Finishing orthodontic treatment is a big deal! Finally, your braces are coming off! You’ve invested a lot into the process and are excited to see your sparkling straight smile. The last thing you want to see when they remove your braces is stained teeth. Fortunately, we have several recommendations to offer to prevent you from being surprised with stained teeth after braces.
Orthodontic Treatment & Stained Teeth
Braces can make it difficult to fully clean and remove plaque from your teeth. It is common for plaque to build up behind wires and around brackets. If not removed, the plaque may develop into tartar and turn a yellow or brownish color. The bacteria found in plaque can eat at your tooth’s enamel, soften your tooth, and leave exposed white spots.
Over time, if not professionally cleaned, the tartar and plaque can lead to tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease.
Sometimes the bonding material used to attach brackets to your teeth become discolored over time, but this material will be removed along with your braces.
Can You Prevent Stains?
Fortunately, you can take preventative measures against tooth staining after braces.
The first step is to practice and maintain good oral hygiene practices during orthodontic treatment. We recommend investing in interdental brushes, water flossers, or floss threaders to help you clean and remove plaque and leftover debris from between your brackets, gums, and teeth. An electric toothbrush with an orthodontic headpiece can also help to keep your teeth clean. Brush after every meal with a soft-bristled brush and ADA-approved fluoridated toothpaste. Avoid using tooth-whitening toothpaste as this can lead to discoloration since only the exposed areas will be whitened.
The second step is to continue to attend regular cleanings and examinations with your dentist and orthodontist as needed. Your orthodontist can offer suggestions on how to clean around your braces and avoid stains.
Minding your diet is also important as certain foods can become stuck to your braces, damage wires, and significantly contribute to plaque buildup. We recommend limiting sugary, acidic, starchy, sticky, and crunchy foods during your orthodontic treatment. Dark and highly pigmented foods and beverages such as dark sodas, tomatoes, berries, tea, wine, coffee can stain your teeth as well.
For patients who smoke cigarettes or use tobacco products, if possible, try to reduce the amount or stop altogether during treatment as these products can stain your teeth as well.
Removing Stains After Treatment
If you’ve recently had your braces removed and noticed stains or discoloration, it’s not too late. We offer several treatment options that can help whiten and brighten your new smile.
Teeth whitening either at home with toothpaste and strips or professional in-office treatments can lift stains from the surface of your teeth. Always consult with your dentist before trying over-the-counter products as some ingredients may lead to tooth sensitivity or gum inflammation.
Cosmetic dentistry such as veneers or composite tooth restorations can be applied to the surface of your teeth to whiten your smile as well. If you are curious about using cosmetic dentistry to whiten your smile, speak with your dentist for more information.
As orthodontists, we are here to help you achieve that straight and dazzling smile you’ve been dreaming of. Don’t let the fear of potential stains prevent you from seeking treatment. We will be with you every step of the way so that you can smile after braces with confidence and pride. For more information on how to prevent brace stains or to schedule an appointment, contact Dr. L ‘Tanya Joy Bailey, DDS today.