get their teeth whitened at a cosmetic dentist’s office during traditional braces treatment. To demystify the idea that professional whitening can’t happen while a patient wears braces, we need to explain something first.
Professional bleaching might happen at the cosmetic dentist’s office or at home. In the first case, depending on the need, the patient attends one to three visits. The professional covers the gums and applies a gel-like varnish with a hydrogen peroxide compound in the teeth and leaves it for the teeth to absorb for approximately forty-five minutes.
The whitening gel has a high peroxide concentration that penetrates the tooth at a molecular level which means teeth get a clearer shade on all its layers. The bleaching agent acts on the tooth, even in the parts cemented with brackets.
Patients might also attend a cosmetic visit, and the specialist might give the patient a gel and custom-made trays they can take home and use at night. The gel composition includes a lower peroxide concentration than that of in-office treatment applications.
Still, the application occurs for a more extended period, making teeth look whiter than at an in-office whitening. Yet, this process works better for patients that finished their treatment because it comprises wearing trays at night, which might interfere with treatment with clear aligners.
Also, you might encounter getting at-home professional whitening hard to get for patients wearing braces as it includes using a set of custom-made trays.
Why Do We Recommend Orthodontic Patients a Professional Whitening?
No matter what option you choose, getting a lighter shade involves using abrasive or penetrating chemicals on teeth, all of which means eroding teeth enamel.
However, a specialist knows the specific formulation a patient requires to get to their original shade with a controlled composition to lessen the possibility of teeth damage.
Also, there is a final consideration. Social media sends a message of white teeth that don’t exist. Indeed, the shades of white in some models are unattainable with any whitening process.
Cosmetic whitening can only reach the original shade a patient had before getting teeth stained. So, doubt of any professional promising a pearly shade of white you can only see in edited social media pictures.
Beautiful Smiles at Estes Orthodontics
Having a beautiful smile starts with an orthodontic evaluation at Estes Orthodontics in Albany. Schedule an appointment by calling (510) 984 – 9590 or filling up an appointment form.
After an evaluation, you will get a quotation on your braces price in Albany. Dr. Laurie Estes will help you start the journey to a beautiful straight smile.