What To Expect: Whitening Your Teeth After Braces
So you are finally at the end of your braces treatment and the dentist excitedly announces when you will be able to have them off. While you may be overjoyed at being able to run your tongue over your teeth without encountering not so smooth braces, you may also be thinking about going further with enhancing your smile. Having teeth whitened after braces are something many consider once the hardware is off, or finished with their Invisalign treatment. The anticipation of having a perfectly straight smile, however, can be lessened by the not so bright white appearance one would hope to have. The final result from having braces can be dramatically different than when a patient first starts out, and the desire for a picture-perfect smile is still one step away.
Of those that get teeth whitened after braces, almost 90% of patients will try at least one treatment option to get noticeably whiter teeth. This percentage is a combination of at-home treatments and professional teeth whitening in the office. It can be tempting to go out to the local supermarket and purchase many of the whitening options they have on display. There are numerous options available from strips to trays to toothpaste, and it can feel slightly overwhelming about which in-store product will give you the results you desire.
How Long After Braces Can I Whiten My Teeth?
Many experts recommend that you put the brakes on when it comes to being in a rush to whiten your teeth after getting your braces removed. The typical amount of time you should wait is anywhere from one to three months depending on what your dentist thinks is appropriate. This wait time applies to both at home products and in-office professional whitening. After you have your braces off, your teeth can lose minerals making them weaker than usual. Don’t worry about this, because they will be back to normal in just a short amount of time, but that is why most dentists will say to wait until your teeth are at their best condition. Your dentist will want to make sure that your teeth have replenished the minerals and are harder before giving the green light for any whitening products or treatments.
Can I Use Teeth Whitening After Braces At-Home Treatments
Perhaps one of the most anticipated ideas for those that have their braces off is indulging in all the over the counter products for whitening. The fact that they can now use a tray or whitening strips is merely fantastic. As you know when you have braces on it is not possible to use these and nearly impossible to brush as thoroughly as you may want to or need to. There are mixed reviews about doing at home whitening treatments after braces for a few reasons. The first is at-home products are not designed for lighting specific areas the way professional systems can do. Take for instance having braces on for years. The brackets will cover a portion of your tooth keeping it protected from the environment and the things you eat and drink. This will allow them to be a shade or two lighter than the surrounding portion of the tooth. What ends up happening with at-home strips and trays is you will notice an uneven lightening effect. The portion that was covered with the brackets will remain lighter than the other parts of the tooth. This is considered an unwanted result. Whereas at the dentist, he or she can apply bleach to the areas needed and increase the lightening effect in the areas that are darker giving a more seamless brightening effect.
The second reason why at-home kits aren’t the best method is the amount of time they take to achieve results. You will often have to do several weeks with the trays and strips to get results that are somewhat close to what your dentist offers. While at-home whitening systems are less expensive, the fact that they don’t provide individualization tailored to your teeth, take longer to lift stains and say they are a one size fits all when they don’t make them the less ideal way to get whiter teeth after braces.
Best Ways for Tooth Whitening After Braces
First, ask yourself what type of results would you like? Are you looking for a flawless all over, tailor treatment that ensures each tooth is brightened as white as snow? Professional tooth whitening by your dentist is the best way to achieve a beautiful bright white smile that has even results. Having your teeth whited after braces at your dental office is a much better solution than any other you could choose. Depending on the system your dentist offers, you could achieve up to 8 shades lighter in just a single office visit. Comparatively, at-home treatments can get your teeth 3-4 shades lighter in two weeks to a month.
If after you see your dentist for your follow-up, he clears you for teeth whitening, it is a great idea to consider having the professional treatment done versus at-home. You will be much happier with the results, and pleased to show off your new perfectly aligned smile complimented by its brilliantly white shade. It can be difficult waiting for your teeth whitened after braces, but remember that you should expect a minimum of at least one month. Doing so before then could weaken your teeth further and promote damage from within.
Seek your dentist’s approval for treatment. He will examine your teeth to ensure they are strong enough and don’t have cavities or anything that could interfere with or cause discomfort during a teeth whitening procedure.
After Your Teeth Are Whitened When your Braces Are Off
Ensure that you stay away from habits that can stain your teeth again, such as eating or drinking foods that are highly colored with artificial colors or items like berries and wine that are known to induce discoloration. Caring for your teeth after braces and after a whitening treatment will help keep them looking their best for months after the whitening service. Your dentist will be able to tell you all the necessary care items that will help you to avoid foods and drinks that will stain, as well as encourage you to quit smoking if you are a smoker.