The Tooth of the Matter: A Dental Blog
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The Tooth of the Matter: A Dental Blog

You only have one set of adult teeth, and they need to last until you are 80, 90, or beyond. The actions you take towards your teeth today will either benefit you or harm you in the future. Of course, good dental care starts with seeing a dentist regularly. You should go in for cleanings and checkups, and any other time you think something might be amiss with your teeth. Education is important when it comes to any aspect of your health, so start reading the articles on this website to educate yourself about dentists and dental care. We promise that when you're 80 and you still have your teeth, you won't regret the time spent.


The Tooth of the Matter: A Dental Blog

Teeth Whitening With Braces: Can It Be Done?

Sofia Curtis

You might have wondered—is it possible to whiten your teeth during orthodontic treatment? This is a valid question. You're going to all that trouble to straighten your teeth, and so wouldn't it be nice for your teeth to be beautifully white when your braces are removed?

Direct Contact

At-home teeth whitening kits rely on the whitening gel being in direct contact with your teeth, courtesy of the applicator trays that fit over your upper and lower dental arches. The presence of your braces prevents this direct contact—since a large section of dental enamel on each tooth is covered by your braces. The whitening gel simply can't reach the patches of dental enamel beneath the bracket bonded to each tooth.  

Applicator Trays

The applicator trays provided with at-home kits are also an issue. These trays are unable to accommodate both your teeth and the braces attached to your teeth. If you attempt to force the applicator trays onto your dental arches, you risk warping the braces' central archwire, or even pulling individual brackets from teeth. So while at-home whitening kits aren't compatible with your braces, can't you just have your dentist whiten your teeth?

Visible Sections

Theoretically, a dentist can whiten teeth with braces. However, they might be unwilling to do so. A dentist could apply activated whitening gel to the visible sections of your dental enamel, avoiding your braces' brackets. The gel can then be activated with a curing light for immediate results. It's not all that complicated. So why would a dentist be unwilling to whiten teeth with braces?

Patches of Discoloration

Even though your dentist can whiten your teeth with far more precision than any at-home kit, they might advise you that the results can be underwhelming. The visible sections of your teeth will be whitened, but this effect will disappear the instant your braces are removed. There will be small, rectangular patches of discoloration on each tooth—which is where the brackets were bonded, preventing the whitening agent from making contact. 

Overlapping and Rotated Teeth

In addition to these extremely obvious patches of discoloration once your braces are removed, your results can be uneven in other ways. Your misaligned teeth might be overlapping each other, or even a little rotated in their sockets. This misalignment makes it very difficult to evenly whiten teeth, as the final position of your teeth has not yet been reached. A dentist can be hesitant to whiten teeth during orthodontic treatment because the procedure will be needed again once the patient's braces have been removed.

Instead of whitening your teeth with a kit, do everything you can to keep your teeth free of stains. Use a whitening toothpaste, and be sure to see your dentist regularly (with professional dental cleaning being very effective at removing surface stains). Once your orthodontic treatment has finished, you can go ahead and have your teeth whitened. 

For more information, contact a local office like Watersedge Family Dental.