It can be challenging to keep your white during orthodontic treatment—particularly if you wear traditional braces. These have brackets actually bonded to the surface of each tooth, obstructing your access and making it demanding to clean teeth, let alone whiten them. But what about clear teeth aligners? Are there any special considerations for keeping your teeth white while wearing clear aligners?
It's important to keep things clear. Your aligners mustn't be allowed to become discolored. Follow your orthodontist's instructions to the letter and you shouldn't go wrong. Remember that the thermoplastic composition of your clear aligners may stain, which is why you can't have much more than water while wearing them. Tea, coffee, juice, wine, soda—these can all stain your trays. It doesn't matter how well you maintain your teeth if the aligners that cover them are consistently being stained.
You'll need to be cautious in directly whitening your teeth before your clear aligner treatment is finished. Remember that the aligners are correcting misalignment of your teeth, and this can even include teeth that have partially rotated in their sockets. Whitening your teeth before their correct alignment has been reached can lead to uneven results. The tooth's outward-facing surfaces (buccal surfaces) must be in the correct position for even whitening results, and these buccal surfaces generally don't reach their optimal alignment until toward the end of your treatment. Some basic whitening is generally permissible.
You should be wearing your aligners for around 22 hours per day, and when you account for the time you spend eating, this leaves little time for dedicated whitening treatments. Whitening strips may be acceptable, but check with your orthodontist, and remember that your results won't be all that even until the buccal surfaces of your teeth are in the correct position. Don't attempt to use your aligner trays as whitening trays (applying a whitening gel to your trays before slotting them over your teeth). This can damage your trays and decrease their effectiveness. You can use whitening toothpaste without affecting your orthodontic treatment.
To keep your teeth as white as possible while wearing your clear aligners, it's best to only take moderate action. You should still be seeing your dentist for regular checkups during your treatment, and this should involve a professional dental cleaning. This scaling of your teeth will remove surface stains, which will help your teeth to stay white—efforts that can be maintained with good quality whitening toothpaste.
Your whitening options while wearing your clear aligners may seem limited, but there are certainly ways to keep your smile bright while it's being straightened.
Speak to a dentist to learn more about clear teeth aligners.