Having braces is a big responsibility. However, none of us are perfect which means that things can get away from us. One of those things is the care of our teeth while we have braces, especially younger patients. This results in teeth being slightly yellowed once the braces are removed which can happen even with some of the most diligent patients. Whitening can’t effectively occur while braces are fixed to the teeth so, the process must be executed after the braces are removed (this process is even encouraged). If you’ve found yourself in this position or one of your children is needing whitening options after braces, here is some information that is sure to help you.

What to Watch Out For

Be careful choosing – Wearing braces weakens your teeth. This means it’s important to be careful in choosing the whitening treatment for your teeth. You don’t want to further damage or weaken your teeth at this point.

Timing – Most dental professionals will tell you to wait at least 1-3 months after getting your braces off to do any whitening treatment. Of course, whether you choose one, two, or three months is up to you. However, if your teeth are prone to being sensitive, go with a longer period of time.

Always check with a professional – Since braces alter your teeth in a way that the average person doesn’t quite understand, it’s always important to ask a professional first. They can check the status of your teeth and oral health, in general, and give you the best suggestions based on your specific circumstances.

The Most Common Whitening Technique

The more common method for braces involves clear retainers for patients to wear after the actual braces have been removed. This is to help ensure teeth stay in place once the braces are removed since aging, normal wear, and tear, etc. can alter teeth as time goes on. As mentioned, teeth whitening treatments are encouraged for patients who have undergone the treatment of braces. This is because slight yellowing or staining can occur on the teeth even with the most diligent of patients. The last thing any patient wants is to go through all that effort with braces just to end up with discolored teeth.

An orthodontist will not suggest this whitening treatment right after the braces are removed. Many will suggest 1-3 months (sometimes as much as 6 months) depending on the patient’s specific circumstances. Most practices include a special whitening gel to place in the clear retainer trays that acts as the whitening treatment. It’s usually no extra cost and is already built into the treatment cost for braces. This gel is specialized for weaker teeth that have been affected by braces and is specifically suited to take care of the specific staining that might occur.

Whitening treatment options will vary from office to office. It’s important that you talk to your specific orthodontist or dentist about this specific topic if it wasn’t already covered when your braces were removed or at a follow-up appointment.