You’ve reached the finish line and you have bid your braces a (somewhat fond) farewell, to unveil the beautifully straight smile beneath. If you’ve had your braces removed, you’ll know that nothing quite beats the feeling of being able to show off your new smile, feeling the smooth surface of your brace-free teeth, and enjoying that first bite of a nice crisp apple (without it being shredded by brackets!).
Sometimes, throughout orthodontic treatment you can experience slight discoloration around the braces where you perhaps haven’t been able to manoeuvre your toothbrush around every angle – we understand that it’s a bit of a tricky job. Naturally, with newly straightened teeth it seems only fitting to want your teeth to be just as white as they are straight, for that glistening ‘Hollywood’ smile. You’ve gone through all the hard work of wearing braces, so what’s the best way to get whiter teeth to finish the job?
There are several different methods on offer to you when considering cosmetic dental treatments like teeth whitening, but as wearing braces can cause a temporary weakness in the teeth, you have to be a little more careful with how you choose to whiten your teeth post-treatment…
How do I whiten my teeth at home?
Whilst there are many teeth whitening treatments available in high street shops and salons, (and many tips online for ‘DIY teeth whitening’, recommending everything from strawberries to charcoal!), it’s important to bear in mind that these whitening treatments can actually weaken your teeth.
The General Dental Council clearly advises that whitening is an ‘act of dentistry’, and therefore needs to be carried out in the right setting – preferably in a dental practice, by a qualified dentist.
It’s really important that a dental professional checks your teeth before you have any whitening treatment performed, to ensure there are no lurking problems that could be exacerbated by whitening; especially if you are considering whitening your teeth at home.
What’s the best way to whiten my teeth?
To find out the best way to whiten your teeth after braces, we went straight to the expert, and asked our Orthodontic Specialist John Scannell for his thoughts:
“After you’ve finished orthodontic treatment, I’d recommend that you allow a 1-3 month break prior to commencing any whitening treatments. The reason for this window is because when you have braces, it can cause your teeth to lose minerals, so the break will allow the teeth to replenish their lost minerals (or otherwise get harder as the fluoride restores). You will also allow time for your brushing to take most of the surface staining off naturally, now that the brackets have been removed, and give your gums some time to settle down (meaning your whitening trays will fit better).
I would always advise to go to professional for any whitening treatments, for many reasons; they will be able assess your individual case for any cracks, leaking fillings or exposed roots, which could cause serious discomfort if exposed to any whitening tools. They can advise you on what a realistic and likely outcome of whitening treatment may be (for example, if your whitening will be effected by a crown or a filling in the front of your mouth which won’t lift with the bleaching agents), and they can also monitor your progress professionally, ensuring you are using appropriate and safe products to help obtain that desired look.”
John Scannell, Specialist Orthodontics, Total Orthodontics Camberley
Teeth whitening can give a fantastic result when performed in a dental clinic, or with a take-home kit issued by your orthodontist – the best advice is to head over to your nearest practice and get their expertise on whitening your smile, to avoid any unnecessary discomfort, risk or disappointment!
For further information on how to complete that perfect smile, get in touch with your local Total Orthodontics branch, who can point you in the right direction. Our team are always happy to discuss the best treatment for your needs, and to provide honest, impartial advice on how best to care for your teeth.
Total Orthodontics is offering new patients free teeth whitening at the end of their straightening treatment at selected practices until 31st December. For further information and terms and conditions visit our teeth whitening section.
Words by Emily Asserati