Being in possession of straight and white teeth is the dream, but is this something you should pursue at the same time? More importantly, is it safe to? For those with invisible or removable braces, teeth whitening can be more of a simple procedure and may have better results than those with traditional braces.
Whichever camp you fall into, it is importnat to consider how safe the product is for your teeth and whether or not this may interfere with the quality of your orthodontic treatment. Read on to see which teeth whitening solution is best for your unique type of braces.
For traditional braces
Whitening teeth with traditional metal braces is possible, but your options are somewhat slimmer than with invisible or removable braces. Since traditional metal braces are fixed in brackets to the front of your teeth, drugstore whitening strips and trays cannot be applied in the same way (and will only leave you with bizarre results if you try!).
Don't dismay, however! You will always have the option of waiting until after your treatment to have a proper teeth whitening procedure and this is probably the most sensible solution. Staining and discoloration may occur around the brackets during your treatment, so it's best to wait and see what shade your teeth are left in once your braces have been removed.
In the meantime, the best course of action is to help prevent the exposed parts of your teeth from staining further and hold on to your current shade. You can keep your teeth looking as bright as possible during your treatment by eating more citrus fruits and crunchy veg and by rinsing with a mild mouthwash containing whitening properties.
Most mouthwash products contain a safe 1.5 to 3% of hydrogen peroxide compared with the 10 to 35% percent found in at-home whitening products. Using a mild mouthwash with braces will not only help contribute to a whiter smile, it can also relieve soreness around the gums and inside the cheeks where the brackets can rub.
For invisible braces
Invisible braces refer to the metal brackets that are placed behind your teeth and clear, aligning trays such as Invisalign which can be removed and, in some cases, only worn at night. Since both options leave your front teeth visible, you don't have to worry about creating uneven shades and discolouration, making most whitening treatments appropriate for invisible braces.
For invisible back teeth braces, whitening toothpastes and professional bleaching in the dentist's chair are your two main whitening options. At-home bleaching kits that use whitening gel and mouth trays are inappropriate, as they cannot mould to the shape of your brackets. As for wearers of Invisalign style braces that can be removed, both professional and over-the-counter whitening treatments can be used in much the same way as for teeth without braces.
It's importnat to note that during orthodontic treatment, your teeth can become extra sensitive as your teeth are constantly moving, which can often cause discomfort. Add the strength of hydrogen peroxide into the mix and this can increase sensitivity, cause gum irritation and -- if used for long periods -- can even weaken tooth enamel.
When considering teeth whitening treatment during your braces, it is crucial that you consult your dentist about the unique health of your teeth and whether it's best to whiten or wait. In most cases, it may not be worth risking months and sometimes years of orthodontic work by putting your teeth through too much at one time.
If you're determined to commit to a whitening routine whilst keeping your braces clean, however, be sure to consult a local dental clinic first. Whatever they advise, a beautifully straight smile is on the horizon for you -- all you need is a little patience for the full works!