A Beautiful Smile With Teeth Whitening And Braces

McDonald Orthodontics in Keizer and Salem, OR

What makes a smile beautiful? Surely you have seen people with stunning smiles. People with white-pearl, straight teeth appear on massive billboards and in social media photos and magazines.

It is no surprise to see businesspeople and executives with perfect teeth; lately, you can also see movie star smiles on your grocery shopping trip. 

Also, orthodontists, general dentists, and patients recognize clear-cut dental esthetic inconsistencies at varying levels of deviation (misaligned teeth), which means we can distinguish a beautiful from a not-that-beautiful smile with a certain grade of accuracy.

At large, the possibility of getting a healthy and beautiful straight smile is attainable for patients of all ages. Firstly, you can benefit from healthy aligned teeth using orthodontic braces and getting clear natural teeth on the go or after finishing your orthodontic treatment.

Though from a purely health-related point of view, a beautiful and aligned smile helps patients achieve a better quality of life with improved oral hygiene (prevention of tooth decay and periodontal disease), better digestion, management of obstructive sleep apnea, craniocervical pain alleviation, including solutions to speech problems.

Having an esthetic whiter smile while alleviating or preventing illnesses or conditions makes orthodontic treatment worth time and effort. Therefore, this article discusses the benefits of orthodontic treatment and tooth whitening methods from a cosmetic perspective.

Why Does My Teeth Stain During Braces?

The occurrence of teeth discoloration or stains while wearing braces is a recurrent question we get from patients visiting our office.

First, to understand orthodontic treatment with braces and teeth whitening, we need to introduce you to the importance of oral hygiene. In truth, having good oral hygiene is a priority, N° 1, during orthodontic treatment with braces.

This is so because residues, especially from sugary and starchy foods, can get trapped between wires and brackets after an orthodontist installs your braces. As bacteria feed from food debris, it produces dental plaque, a layer of acidic yellowish residues that stick to teeth. Dental plaque causes tooth stains or discoloration due to enamel erosion, leaving white spots on teeth.

Consequently, the No 1 form to get your teeth whiter or clearer is to have a comprehensive oral hygiene routine. We recommend patients brush with fluoride toothpaste and floss with interdental flossers or floss threaders, add a water flosser and a mouthwash, and regularly visit a dentist.

Secondly, there are some foods you should avoid to reduce the likelihood of stains on your teeth. Here we include a non-extensive list of foods that stain your teeth: 

  • Tea and coffee;
  • Red wine;
  • Sodas (especially dark-colored sodas)
  • Soy sauce;
  • Fruit juices (cranberry, blueberry, and grape);
  • Curry;
  • Balsamic vinegar;
  • Berries.

What To Use to Whiten Teeth During Braces?

We have great news for you. Those days when your dentist used to say you can’t whiten your teeth during treatment with traditional metal braces are a thing of the past. Today, patients have options to get white teeth (clearer), even during orthodontic treatment.

However, we must advise you that we only recommend professionally managed methods with the supervision of dental professionals. With that in mind, there are three different methods to whiten teeth. But, first, it is essential to know that stains on teeth might come from external (extrinsic) or internal (intrinsic) factors; here, we explain this in detail:

Extrinsic Stains

Whitening kinds of toothpaste have abrasive components that help get whiter teeth with use, helping remove surface stains. In fact, after using a whitening toothpaste, you will notice a clear rather than a whitening effect on your tooth surface.

Also, we don’t recommend at-home DIY teeth whitening methods, as most of them recur to abrasive formulas to clean teeth. In some cases, stains are intrinsic, which means that harsh abrasive products have no effect on whitening teeth.

Intrinsic Stains

The only thing that can clear (whiten) teeth is peroxide hydrogen or carbamide peroxide chemicals that “penetrate teeth layers evenly.” This is why cosmetic dentists recommend its use during traditional braces.

Carbamide peroxide works at the molecular level, clearing teeth from within. Also, you must know that the clearer shade you can get is your original natural color. If your natural color is not white, you will not get a clearer color than that.

Now that we have detailed teeth stains from what causes them, we include the tooth whitening methods for traditional braces users:

Whitening Toothpaste

Includes abrasive components that can help patients get “clearer” teeth due to extrinsic factors like drinking, black tea, coffee, sodas, some artificially colored drinks, wine, and most dark-colored beverages.

In-office Whitening

A cosmetic dentist uses peroxide hydrogen or carbamide peroxide combined with a lamp or laser, leaves a highly concentrated solution on the patient’s teeth for ten minutes, then removes the hydrogen peroxide gel and repeats the process.

Take-home Whitening

We highly recommend this tooth whitening method. After an evaluation, a dentist prepares a whitening gel solution you can take home with a set of trays. At night you can fill the trays with the dentist’s office solution and place them over your teeth. This treatment has a lesser chemical concentration but lasts longer than an in-office visit, which makes it more effective.

It is also essential to know that professional whitening might produce tooth sensitivity and, in some cases, gum irritation. However, we don’t recommend using counter products instead of office treatments because only a professional can determine the appropriate concentrations of hydrogen peroxide required for each case.

Comprehensive Orthodontic Care in Salem, OR

At McDonald Orthodontics, we strive to deliver state-of-the-art oral health care in a warm, pleasant environment. Dr. McDonald and our staff members gladly assist patients by an on one toe to care for each case, planning and creating beautiful smiles for our community neighbors.