Tips for teeth whitening after braces
Congratulations. If you are reading this article, you’ve reached the finish line of your orthodontic treatment and can say farewell to your braces, revealing the straight smile underneath.
You can enjoy the smooth feeling of your teeth beneath your tongue and take a bite of a nice, crisp apple without worrying about breaking a bracket. But one thing you may not expect is the slight discolouration of your teeth.
If you have been wearing braces for many months or years, you may notice that parts of your teeth are lighter in colour. This is because the brackets that are adhered to your teeth have protected the enamel from exposure to all of the food and drink you have consumed. This results in an uneven appearance that will diminish over time, with your saliva.
But some patients prefer not to wait and choose to undergo professional teeth whitening treatment after their braces are removed to help their newly straight smile become even brighter. This is completely normal. After all, you have dedicated a lot of time, money and effort into straightening your teeth so it’s natural to want them to look as white and clean as possible. However, before you start teeth whitening, it is important that you have a dental check-up and clean with your dentist first.
Now let’s go over some teeth whitening options…
1. Over the counter whitening products
These include whitening strips, whitening toothpastes, and whitening pens. While they are safe and conveniently sold over the counter at most pharmacies and supermarkets, a major disadvantage is that due to the lower chemical concentration, it will take a very long time before you can notice a whitening effect.
2. Home tray bleaching
Home tray bleaching involves using trays that are custom made to fit the unique shape of your teeth. A whitening gel is placed inside the trays which you then put on your teeth to whiten them. If the whitening gel is purchased from your dentist or orthodontist, you will notice a difference within the first two weeks. If the whitening gel is purchased over the counter, it will take a very long time before you can notice any whitening effect.
3. Professional services
While over-the-counter products are available and easily accessible, if you are after the best results for you and your smile, you should seek professional teeth whitening from your dentist or orthodontist. They tend to use more powerful products that will give you whiter teeth in a shorter amount of time. And they know what chemicals are used in each product, so they will ensure the materials are safe for you, protecting your delicate gums and teeth enamel. The whitening procedure can either be home tray bleaching with whitening gel, or in-office bleaching with a high powered whitening machine.
Over the years, people have discovered natural ingredients with teeth whitening properties, such as rubbing your teeth with baking soda, strawberry, or lemon. The Australian Dental Association does not recommend this approach as you do not know what type of irreversible damage you may be causing to your teeth and gums. Always see a dentist or orthodontist for safe and professional teeth whitening services.
Some orthodontists will offer teeth whitening at the end of your treatment period, however, you will need to check with your provider if this is a service they offer and if it is included in your overall contract or payment plan. Orthodontics Australia recommends seeing a qualified dentist for teeth whitening services. It’s not only more effective than at-home treatments, but it is also safer. Dental professionals can spot signs of gum disease or tooth decay so your teeth whitening is completed safely.
Immediately after getting your braces removed, your teeth may feel a little sensitive and weak for a short period of time so Orthodontics Australia recommends waiting at least six months to whiten your teeth after getting your braces removed. This will give your teeth enough time to regain their strength and adjust to life without braces, making the process more comfortable and effective. Remember, saliva will help reduce the intensity of the discolouration over time, so give it a few months to work its magic before deciding to get your teeth whitened at a qualified dentist or orthodontist.
If you have any questions about teeth whitening after braces, your chosen orthodontist will be happy to help. Use our Finder Tool to ensure you are seeing a specialist.