After months of anticipation and work to straighten your pearly whites with braces, you may come to find that your teeth are slightly discolored around the areas where your brackets had been. It’s only natural for patients to want their new, straight teeth to be white and glistening.
Fortunately, understanding how teeth get yellow with braces can help you avoid experiencing this cosmetic issue. While getting yellow teeth during braces is actually avoidable, if you find you’ve acquired any stains during your orthodontic treatment you can whiten your smile with a professional whitening treatment.
Why Teeth Yellow with Braces
Teeth staining after braces is a common concern among adolescent and adult braces patients. Caring for your braces is important to not only maintain your teeth straightening treatment but also for your general oral health. If you want to have white teeth after braces, you should understand the root causes of a lackluster smile. Braces themselves do not directly cause discoloration. Plaque and tartar, difficulty brushing, and eating certain foods all contribute stained teeth, and the need for teeth whitening after braces.
Plaque and Tartar
Stained teeth are commonly caused by the accumulation of plaque in teeth crevices. Plaque is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria that begins to forms on teeth from eating and drinking. This plaque combines with sugars to create acids that leach minerals from your teeth. Removing the minerals from teeth changes the way the surface of your teeth reflects light. This can potentially result in unsightly white spots on your teeth. Plaque also increases the risk of gum disease and tooth decay while your braces are on.
Plaque can harden into tartar, a crusty deposit that can form in just 24 hours if not brushed away. Tartar easily stains teeth yellow or brown, and can even make it harder to remove newly formed plaque. Once tartar has developed, only a dental professional can remove it.
How Braces Affect Your Oral Hygiene
Oral hygiene is an important prevention method against plaque and tartar, the main causes of tooth discoloration. Patients with braces should always rinse and brush after a meal, and floss at least twice a day.
Although braces can make basic teeth cleaning tasks difficult, it is important to have a diligent oral hygiene routine. Braces brackets and wires can get in the way when you try to brush your teeth, and effective flossing takes time and skill. Inadequate brushing and flossing can leave food and liquid remnants on the surface of your teeth. This increases your chance of leaving behind harmful plaque and bacteria that can cause gum disease and tooth decay.
If you have braces and find yourself struggling to keep your teeth clean, you should schedule a professional cleaning with your dentist. Professional dental cleanings during orthodontic treatment will help remove the plaque that leads to stained teeth. The tools and techniques used allow the dental professionals to clean those hard to reach places between the braces wires and brackets that you cannot get to with your toothbrush or floss. Skipping dental cleanings can lead to the appearance of yellow or stained teeth after your braces are removed.
Foods That Cause Yellow Teeth
If you want to have a white smile, be sure to watch your diet. Certain foods and beverages can stain your teeth, and ultimately lead to discoloration. Coffee, tea, soda, dark juices, popsicles, and even soy sauce can stain your teeth. Sugary, acidic, or starchy foods can promote the growth of bacteria and the demineralization process. Even foods like pickles, cranberries, tomato products, and alcohol can also cause demineralization and staining.
Teeth Whitening after Braces
Stained teeth can make adolescent and adult patients feel insecure about their smile, even after completing orthodontic treatment to straighten their teeth. After all, you’ve gone through the work of wearing braces, how can you get whiter teeth to create an all-around beautiful smile? This is where professional teeth whitening comes in to help restore stained teeth to a bright, white smile.
It is always recommended to whiten teeth after braces, instead of before. Teeth whitening before braces can result in uneven shades across the surface of teeth from where brackets and wires sit, and from shifting teeth. One of the common reasons patients seek out braces is to fix crooked teeth. Crooked teeth often overlap, which means if you whiten your teeth before braces, the whitening agent is unable to reach some areas of the teeth. As your teeth shift during your orthodontic treatment, this will create an uneven shade spectrum across your smile.
Orthodontists often recommend that their patients wait about six months after their braces are removed to whiten their teeth. There are two reasons why this is recommended; tooth sensitivity and saliva.
Wearing braces can cause teeth to feel weak for a short period of time, so giving yourself time to adjust will make teeth whitening as effective and comfortable as possible. In many cases, a patient’s saliva will be enough to reduce the intensity of discolorations and differences in shades after their braces are removed. However, if six months pass and your teeth are still looking discolored, teeth whitening after braces may be necessary to create a whiter, healthier-looking smile.
For optimal cosmetic improvement and oral health, teeth whitening should always be supervised or performed by a dental health professional. Not only is professional teeth whitening more effective than at-home treatments, but it is also safer. Dental professionals can spot areas of demineralized enamel, signs of gum disease, or tooth decay that may have been hidden by braces.
Teeth Whitening at Laster Orthodontics
Laster Orthodontics in North Carolina makes professional teeth whitening for their orthodontic patients easy. Laster offers two options for their patients; whitening gel that patients can put in their retainers, or Go trays. The whitening gel can be added to removable retainers to help brighten their smiles. If you review Laster Orthodontics on Google or Yelp, Laster will even discount this whitening service. Go trays are an easy bleaching system that Laster offers, and is cost efficient as well.
There are many benefits to orthodontic treatment, including braces. To learn more information about teeth whitening after braces, speak with your orthodontist before and after you have your braces off. If you are in the Rolesville, Zebulon, or Raleigh, North Carolina area, Dr. Laster at Laster Orthodontics would be happy to answer any and all braces questions. With Dr. Laster’s help, you can explore your options for teeth whitening after braces and ultimately achieve the perfect smile.
At Laster Orthodontics, we help families develop healthy, life-changing smiles using customized treatments, cutting-edge technologies, and caring relationships. Our individualized treatment plans help our patients achieve their perfect smile in the quickest, most painless way possible by utilizing a wide range of options from traditional braces to Propel accelerated treatment to Dr. Laster's in-house aligner program, Laster Perfect Smile. With three locations throughout the Triangle Area, we create life-changing smiles every day.