3 Considerations For People With Invisalign Who Want Teeth Whitening

Tooth whitening is a popular cosmetic procedure because you can get good results without invasive surgery or breaking the bank. As you can imagine, tooth whitening doesn't work well with many orthodontic treatments because wires and brackets block the enamel. However, some whitening procedures can work with Invisalign since these appliances can be removed during in-office or at-home bleaching. Here are three things to keep in mind if you want to whiten your teeth and you have Invisalign trays.

Weigh the Pros and Cons of Whitening During or After Your Invisalign Treatment

If you are incredibly unhappy with your tooth shades or you have a big event coming up, such as a wedding with professional photography, then you may want to go ahead and whiten your teeth during your orthodontic treatment.

Some dentists and orthodontists may recommend that you wait until after treatment is complete to get whitening—especially if your teeth are very crooked. Because your teeth will still be shifting during the alignment process, different aspects of the enamel may not be as well exposed to whitening agents. Once your teeth are straightened, you may be unhappy with your whitening results since there may be an unevenness in your shades.

However, if you'd like to proceed with whitening during Invisalign treatment, you need to figure out the timing of these appointments.

Figure Out the Best Timing to Reduce Side Effects

Tooth whitening is a fairly low risk procedure, but it can cause tooth sensitivity as a side effect. Some people may just have temporary sensitivity after the treatment, while other people may have lingering side effects and require toothpaste that decreases sensitivity. Like other orthodontic appliances, Invisalign trays can cause mild discomfort and pressure as your teeth shift, so whitening could make you even more uncomfortable as your teeth may already be sensitive.

To mitigate the issue, you could wait to whiten your teeth until after you've adjusted to your new Invisalign tray. Invisalign trays usually need to be changed every few weeks; instead of getting whitening done at the beginning of the week with a new tray (when it may be the most painful as your teeth shift) consider getting your whitening done after your teeth have adjusted somewhat to the appliance.

Know That Not All Whitening Products Will Work With Invisalign

Some people may think that they can just use their Invisalign trays as whitening trays. While the two products may look similar, they have very different functions. Invisalign trays fit much more snugly since the goal is to push teeth to new positions. If you try to put whitening agents on Invisalign trays, then the gel would just seep out and irritate your gum tissue.

Because you need to wear your Invisalign trays most of the day and night, whitening trays may just not be a good option. Your dentist may recommend in-office bleaching or at-home whitening pens that can deliver good results in a short amount of time. It's better to seek out a dentist for professional whitening since over-the-counter whitening products can take a long time to work, and it may not be viable to keep your Invisalign trays out long enough during bleaching.

Contact your orthodontist today to learn more about Invisalign and how it affects whitening and other procedures you may be interested in.