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Will Teeth Whitening Fix Brown and White Spots After Braces?

Woman with braces brushing her teeth; for information on brown and white spots with bracesI wore braces for two years and finally finished treatment last month. Although my teeth are straight, I have brown and white stains that will not come off with whitening strips. I am self-conscious about my smile but do not want to ruin it. Is a dentist’s teeth whitening treatment strong enough for the stains, or will I need veneers? I hate the thought of another round of dental treatment that costs thousands of dollars. Thank you. Andrea from Decatur, GA



Thank you for your question. Although Dr. Lim would need to examine your teeth, decalcification is probably causing the stains on your teeth.

What Causes Brown or White Stains After Braces?

Unremoved food debris around braces causes brown or white spots. Decalcification is the beginning stage of tooth decay. Without diligent flossing and brushing around braces, food debris can mix with your saliva, and bacteria can eat away at your tooth enamel, causing tooth discoloration.

Will Teeth Whitening Fix Brown or White Stains After Braces?

Teeth whitening will not correct brown or white spots after braces; it will make the spots more noticeable. Depending on the severity of the stains, an expert cosmetic can use direct dental bonding to conceal the stains. Advanced cosmetic dentists have an inventory of highly specialized composite materials to match the shade and translucence of your teeth.

A trained cosmetic applies bonding to your teeth while you sit in the dental chair. Cosmetic dentists use these steps:

  • Clean your teeth, roughen, and etch each affected tooth in preparation for bonding
  • Apply a bonding agent to your teeth
  • Blend composites to match your tooth shade
  • Apply the bonding to hide the brown and white spots
  • Shape, trim, and harden the composite
  • Polish the composite to a natural gloss

Look for a dentist with advanced cosmetic dentistry training. They may recommend teeth bleaching first to whiten all your teeth, then apply dental bonding over the brown and white spots.

You can schedule consultations with two cosmetic dentists for an exam and an explanation of your options.


Dr. Heng Lim, an Owasso, Oklahoma cosmetic dentist, sponsors this post.