Smiling person with braces

How to Whiten Teeth with Braces

You have braces to create a healthier, beautiful smile. That takes time. You’ll have your braces on for a while. In the meantime, you’re thinking about whitening your teeth. Can you whiten your teeth when you have braces? What are the challenges you’ll face? Here’s what we can tell you.

In-practice bleaching

This involves a strong bleaching agent applied to your teeth, followed by a special light to accelerate the whitening process. This procedure is performed by your dental professional and takes one or two visits. It works. Your teeth will be whiter; however, the bleach won’t whiten underneath your braces. So, when your braces are removed, you will see where they were.

At-home bleaching

This is similar to a professional treatment, but the bleaching agent is not as strong. You could purchase this on your own at the pharmacy or from your dental practice. The bleaching solution would be placed in a tray that looks like an athletic mouthguard. If you get it from your dental professional, your custom tray would need to be made so it doesn’t move or hurt your braces. There needs to be room for the whitening solution (gel) and your braces. The problem with at-home bleaching is that even if you try to make your braces and tray fit together, you may run into problems. Many people have experienced sensitivity or gum irritation because the bleaching material has leaked out of the tray and into other mouth areas. Additionally, people have reported increased sensitivity to their orthodontics, especially when their teeth move or have wire changes.

Whitening toothpaste

If you have braces, whitening toothpaste may be your best solution. It removes surface stains without bleaching. Plus, it has enamel-strengthening fluoride. Whitening toothpaste does not change the colour of your teeth, so you won’t have any unpleasant surprises when it’s time for your braces to come off.

You have braces and you are thinking of whitening your teeth. In-practice bleaching treatments and at-home treatments can work, but they have limitations. It may be best to use whitening toothpaste to remove stains for now and wait until your braces are removed to go for a more professional whitening treatment.


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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.