At the offices of Montano & Cardall, one of our primary missions is dispelling various myths out there in the orthodontics world. There are a number of harmful misconceptions that have gotten out over the years, and some of these have become incredibly popular and are even taken as fact by many.
One such myth is that you can’t get your teeth whitened while using braces, Invisalign or some other form of oral device; this simply isn’t true. Whether you’re an adult, teen or younger child with braces, these kinds of processes are always possible (as long as they’re recommended and considered safe by your orthodontist, of course). Let’s look at a few options out there for whitening the teeth even if you have braces in.
The goal of any whitening toothpaste is to help whiten the teeth through basic removal of surface stains, which is done using mild abrasives put in toothpastes. Although these toothpastes don’t technically lighten the shade of the teeth—which can only be done with gel bleaching agents (see below), the removal of surface stains is an important part of keeping your teeth as white as possible.
Most of these whitening toothpastes remove at least 80 percent of surface stains even when permanent braces are in the mouth. There’s no special procedure for doing this, and there should be no issue with your braces.
Bleaching – At Home
If you want to go a bit further than whitening toothpaste, you can consider using whitening gel—either in your clear aligners or retainers, which can also serve as whitening trays. The whitening gel contains a low percentage of the bleaching agent carbamide peroxide, which will whiten your teeth significantly when applied repeatedly to the outer surfaces of your teeth. We recommend keeping the whitening agent in your bleaching trays for at least 30 minutes at a time. Ask Dr. Montano or Dr. Cardall about at-home teeth whitening is a good option for you at your next appointment. You will want to keep the whitening gel from resting on your gums or the neck of the teeth (where your teeth and gums meet), since this can cause sensitivity and recession of the gums.
Bleaching can also be done at home using products you can buy at a drug store—although the whitening effect will take longer to notice using over-the-counter products, due to the fact that the percentage of peroxide in these products is reduced. Be sure to follow all directions properly for these home kits, and report any increased tooth sensitivity to your orthodontist if you have any.
If you have braces on, there are over-the-counter trays which will still allow you to whiten your teeth. One example of such a product we recommend is Opalescence Go. However, in general, whitening your teeth with peroxide gel will be much easier once your braces are removed—since we will be able to use a higher percentage of peroxide gel and will likely be able to achieve a lighter final shade for your teeth.
To learn more about how to whiten the teeth despite the presence of braces, or for more on Invisalign or any of our braces or orthodontic services, speak to the team at the offices of Montano & Cardall today.