Getting your braces off is often one of the happiest days of a teen’s years. All the work that has gone in to building a beautiful smile with an optimal, healthy alignment. There may be no bigger letdown than looking at a brand new, freshly aligned smile and discovering that the last trace of braces remains in the form of little white spots at each of the former metal attachment spots. All is not lost, however. White spots on the teeth can be treated and improved, leaving behind the beautiful smile that was the consistent goal of the entire orthodontic treatment program. There are several ways to reduce white spots after braces.
An Ounce of Prevention: Don’t let spots form in the first place
The old adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” has been around so long because it has truth value. The easiest way to deal with white spots is to keep them from developing. White spots that develop around the edge of braces are caused by minerals being stripped from tooth enamel while the mouth is acidic. Brushing carefully, getting every spot and removing all food particles from between teeth and all around the braces is important. pH elevating oral care products can also help keep acid damage at bay. Meticulous oral hygiene can help keep teeth healthy and avoid those white spots.
Finding What’s Lost: Replacing lost minerals
The minerals missing from your enamel need to be replaced to fill in white spots, returning cosmetic appeal and improving tooth health. Fluoride has long been recommended to help build tooth enamel. Better still, a product that contains nano-hydroxyapatite contains minerals in the form that tooth enamel needs to repair itself. Using a remineralizing toothpaste containing both fluoride and nanohydroxyapatite gives your teeth the best available building blocks for enamel repair.
What Goes Up: Controlling the pH cycle for optimal remineralization
The mouth has its own natural pH cycle. It goes down, becoming more acidic, when you eat and goes up after eating to return to a safer level for enamel. Because the acid environment strips minerals from enamel, it can worsen existing white spot or cause new ones. When treating white spots, it’s important to help keep pH levels high, in the range where minerals can redeposit on tooth enamel. Not snacking between meals and restricting between meal beverages to plain water can help keep pH levels high. Using oral care products specifically formulated to support healthy oral pH can also be a huge help.
White Spots After Braces FAQs
How can I prevent white spots after braces?
The easiest way to treat white spots after braces is, of course, to never develop them in the first place.
The best way to prevent white spots is to take excellent care of your enamel while you have braces on your teeth. White spots develop after plaque acids build up on your enamel surface, weakening the enamel and dissolving the minerals out of the enamel surface. The braces both give the plaque acids additional surfaces to stick to and make cleaning the tooth surface well more difficult. If you don’t remove the acid conditions and let the minerals stay dissolved out, you will have white spots.
Brush your teeth at least twice daily with a soft toothbrush and a mineral rich, preferably fluoride toothpaste. Take extra time to clean around braces and brackets. Small, specially designed toothbrushes (sometimes called interdental cleaners) can help dislodge food particles and remove damaging acids from under wires and in tight spaces.
Don’t snack frequently if you can avoid it. Be sure to follow your dentist or orthodontist’s recommendations of foods to avoid while you have braces. Sticky foods like caramels and taffy can stay on your braces and tooth surfaces for extraordinarily long times, causing acid attack and white spots. Always rinse with clean water and carefully remove all food particles after eating.
Excellent oral hygiene will help you avoid white spots ruining your beautiful new smile.
Can white spots on teeth after braces be removed?
White spots can be treated. In general, the results are completely satisfying.
The first step is to repair the weakened spots. This may mean using a fluoride and nanohydroxyapatite remineralizing product to remineralize the white spots. Tooth whitening, particularly professional tooth whitening done by a dentist, can help even out any color variations for a beautiful cosmetic result.
If the white spots are severe, sometimes, your dentist can use resin similar to the resin used to fill cavities to restore the appearance of the enamel. If that is not enough, it is also possible to use cosmetic techniques like veneers, thin strips applied to the front of the teeth, to restore the appearance of the front of the teeth.
What can I do at home to remove white spots on my teeth after braces?
You definitely can start treating white spots at home. A remineralizing toothpaste or gel can help rebuild and repair the weakened spots in the enamel. In addition to brushing with remineralizing products, you may be able to use at home trays to keep the treatment gel in place for longer than during brushing to achieve optimal results. Just be sure to consult with your oral care team to be sure you are doing so safely.
After you have remineralized the spots, restoring their naturally glossy appearance, you may need to use a whitening product to even out the color. At home whitening product kits from your dentist’s office usually work better than whitening toothpastes from the drugstore. Talk to your dentist for recommendations to make sure you are using the best products for your specific situation.