Tag Archives: White Spots After Braces

How long does it take for whitening toothpaste to work?

For about 8 months or less, I’ve been using whitening toothpaste. I never noticed what brand I was using before because I never really took the time to look at the toothpaste my family buys.

The problem is that I have braces. I’m getting them off soon and I’m afraid that the part of the tooth that is covered by the bracket will be much yellower then the rest of my teeth. I didn’t really notice much difference when using the toothpaste so I’m not sure. Can this problem be fixed? Will I have darker teeth where my brackets are?

Thanks, Audrey

Dear Audrey,

It is great to hear that you are taking good care of your teeth especially while you’re in braces. Those who wear braces tend to collect more plaque then those who don’t so having good hygiene is important to prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

Whitening toothpastes do not make your teeth white like dental whitening in office or take home procedures. Toothpastes that contain a whitening agent may help with removing some mild stains, however do not permanently change the color of your teeth. If you are concerned about the color of your teeth and want them whiter after your braces are removed you have two options, but have a consultation with your dentist to see what works best for you. Your dentist may recommend teeth whitening in the form of bleach trays that you take home and apply yourself or laser tooth whitening which takes place in the office. Both products work well and permanently change the color of your teeth, however touching up your teeth with in office bleach gels are recommended about every three to five years. Remember once you bleached your teeth with dental products they do not go back to their original color, yet tend to discolor after several years so upkeep is vital.

Post courtesy of Dr. Goldstein, Cleveland Cosmetic Dentist.

Why are my teeth so sensitive after getting my braces off?

I had braces for a little over two years. Last month, I finally got them off, but since then I’ve been noticing some problems. My teeth are VERY sensitive to heat or cold, and I can feel rough patches where it seems like the enamel is worn away, and there are “dents” in the front. Even though I never drink coffee or cola, my teeth seem to get more discolored every day.

What I am wondering is if my orthodontist damaged my teeth when she removed the brackets, and if so, what can I do about correcting these problems? I didn’t go through two years of braces to watch my teeth get uglier every day.

Katie in Traverse City, MI

Dear Katie,

Likely this is not the result of anything your orthodontist did. The removal of the brackets and cement is a fairly simple procedure.

After traditional braces are removed, some patients have white spots on their teeth that are actually areas of decalcification. This often happens when patients weren’t as careful about brushing their teeth while they were wearing braces. I do not mean to cast aspertions upon your dental hygeine habits, but am just letting you know what generally causes the problems you are describing.

If people with braces do not brush their teeth immediately after eating, the food can sit under those brackets for hours, and the acid-producing bacteria is there, too, busily working away both on the food and on the surface of the tooth. The damage only becomes fully evident when the braces come off.

There may be white spots, which indicate loss of minerals in the teeth, and those white spots are pourous. They attract all manner of stains, and can eventually turn brown. If they are severe enough, they can chip away and cause the pitting you decribe, and some of those spots may be hiding decay. If the teeth are missing enamel, that could explain the sensitivity you describe.

Teeth whitening procedures will not help you, and it may even make the spots look worse. Spot bonding could help to cover the spots and compensate for the damaged enamel, but if the damage is extensive and severe, you may need porcelain veneers.

This is not a happy way to end your experience with braces, and is one of the reasons Invisalign braces are a great alternative to traditional wire and bracket braces.

Don’t delay in seeking help for this, and make sure you seek the services of an expert cosmetic dentist. Good luck.