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Đang xem: Teeth whitening with braces: best options

Dental braces can correct teeth overcrowding, a bad bite, and align your teeth, resulting in a healthier smile and increased self-confidence.

But what if you also want a brighter, whiter smile? Do you have to remove your braces before whitening your teeth?

Here’s what you need to know about whitening your teeth while wearing braces, and the different whitening options available to you.

Not only can food and drinks gradually stain your teeth, but braces can too.

Once you have stains on your teeth, brushing alone might not brighten your smile. In this case, you might need a whitening agent. The good news is you don’t have to remove your braces to get a whiter smile. However, it’s usually recommended to whiten teeth after braces.

Whitening teeth while wearing braces can sometimes result in uneven shades, as it’s difficult for the whitening agent to reach areas where brackets are covering the surface of teeth and in areas where teeth are shifting and overlapping.

Whitening options vary depending on what type of braces you have, as highlighted in the table below. More information about each option follows the table.

Teeth whitening options Lingual braces and clear removable aligners Traditional metal braces
whitening strips yes no
whitening trays yes no
whitening toothpaste and mouthwash yes yes
electric toothbrush yes yes

1. Whitening strips

Whitening strips are an at-home whitening method that’s safe, inexpensive, and effective. The strips contain either a bleaching agent or peroxide. They’re designed to lift stains off the surface of your teeth.

How they work: Typically, you apply a whitening strip over your teeth once or twice a day for up to 45 minutes. Cost: Between $30 and $40 for a 30-day supply.

2. Whitening trays

Another whitening option involves using a bleaching gel and a customized whitening tray molded to your teeth.

How it works: Place a small amount of the whitening gel into the tray, then insert the tray into your mouth for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour. Repeat treatments every day until you achieve the desired results, typically within 2 to 3 weeks. Potential side effects: You may experience gum or tooth sensitivity. If you don’t experience irritation or sensitivity, you can wear the tray for a longer period, up to 2 hours per session. Limitations: Since bleaching trays are placed over your teeth, this isn’t a good option for traditional metal braces. It only works with lingual braces and removable aligners. The trays may not fit as well with lingual braces.Cost: The cost of this at-home teeth whitening method varies according to whether you purchase the kit in-store or from your dentist. In-store kits cost around $30, whereas your dentist might charge $100 or more for a kit.

3. Whitening toothpaste and mouthwash

Although you can’t use whitening strips or whitening trays with traditional metal braces, many everyday oral care products can result in a brighter smile.

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Whitening toothpastes usually contain abrasive particles, like silica, to scrub away surface stains on your teeth. Some may also contain chemicals that help dissolve stains. And whitening mouthwash not only freshens breath, but it also protects against new stains.

How to use: Use a whitening toothpaste two to three times a day and a whitening mouthwash at least once a day for the best results. Potential side effects: Some of these toothpastes don’t contain bleach, so they’re less likely to cause tooth sensitivity or gum irritation. However, some toothpastes may be very abrasive and wear away tooth enamel, leading to sensitivity. Limitations: There are none. Toothpaste and mouthwash can be used with all kinds of braces.Cost: The cost ranges from $10 to $15 for a three-pack of toothpaste and $20 to $30 for a three-pack of mouthwash.

4. Electric toothbrush

An electric toothbrush can also lift surface stains and whiten your teeth. Electric toothbrushes don’t include any type of chemical agent to change the color of your teeth. But they can remove surface stains better than a regular toothbrush. This can give the appearance of a whiter smile.

Potential side effects: If you have sensitive gums or teeth, the rapid automatic bristle motion might be uncomfortable. Look for an electric toothbrush with different speed settings to reduce sensitivity. Limitations: There are none. Electric toothbrushes can be used with all types of braces.

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Cost: These toothbrushes can range from $10 (on the low end) to $70.

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