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Whitening during orthodontic treatment - is the time right?

Date: December 01, 2021

Author: Louise Sinclair

Orthodontic treatment and tooth whitening are two of the most popular options for people looking to improve their smile. Patients often choose both. Historically, orthodontic treatment was provided with fixed orthodontic appliances. Whitening treatments, if provided, have then generally been performed after orthodontic treatment is complete. Issues have included the difficulty of using close-fitting custom trays during orthodontic treatment and concerns as to whether whitening would leave areas beneath the brackets less whitened than the surrounding areas.

We know from studies that orthodontic patients often request tooth whitening and this request may be for whitening treatment during or after orthodontic treatment. Also, currently, clear aligners are frequently used for orthodontic treatment. With this in mind, we ask: is it necessary to wait, or is now the right time to start tooth whitening?

Considerations for concurrent whitening for patients receiving clear aligner therapy

Clear aligners are an increasingly popular alternative to fixed orthodontic appliances, offering a more esthetic option during treatment, and with no need for brackets, wires or elastics. Aligners are also briefly removed to perform oral hygiene making this easier for patients, as well as being removed when eating. It is also possible to remove aligners during whitening, such that the entire surface of the tooth can be exposed to bleaching agents. Since aligners should only be removed for brief periods (for eating, and to perform oral hygiene as well as clean the aligner), whitening options would exclude treatment with trays worn for extended periods of time.

Colgate Optic White Professional Take-Home Kit

One whitening option is the Colgate Optic White Professional Take-Home Kit. Unlike many professional whitening treatments, it doesn’t require the use of custom trays. Instead, a ”paint-on” pen is used to apply the whitening serum that contains 6% hydrogen peroxide and dries to a thin film, and a patented high-energy LED device (mouthpiece) that is worn for just 10 minutes after the serum has dried. After that, the aligner can be repositioned in place. That means your patient can use it easily and comfortably during orthodontic treatment.

The thin film containing concentrated hydrogen peroxide continues to work until brushed off in the morning during routine oral hygiene. This take-home kit gives noticeable results after just one day and delivers dramatic whitening in just five days.

Patient motivation

We also know that it can be tough to inspire some of our patients throughout the orthodontic treatment process. Whitening during treatment lets the patient see a noticeable improvement in their smile right away. Having a positive experience and whiter teeth during treatment is motivating and can also encourage the patient to maintain those “smile gains” with good oral care.

All in all, your patients receiving clear aligner therapy can start enjoying a better, brighter smile right away.