Stains on Teeth from Braces FAQ
Most young adults and children wear orthodontic braces to help correct facial irregularities. The results dental braces achieve are amazing. However, some find their teeth are stained when the braces are removed. But are the stains caused by braces?
How to know if you have stains caused by braces?
It’s difficult to clean all the plaque off the teeth when you have braces on. Plaque is a sticky film that develops on the teeth after drinking and eating. It builds up behind brace wires and brackets that adhere to your teeth.
In the end undisturbed plaque, if left long enough, may lead to demineralization, which eats away at the enamel, leaving white or brownish spots behind. If these are left untreated, they can develop into cavities.
Demineralization stains cannot be removed by simple brushing or by a visit to the hygenist as these are not superficial stains but stains within the tooth tissue itself. A meticulous oral hygiene regimen is therefore of utmost importance when wearing braces.
What causes teeth staining when you wear braces?
Bacteria accumulate naturally on the teeth and overtime develops into plaque. The bacteria release an acid that drains minerals from the teeth, leaving the spot whiter or darker than normal. The decalcification cannot be reversed, but the white spots can be treated in various ways depending on their severity.
Is the staining permanent?
If the stains are left untreated, they can develop into cavities. However, there are methods to apply to avoid damaging your smile.
How to get rid of brace stains?
If you have just had your braces removed and noticed white spots or stains on your teeth, don’t be too alarmed. The discolouration is common and there’s still a chance to improve the appearance. Your dentist can recommend a treatment regimen custom for you. Some of the popular treatment options include:
Regular dental cleanings
Dental cleaning should be done twice a year. During the process, the dentist or hygienist removes plaque, calculus, and stains that have built up over time. Any stained cement residue from where the brackets were cemented onto the teeth can also be removed, thus improving the discoloured appearance.
The dentist/hygienist uses special tools to scrape away the deposits. These can be manual scrapers or an ultrasonic scaler that removes deeper discolourations and stains. Once clean, the teeth are polished with prophylaxis paste designed for this purpose.
Teeth whitening treatments and products come in many different forms. Some in-office and at-home teeth whitening procedures and products include whitening gels, toothpaste, and strips. You can consult your dentist about what can work best on your teeth.
If you have white demineralization stains, whitening the rest of the teeth could improve the shade difference.
Avoid using a whitening toothpaste on a daily basis as these can be very abrasive and wear away at your enamel over time.
A dental veneer is a thin covering bonded or cemented to teeth. It’s constructed from composite resin or porcelain and the colour is matched to your teeth.
Before the veneers are installed, the surface of the teeth is cleaned and treated to provide a strong base. The veneers are then cemented onto the discoloured teeth with special dental cement.
In some instances, the white spots cause slight depressions in the teeth’ surface. In more serious cases, the depressions develop into tiny dental cavities. A dentist can repair the cavities with composite resin in a shade that blends with the surrounding tooth surface.
If the spot damage is too severe and the outer enamel has sustained damage, the dentist will have to clean the decay from the cavity before filling it.
If your braces cause damage to your teeth, the dentist might recommend composite restoration. This involves adhering tooth-coloured resin to the teeth to make their shape and colour look a little more healthy and natural.
Minerals leached from your teeth can be replaced with a special mineral paste. This paste should be applied daily for a specified period to allow the teeth to reabsorb phosphate and calcium from it and replace lost minerals. Several such products are available over the counter. However, it’s best to consult a dentist to get the ideal product for your teeth.
As the teeth reabsorb the minerals, the white spots can fade. And in some cases, they may disappear completely. Unfortunately, in the case of cavities, it’s impossible to grow back new enamel.
Microabrasion is another technique used to polish stained teeth through a fine polish made of silicon carbide or pumice and hydrochloric acid. The procedure is done by a dentist who lightly polishes every affected tooth for a couple of minutes. This process removes a small portion of the enamel and exposes new enamel. This new enamel is lighter and, as a result, blends better with the white spots making them less visible.
To book a dental consultation, please use our online appointment form or contact us directly on (+356) 2125 7253 (Skyparks Business Centre, Malta International Airport), or (+356) 2155 7323 (Dingli Street, Victoria, Gozo). For international patients, it is recommended to request a free e-consultation where we can discuss your individual case and treatment options.
Avoid staining foods
To reduce the chances of tartar/plaque build-up and cavities, you should avoid staining foods. Some of these foods and drinks include:
- Coffee and tea
- Sports drinks and soda
- White and red wines
- Tobacco products
- Certain vegetables and fruits, such as beetroot, berries and grapes
Brushing and flossing after every meal
Brushing your teeth immediately after eating is the perfect way to prevent discolouration and plaque build-up. Brushing eliminates food acids and staining properties.
Are teeth staining after braces common?
Yes, teeth stains after braces are common if oral hygiene is lacking throughout the duration of braces treatment. Having braces makes brushing and flossing properly a difficult process. Inevitably, tartar builds up over time, leading to white spots and discolouration. However, you should take some precautions to ensure the discolouration doesn’t get out of hand.
When to see a dentist
If you have some white spots on your teeth before getting braces, during, or after, consult your dentist. They will recommend various methods that can aesthetically address the discolouration and take steps to better your smile.
You shouldn’t dismiss the discolouration as a brace stain. Instead, take steps to ensure you have and maintain a healthy smile. Remember, the best way to deal with brace staining is not to get it in the first place. Stick to regular teeth cleaning and brushing routine to reduce the risk of staining when you wear braces.
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