Can I Whiten My Teeth While Wearing Braces?


La Grange and Oak Park, IL – When asked what they’d most like to change about their smiles, research revealed that approximately 90% of people said they wanted whiter teeth. Because straightening teeth with braces treatment can take on average 16 months, it’s no surprise that many patients ask about teeth whitening at the beginning of treatment. While you may want to start whitening your teeth now, there are some factors you should consider first.

Stains and Discoloration: If you are wearing traditional clear or metal braces with brackets, we recommend that you wait until your treatment plan has been completed before having your teeth whitened.

Because the brackets are glued directly onto the teeth, whitening them with the brackets still in place can result in dark spots and irregular coloring when the braces are taken off. If you are using Invisalign braces, it’s also recommended that you wait until after treatment has been completed to opt for teeth whitening. Even though these aligners are removable, whitening products can cause damage to tooth attachments. Also, overusing a whitening gel can actually cause damage to the tooth.

Sensitivity: Another consideration is that some products used in teeth whitening can cause sensitivity in the patient’s teeth. After whitening, you may begin experiencing pain when consuming hot and cold beverages or sweet foods or when brushing your teeth. This can happen for a variety of reasons including the strength of the whitening agent, the duration of the bleaching process and the fact that some of the agents are peroxide-based and can bleach through the enamel, exposing the nerves.

Even though each patient’s case is different, it’s typically best to wait until completing orthodontic treatment to start a teeth-whitening procedure. By doing so, you’ll enjoy longer-lasting results and eliminate the need to worry about the whitening treatment being interrupted or negatively affected by all the brackets and wires associated with braces.

Whitening Before Getting Braces

So, if whitening your teeth while you are wearing braces isn’t a viable option, should teeth be whitened prior to getting braces? Not really. Before getting braces, some of your teeth are probably overlapping and the whitening agent used won’t be able to reach those areas.

So, after the overlapped teeth are straightened, the overlapped areas may still be discolored. That’s why it’s usually best to wait until after your braces are removed to have your teeth whitened.

The bottom line is that when it comes to whitening your teeth during orthodontic treatment, it’s preferable to wait until after you’ve completed the process and are enjoying your new beautiful smile.

Once your braces are removed, we’ll put together a teeth-whitening plan that best suits your teeth and your goals.

Call us today to schedule your complimentary consultation, then check out our Smile Gallery and get the answers to our most frequently asked questions. We look forward to seeing you soon.

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