How to reverse those white spots on your teeth after braces?Orthodontic treatment is not just about waiting a few months or years for the teeth to straighten. But also about keeping them healthy during the process.
Teeth with braces are more likely to decay. It is not uncommon to see white stains on the teeth crowns at the end of the treatment.
Fortunately, it is possible to reverse them and still achieve a stunning, straight smile.
What are these white spots that have appeared on my teeth?White spots are discolorations that appear on the teeth surfaces. Most often, they mean the early stage of tooth decay.
During braces wear, bacterial plaque can easily get stuck on the teeth. The acid produced by the bacteria erodes the enamel, resulting in the formation of whitish lesions.
To identify them, you can do a simple test at home. Stand in front of a mirror and dry your teeth well. Then apply a light source to your teeth. These lesions appear less bright than healthy surfaces because they do not reflect light.
Another characteristic of white spot lesions is that they promote a rapid plaque build-up on the affected surfaces. This is because these lesions are rough.
How do white spots appear?Enamel is the outermost layer of our teeth. It is also the hardest tissue in our body, composed mainly of minerals.
When our teeth are exposed to acid, their minerals dissolve, causing tooth decay.
The acidity comes from the bacteria that live in our mouths. After a sweet meal, the bacteria will turn the sugar into acid.
The high acidity will destroy the minerals in the enamel, causing white spot lesions. This process is also known as demineralization.
If left untreated, demineralization will progress deeper into the underlying dentin, leading to irreversible cavities.
Why are white spots more likely to appear with braces?The reason is that braces promote the accumulation of plaque. It is a whitish and soft film that provides an ideal environment for the growth of bacteria. It increases their resistance and allows them to work in synergy.
In addition, braces make dental cleaning more difficult, increasing the risk even more.
As a result, plaque build-up increases considerably after braces, and more bacteria means a higher risk of tooth decay.
According to a review, wearing braces changes the quality and quantity of oral microbiota. Pathogenic bacteria predominate in the mouth, increasing the risk of caries and gum disease.
The risk of white spot lesions from braces is even higher in the presence of other factors. Among them:
- Your oral hygiene is poor.
- You consume a lot of sweets and acidic foods.
- You frequently snack between meals.
- Your diet is overall unhealthy.
How to get rid of white spots?Treatment differs depending on the cause and severity of the lesions. White spots that appear after braces usually refer to early tooth decay lesions.
Fortunately, they are not permanent as long as they are limited to the enamel. Enamel can recover the minerals lost by some fluoride preparations. Once done, these spots will disappear.
However, in an advanced stage, the lesions are irreversible and require cosmetic restoration such as fillings or veneers.
Before treating white spots at home, you must first consult your dentist. He will assess whether they are reversible and follow their evolution throughout the remineralization process.
Various remineralizing products in gel form are available today to restore enamel and reverse early decay. They are rich in calcium, phosphorus and fluoride, which allows you to obtain noticeable results (under the supervision of your dentist, of course) within a few weeks.
A study on the effectiveness of treating early caries with fluoride after wearing braces showed that:
- The use of fluoridated toothpaste twice a day allows remineralization after two months.
- The combination of fluoridated toothpaste and gels accelerates the remineralization process for one month.
This technique is indicated when demineralization stains are limited to the enamel surface. It consists of applying an acidic product on the tooth surface to remove a thin layer of enamel. Then a filling material is placed on the tooth surface to restore its natural shape and shine.
Like the infiltration technique, it is indicated when the stain is limited to the enamel. It consists of placing an abrasive material on the tooth surface, which will help remove a thin layer of the damaged enamel.
Treatment with filling:
When the stain is brownish or a cavity is present, remineralization and infiltration techniques no longer work. In this case, the most suitable option is to remove the decay with a rotary instrument and fill the cavity with a cosmetic material that matches the natural color of the tooth.
Treatment with veneers:
Veneers are a good alternative in cases of severe discoloration or shape defects. Veneers are very thin ceramic pieces that fit over the visible part of the teeth, thus hiding their anomalies.
They require minimal reduction of enamel and help adjust the shape and color of the teeth for an even and beautiful smile.
Prevent white spotsWhen white spots appear during orthodontic treatment, they appear around the braces or under them if the adhesive wears away, allowing bacteria to get into this space and damage the enamel.
Although these dental injuries are common, you can prevent them with simple measures that will cost you almost nothing. You can do them at home before, during, or after treatment.
Before getting braces, your dentist will make sure to remove any cavities, infections, or gum disease. This will allow the treatment to proceed in a healthy condition without complicating an existing lesion.
This is also the perfect time to learn and introduce new oral hygiene tools into your routine to maintain a healthy mouth for the long term.
The key to avoiding dental white spots during orthodontic treatment is oral hygiene.
Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and the proper technique is essential to remove any plaque buildup.
The areas between the teeth are the most difficult to reach while wearing braces. Dental floss or interdental brushes are necessary to clean these areas.
Oral irrigators are recommended for people with braces. They have proven to be very effective in removing food debris from the hardest-to-reach areas.
You can also ask your dentist if you can use additional fluoride products such as gel or mouthwash. Fluoride help strengthens your enamel, reduce bacteria growth, decrease mouth acidity, and remineralize early lesions.
Get a professional dental cleaning regularly at your dentist's office. This will help you get rid of the plaque and tartar.
Professional dental cleaning 2-4 times a year is highly recommended to prevent cavities during orthodontic treatment.
It will be easier to prevent white spot lesions once the braces are removed.
To enjoy your new, beautiful smile for a lifetime, you must maintain good oral hygiene with regular visits to your dentist.
Ask your dentist if you can continue to use fluoride supplements such as mouthwash or gels, especially if you are at high risk for cavities. In summary, orthodontic treatment is not just about straightening your teeth. You need to keep your mouth healthy by practicing good oral hygiene.
Wearing braces increases the risk of white spots and staining. Fortunately, they are usually reversible, and you can still have a beautiful, straight smile.