The first thing that our patients ask us when they get their braces off is “When can I get my teeth whitened?” There are many great options for tooth whitening, but there are certain guidelines that we follow to ensure the best esthetic outcomes for our patients and to protect their orthodontic results.
Before beginning any whitening regimen, it is important to first visit your dentist for a thorough examination and tooth cleaning. A dental cleaning, as well as a few months of diligent brushing and flossing will restore your teeth and gums to optimal health following your time in braces. By waiting a few months after the braces are removed, your gum tissues will tighten up and you can be sure that the bleaching system whitens the entire tooth. Our second concern is that the tooth whitening system does not interfere with your retainer wear after your braces are removed. Some at-home bleaching systems require you to wear soft trays with bleaching gel in your mouth for several hours, which would require you to go for several hours without wearing your retainers. Such systems should be avoided until we advise you that you can limit your retainer use to “nighttime wear”.
Dental in-office bleaching systems can help you avoid the difficulties with retainer wear, as the procedures take less than one hour. Special lights or lasers are used to activate the bleaching gels, and the results are instantaneous!