Whitening Teeth After Braces (2024)

The day a patient’s braces are removed is cause for celebration. However, many patients are excited to move to the next step – making sure their teeth are sparkling white once the braces come off. There are steps you can take when it comes to whitening teeth after braces and have a beautiful smile.

Yellow teeth after wearing braces are common, especially among patients that had less than stellar oral hygiene while wearing the braces. In other cases, patients may have natural intrinsic color variation that makes the color of their teeth uneven or off-white.

Although Burke & Redford Orthodontists reviews proper brushing and flossing procedures for our patients wearing braces, we know that these procedures aren’t always followed to the letter. Many patients find it challenging to properly clean their teeth while wearing braces.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to minimize teeth discoloration for our patients with braces. We’ll also look at when and how to whiten teeth after braces come off.

Whitening Teeth After Braces (1)

Why Braces Often Lead To Yellow Teeth

Wearing braces presents special challenges for proper brushing and flossing. It definitely takes more dedication and time, and many teens (and adults) rush through the process. As a result, teeth may become discolored.

Teeth become yellow (or get white spots) because of plaque and tartar accumulation. Plaque is a soft, sticky film composed of leftover food particles and the byproducts of bacteria in the mouth. When patients don’t brush adequately, it can build-up on teeth—contributing to tooth decay and gum disease.

When sugars and plaque combine, the process creates acids that can remove minerals from the teeth. This changes the way that teeth reflect light—sometimes producing white spots.

If plaque is not removed quickly, it starts to harden and becomes tartar. Tartar is a crusty deposit that causes yellow stains on teeth. Once tartar accumulates, it becomes more difficult to remove plaque—thereby causing more tartar. Only dental professionals can remove tartar.

The best method for preventing plaque and tartar is to brush and floss three times a day. For patients with braces, this may require using special flossing tools to remove plaque and food build-up between teeth and brackets.

Brushing and Flossing While Wearing Braces

Properly brushing and flossing while wearing braces will help to reduce the formation of plaque and tartar—thereby minimizing yellow teeth and the formation of white spots. Here is a brief refresher to follow these teeth whitening after braces steps listed below.

Whitening Teeth After Braces (2)

Use the Right Tools. An electric toothbrush can help ensure proper brushing because the toothbrush automatically goes in two directions and keeps track of how long the patient has been brushing. Investing in a water flosser is also helpful as it can flush plaque and other debris away from orthodontic devices. Floss is critical to cleaning between the contacts between the teeth. Using a proxabrush (interdental toothbrush) to get underneath wires and around brackets is also important for patients with braces. Finally, use fluoride toothpaste—not a whitening toothpaste. Trying to whiten teeth while wearing braces will result in uneven coverage.
Brush Thoroughly At Least Three Times A Day. For best results, patients should brush after every meal. The key is to cover each area of the mouth—above the braces, the brackets themselves, below the braces, the biting surfaces, and the backs of the teeth and most importantly – along the gum line. Although this process may take 3 to 5 minutes, it will ensure the job is done properly. Rinsing with water before brushing also helps to remove food particles.
Rinse With Mouthwash After Brushing. For patients with braces, rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash is recommended. Not only does this help wash away food particles, but it can also help with minor irritations caused by braces.
Floss Thoroughly. Flossing removes build-up between teeth that may not be removed by brushing. While water flossers are helpful at clearing away debris, they do not clean the contacts between teeth as well as traditional floss, so both are advised. A proxabrush should be used to access hard-to-reach areas.

Avoid Foods That Stain Teeth

Certain foods are more apt to stain teeth than others. Avoiding or limiting these foods can go a long way to create a healthier mouth environment and minimizing yellow teeth.

• Tea, coffee, soda, wine, and dark juices can stain teeth and erode teeth enamel, which can lead to discoloration.
• Starchy, sugary, or acidic foods (e.g., pickles, cranberries, tomato sauce) promote bacteria breakdown, which can demineralize teeth. Enjoy these foods in moderation. Of course, patients with braces must also avoid sticky and chewy food (such as licorice, caramel, taffy, and marshmallow) that can get stuck in brackets and wires.

The best foods for teeth include fresh fruit, veggies (especially leafy greens), yogurt, and cheese. Although carrots and apples are great for teeth, patients with braces must be careful when eating hard foods that can break brackets.

Whitening Teeth After Braces (3)

Whitening Teeth After Braces

Despite a patient’s best efforts, their teeth may still be yellow after braces are removed. The good news is that teeth whitening can help solve the problem. However, patients should wait a few months before attempting to whiten their teeth.

There are several reasons why patients with braces should wait before whitening their teeth. First, the environment in the mouth (interaction between good and bad bacteria) changes after braces are removed. Waiting a few months gives the teeth and mouth time to adjust and equilibrate. Second, many patients find that their saliva and normal oral care will remove much of the discoloration on its own.

However, if patients are still unhappy with the color of their teeth after the braces have been off for a few months, the best option is to undergo teeth whitening by a dental professional. Treatment in a dental office uses a professional-grade solution and (in some cases) ultra-violet light to whiten teeth to the desired shade. Treatment can take anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes when done in office, or over several weeks when done at home.

Patients who opt for at-home treatments can choose from a wide array of whitening toothpastes, strips, or gels. Results may vary depending on the patient and the level of staining. However, whitening with custom made trays from a dental professional in conjunction with whitening gels is generally most effective.

With a little patience, good oral hygiene practices, and the use of teeth whitening procedures, our patients with braces will soon have sparkling white teeth to go with their beautiful new smiles.

