If you are someone who wears braces, multiple dental appointments are necessary for the goal of seeing a straighter, more beautiful smile. After putting that time and effort into improving your smile, what if you end up with tooth discoloration once your braces are removed?
Traditional braces come with wires and brackets that can easily trap food particles leading to bacteria and plaque buildup. Plaque can result in certain acids that eat away the minerals from your tooth enamel. This changes how light is reflected from your teeth, causing white spots in those areas from where you couldn't remove the plaque.
How to Treat Teeth Discoloration Post Braces
If you get white spots on your teeth after removing your braces, there are several ways to treat them either at home or through a dentist. Listed below are some of these methods.
a) At Home
- Floss and Brush Regularly, Preferably With a Fluoride Toothpaste: If the white spots on your teeth are minor, regular brushing and flossing may be all that is necessary. Ideally, you may use an American Dental Association (ADA) approved toothpaste that has fluoride and nanohydroxyapatite, which are active ingredients that last up to 3 to 6 months. These ingredients will effectively strengthen and repair your enamel, thus blending the white spots.
- Use Remineralizing Agents: As white spots are formed due to your teeth’s demineralization, using minerals or fluorides to remineralize them can prove effective. Consult your dentist before deciding on which cream or gel to use for remineralization.
- Apply Tooth Whitening Products: Teeth whitening products can help even out your teeth's color, making the white spots seem to disappear. An over the counter whitening toothpaste generally will not be strong enough. The over the counter whitening toothpastes are mainly designed to remove surface stains. There are different professional whitening methods, some involve a custom or semi-custom tooth whitening tray with stronger gels that whiten your teeth.Tray whitening is more effective than whitening toothpaste. However, make sure to consult us, your dental professional because still most will not be totally effective to blend these white spots. Most will allow the general shade of the teeth to lighten and improve but still not totally blend these white spots to be invisible.
b) At the Dentist
- Remineralizing: Your dentist can use fluoride and other remineralizing agents to remove the white spots from your teeth. They may prescribe gels or paste that release fluoride, phosphorus, and calcium, resulting in mineralization.
- In-office whitening or “bleaching”: We generally like to whiten first to see if ant of the white lesions can be improved without any further care. Any remaining white decalcified areas, we have the choice of using one of two products (see below) that specifically change how light reflects off the teeth thus truly making most if not all spots invisable. This will even out your teeth's color and can make them look whiter. It is such a relief to our patients when we are able to get back a uniform shade of teeth.
- Resin treatment: In some severe cases, you may require resin treatment to remove the white spots. Your dentist will inject the resin liquid below the enamel's surface and over the white spot. Light will be used to solidify the resin, giving the appearance of natural teeth.
- Microabrasion: In this method, the tooth is first isolated with a rubber dam. An acid-abrasive gel is then applied to the white spots using a polishing brush to eliminate them. This method is also effective in preventing tooth decay.
- Dental veneers: Dental veneers are used to treat the most stubborn white spots on teeth. With this cosmetic method, a veneer, is a partial cap that is placed over the tooth's front to give a natural look. Veneers can be beautiful however generally you will always need a veneer once one is placed. They are still considered a conversative choice because only a little of the front of the teeth are roughened or removed to allow room for this thin restoration.
Tips to Prevent Teeth Discoloration After Braces
Here are some helpful tips that you may use while wearing braces to avoid future teeth discoloration problems.
- Brush and Floss After Each Meal – While wearing braces, brushing your teeth after each meal is highly recommended.
- Be Selective in Your Diet – Avoid foods and drinks high on sugars or starches that can result in bacteria buildup and damage your teeth.
- Get Regular Dental Cleanings – While wearing braces, get regular dental cleanings and exams. It’s recommended to visit your dentist at least twice a year for an examination and often, especially during braces, often it is recommended to come in more frequently for cleanings like every 3 or 4 months.
- Choose Fluoride– A fluoride rinse may help to prevent discoloration and keep your teeth healthy and strong while wearing braces.
- Use Special Tools; If you find it difficult to maintain your dental hygiene with traditional techniques, try tools such as an electric toothbrush or a water flosser.
Preventing teeth discoloration is the best way to ensure a beautiful smile post braces. If you want to know more about white spots and how to treat them effectively, contact us or book an appointment with us online. Our practice, Smile Arizona Dentistry, is located in south Scottsdale, AZ, and we can help you maintain optimum oral care and health. Schedule an appointment with us for your routine care and hygiene visit today!
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