There is nothing quite like the feeling of getting your braces off! It is a day vividly remembered by everyone who goes through treatment. Unfortunately, sometimes the teeth don’t look as white as patients would like them to. Many choose to have their teeth whitened once their orthodontic treatment is over.
What you do during treatment matters if you want to have a sparkling white smile at the end. Practice excellent hygiene by brushing three times daily, flossing or using a water flosser at least once daily, and using mouthwash after brushing. Limit sugary foods, soda, and beverages that can stain your teeth such as tea or coffee. The better you care for your teeth during treatment, the easier it is to whiten later.
You can whiten your teeth within a few months of getting your braces off. It’s smart to wait a few months so that your teeth can replenish lost minerals and any puffiness of the gums can settle down a bit. There are a few different ways to whiten.
-At your general dentist’s office: Your general dentist can apply professional-strength whitening solution to your teeth which is then cured with ultraviolet light until your teeth reach the desired shade. Sometimes, this process can make your teeth feel a little sensitive for a couple of days. You will get the brightest results with this option.
-Take-home whitening products offered by your general dentist: These are another excellent option that you can do on your own time. Typically the dentist will make you a set of whitening trays that look similar to clear retainers, which you then fill with the whitening solution and let sit for a specified amount of time.
-Over the counter products: Products such as Crest Whitestrips are very popular. These are a good option for at-home whitening and you won’t need to see a dentist to purchase them. The results may not be as dramatic as they are with professional options, but if your teeth only have minimal yellowing, they will work well for you. Dr. Peterson recommends starting with this option to see if you can get the shade of white you desire before going to more expensive in-office treatment.
Everyone deserves to have a vibrant smile that they love! If you get your braces off and are less than thrilled with any staining or discoloration, don’t fret. Talk with your orthodontist or dentist to learn more about which whitening option is right for you.