Yellow or stained teeth is a problem that many people experience. Many teeth whiteners are available in the market, even for people who wear braces. Some people worry that most whitening methods won't lighten all areas of their teeth. However, this will not happen with some bleaching agents. Dentists recommend 3 main methods of whitening teeth for people who wear braces: whitening toothpaste, home whitening kits, and professional teeth whitening.
Method 1 of 3: Using Whitening Toothpaste
Step 1. Try using a whitening toothpaste
Look for toothpaste with a brand that is approved by the Indonesian Dental Association as it will contain fluoride; minerals that are important for dental health.
- Whitening toothpaste contains special abrasives such as baking soda and peroxide to remove stains on the surface of your teeth.
- However, these products will only remove surface stains and not change the overall color of the enamel.
- Whitening toothpaste will not cause any problems for people who wear braces. The abrasives present in the toothpaste will not cause damage to the glue and wire.
Step 2. Brush your teeth carefully
Start by putting a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on your toothbrush. You don't need a lot of toothpaste to clean your teeth!
- Dentists recommend a toothbrush with a rounded tip and soft bristles.
- Electric or sonic toothbrushes are preferred because they clean teeth more thoroughly. However, you may still need an interdental toothbrush to clean the area around the braces.
- Place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle from the gums.
- Brush your teeth gently.
- Be sure to brush the front, back and surfaces of all teeth.
- Toothbrushing should be done for at least 2-3 minutes.
- If there are areas on your braces that are difficult to clean, you can use a conical (interdental) toothbrush. These toothbrushes are available at most orthodontists and dentists. These toothbrushes are small and designed to fit under the braces.
- Braces are clean if they shine and all parts of the brackets (the part that sticks to the braces) are visible.
- Brush your teeth this way after eating.
Step 3. Floss once a day
This can be difficult to do if you wear braces.
- Thread the floss under the braces. Then clean the teeth as usual and make sure to clean the gaps.
- While it may take some time to get used to it, you should keep doing this step.
- Cleaning teeth with dental floss is important for whitening teeth. Food and other debris in the gaps in the teeth can cause loss, discoloration, gingivitis or other gum disease.
- If you have trouble getting the floss under your braces, you can use a floss threader. These devices are very inexpensive and available at most pharmacies.
Step 4. Gargle after eating
The mouth will become acidic for a while and soften the tooth enamel. Tooth enamel can be damaged if you brush your teeth immediately after eating. Wait at least 30 minutes after eating to brush your teeth. While waiting, rinse your mouth with water to prevent stains. Toothpaste can remove stains but cannot prevent them.
- Coffee, tea, wine, and blueberries can stain teeth.
- Smoking can also make teeth yellow.
- Instead of avoiding healthy foods that might stain, you should rinse your mouth after eating.
- Floss regularly to remove food particles between your teeth and under your braces.
Method 2 of 3: Using Teeth Whitening Products at Home
Step 1. Try using a whitening tray at home
This tool is usually prepared specifically by the dentist. The whitening tray is the only home teeth whitening device approved by the American Dental Association (ADA).
- The dentist will make a special whitening tray that fits your teeth and braces.
- You will be pouring a 10% carbamide peroxide solution inside the appliance.
- Some dental care products recommend whitening trays to be used twice a day. But there are also those who recommend using it overnight every 1-2 weeks.
- The average cost for this treatment is 4 million rupiah. This treatment is very effective and less expensive than professional teeth whitening. This treatment is also done at home and will not cause any sensitivity problems or other side effects.
- Insert the whitening tray containing the whitening liquid into the teeth and let it sit.
- This treatment will be very easy if you have Invisalign wire. Lift your Invisalign wire when using the whitening tray.
Step 2. Try a teeth whitening gel
This product can be purchased at most pharmacies without a prescription. Unlike other effective teeth whitening products, this gel does not have the ADA approval label.
- This product requires you to apply a whitening gel on your teeth which will harden within 30 minutes.
- To clean it, you just have to brush your teeth.
- Whitening gel can be difficult to apply around braces.
- This gel contains hydrogen peroxide in a lower concentration than gels available at the doctor or dental clinic.
- Teeth whitening gels are not as effective as whitening trays. The results may be different for each person.
Step 3. Understand that home teeth whitening treatment products may have minor side effects
Side effects in question can include gum irritation and increased tooth sensitivity.
- The bleaching agent in teeth whitening kits is a chemical that can injure the soft tissues of the mouth. If the concentration of carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide is below 15%, side effects will be reduced. If you use a whitening tray, irritation usually only occurs if the tray doesn't fit your teeth or is filled with too much whitening liquid.
- This treatment may cause sores or swelling of the gums.
- Another side effect of teeth whitening products is increased tooth sensitivity. If you use a teeth whitening product with a concentration of carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide below 10%, do not continue using the product.
- Increased tooth sensitivity can be bothersome to people who wear braces, especially when braces are tightened.
- Do not use these products for several days before and after braces are tightened.
- If you are struggling with side effects, contact your dentist or orthodontist for a solution. They may be able to give you a new whitening tray or a way to keep whitening products off your gums.
Method 3 of 3: Doing Teeth Whitening at the Dental Clinic
Step 1. Consider a professional teeth whitening treatment
This method is the fastest and most effective treatment for whitening teeth.
- During this treatment, the dentist will apply a protective gel on the gums and an oral shield in the mouth to protect the gums and cheeks.
- The dentist will then apply a whitening agent around the braces. This bleaching agent is usually made from strong hydrogen peroxide in different concentrations.
- Most professional teeth whiteners will use a special light to activate the whitening liquid. However, there are also treatments that use a special whitening tray.
Step 2. Be prepared to spend at least 1-1, 5 hours each time doing the treatment
In most cases, the bleach should be left under a special light for at least an hour.
- This treatment will sometimes cause discomfort in the short term.
- Whitening gels can irritate your gums and make your teeth more sensitive.
- For optimal results, you may need more than 1 treatment. This depends on your eating habits and the desired color of your teeth.
- Dental care products can be expensive and dental insurance doesn't always cover them.
Step 3. Understand that this method may darken the teeth around the braces (compared to other areas)
Since this treatment is only done once or twice, the bleach may not be absorbed into the tooth enamel under the braces bracket.
- For optimal results, do this treatment after your braces are removed.
- However, this method is ideal if the bracket is at the back of the tooth because the whitening gel is only applied to the front of the tooth.
- This method is a good option if your teeth have darkened after wearing braces.
Step 4. Understand the drawbacks of this procedure
Since this treatment may not whiten the area of the tooth under the bracket, you should try other alternatives first. Professional teeth whitening can be very expensive.
- The average cost for a professional teeth whitening procedure is 6.5 million Rupiah.
- Compared to other teeth whitening products that can be used at home, this procedure costs more.
- You have to do this treatment at the dentist's clinic. Not all dentists offer this service.
- The whitening gel has a very bad taste and the cheek guards can be uncomfortable because you have to keep your mouth open for about an hour.
- This procedure may require more than one session. The best results will come from changing the whitening gel every 40 minutes and repeating the session.