Burke & Redford Orthodontists has been treating children and teens for over 30 years in Riverside County, California. Schedule a Free Consultation with our doctors by calling (951) 699-8011 during business hours or through our website anytime.

Whitening Teeth After Braces (4)

Whitening Teeth After Braces (2024)


Can you get teeth whitened after braces? ›

Once you have your braces off and you're keen to have your teeth whitened, we recommend you make an appointment with your dentist to discuss your options. Remember to wait at least four weeks after your braces are off before you have any teeth whitening treatment as it takes a month for the gums to settle down.

Why are my teeth so yellow after braces? ›

Yellow teeth after wearing braces are common, especially among patients that had less than stellar oral hygiene while wearing the braces. In other cases, patients may have natural intrinsic color variation that makes the color of their teeth uneven or off-white.

Can you fix discolored teeth after braces? ›

At the dentist

If there is still some discoloration, there are additional tools or methods your dentist can use. The first kind is resin treatment where the dentist uses a special type of resin to remove the white spots. The resin is injected below the enamel and over the white spot.

How much does teeth whitening cost after braces? ›

The most common type of professional teeth whitening is in-office bleaching, which usually costs between $500 and $1,000 per session with a national average of $650 per visit. Laser tooth whitening is another popular option that typically costs an average of $750 per session, varying between $500 and $1,000.

Why can't you whiten your teeth with braces? ›

Not only are whitening products ineffective when it comes to brightening under your brackets but any use during orthodontic treatment can result in an uneven overall color. After the orthodontist removes your braces you're likely to see noticeably darker marks where the brackets were, even if you don't have stains.

Do orthodontists clean teeth after braces? ›

Following the removal of your braces, your teeth will need a thorough cleaning. That's because braces tend to trap plaque and food in your teeth. Your orthodontist will also polish your teeth with a hard grinder, removing any residue of the adhesive used to fix your brackets to your teeth.

Are braces stains permanent? ›

As a result, the tooth surface can stain and develop white, brown or yellow spots. Although sometimes not apparent to the naked eye, stains can often be detected via a dental x-ray or by thoroughly inspecting the teeth using a dental light. If left untreated, braces stain can cause permanent discoloration of the teeth.

How to remove yellow stains after braces? ›

The braces stains are not permanent. There are treatments like teeth whitening, dental veneers, microabrasion, which whitens the yellow teeth after braces.

Do teeth become weak after braces? ›

' No, braces do not weaken your teeth.

Moreover, the gums might feel uncomfortable or sensitive to pressure when you first get your braces or during adjustment sessions. This discomfort subsides quickly as the mouth adapts to the new pressure. Therefore, any side effects of braces are manageable and temporary.

How can I restore my enamel after braces? ›

Ideally, you may use an American Dental Association (ADA) approved toothpaste that has fluoride and nanohydroxyapatite, which are active ingredients that last up to 3 to 6 months. These ingredients will effectively strengthen and repair your enamel, thus blending the white spots.

What if my teeth look bad after braces? ›

If you've just gotten your braces removed and you notice staining or white spots on your teeth, do not be too worried. Such discoloration is very common. It's still possible in most cases to improve the appearance.

Do orthodontists file your teeth after braces? ›

Tooth Filing Is Recommended After Braces

It is a procedure that takes less than one hour to complete depending on the amount of reshaping your teeth needs. While the procedure may be required after finishing wearing braces, sometimes, an orthodontist may not perform it depending on how your teeth's edges look.

Does insurance cover teeth whitening after braces? ›

Teeth whitening is a cosmetic treatment for appearance—not function—so your insurance company will not offer benefits for it. Still bleaching will enhance your straightened teeth after braces and show off your smile. So you might want to pay for it anyway.

Is it OK to whiten teeth after braces? ›

Once your dentist removes your braces, it is very common for your teeth will feel a bit sensitive and weak. For this very reason, it is a good idea to wait at least six months before attempting to whiten your teeth.

Should I whiten my teeth or get braces first? ›

Getting Teeth Whitened

Even if you wear tooth-colored ceramic braces or lingual braces hidden behind the teeth, it is better to wait. Your teeth will be going through some changes, so you don't want to make too many alterations at once.

Do orthodontists whiten teeth after Invisalign? ›

If you'd like a brighter, whiter smile, you may be wondering if you can get your teeth whitened after you've completed Invisalign treatment. The answer is “absolutely!” In fact, the best time to go get a teeth whitening treatment is after you're done with Invisalign.

How do you whiten stained braces? ›

Get alcohol free mouthwash and gargle with it 3 times a day, making sure to keep it in your mouth for at least 2 minutes at a time. This should be able to break up most stains, but not all of them. If you are serious about removing them, use a bit of sodium bicarbonate and apply it to a toothbrush.

Why do my teeth look big after braces? ›

Teeth can seem more symmetrical and aesthetically beautiful when they are correctly spaced and aligned. Your teeth may appear larger as a result of this improved aesthetic quality because they are more noticeable and catch people's attention.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Kieth Sipes

Last Updated:

Views: 5737

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (47 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Kieth Sipes

Birthday: 2001-04-14

Address: Suite 492 62479 Champlin Loop, South Catrice, MS 57271

Phone: +9663362133320

Job: District Sales Analyst

Hobby: Digital arts, Dance, Ghost hunting, Worldbuilding, Kayaking, Table tennis, 3D printing

Introduction: My name is Kieth Sipes, I am a zany, rich, courageous, powerful, faithful, jolly, excited person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.