You can whiten teeth with some kinds of braces with mixed results, but is it OK? It depends on the type of braces, kinds of stains on teeth and the contents of the whitening products. If you wear removable braces or have metal braces attached only to the backs of your teeth, whitening products will work much as they do for people without braces: They will whiten by delivering concentrations of carbamide peroxide into surface enamel to break up stains.
You shouldn't consider wearing invisible, removable appliances over any type of whitening products, however, without consulting with your dentist, if at all, because as with any whitening regimen, tooth sensitivity and gum irritation can result. If you have braces you may already have sensitivity and soreness, and whitening can intensify this discomfort.
Using whitening products with traditional metal bracket braces is not recommended at all. Traditional braces work well because they are so solidly attached to teeth, providing constant and gentle pressure to the teeth, which helps them move in the right direction [source: ADA]. Because the brackets adhere to teeth with such a strong bond, the enamel underneath is sealed by the glue and bracket overlay. That means the whitening agents will react with the exposed parts of teeth, but the covered surfaces won't receive the same treatment. Instead they will stay the same color they were before the brackets were applied.
If you are considering whitening your teeth while wearing braces, you should discuss it with your dentist or orthodontist first so he or she can advise you based on your specific treatment and the condition of your teeth and gums. Some whitening products may damage braces depending on the materials they are made of. In fact, several companies, including Crest -- the makers of 3D Whitestrips -- advise against using their products while using dental appliances and braces [source: Crest].
Can anything be done to whiten teeth while wearing bracketed braces?