Hi, I'm eighteen years old and I've had braces since I was about fifteen. When I was much younger I refused to brush my teeth as often as I should have and I've always suffered from staining and decay on my a few of my teeth. Now that I'm older, I brush my teeth frequently but the damage is already done. Due to the braces, I've been noticing that some of the stains around my front teeth that used to be white are now turning brown and I'm freaking out. Is there anything you can recommend to fix this problem before it gets any more out of control? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

—Alyssa from Massachusetts



Excellent question. These brown spots can turn into tooth decay spots very easily, and they might be already. However, there isn't much you can do about the brown spots right now, except get them checked and make sure they don't go soft. If they go soft, that means they're turning into decay, and they will have to be filled--but doing a good filling around your braces is very tricky-the fillings would certainly have to be re-done when you get your braces off.


But if you keep brushing after EVERY TIME YOU EAT, they shouldn't decay. And avoid ANY SNACKING unless you can brush right afterward. If you absolutely can't brush, then rinse really well to get the gunk out as much as possible, but you really need to brush.


The brown spots will need to be fixed with tooth bonding, but that will have to wait until you get the braces off. We have about four cosmetic dentists in Massachusetts that we recommend. Go to an expert cosmetic dentist, and he or she will be able to fix your brown spots and white spots so that no one will ever know they were there.


I have heard many examples of dentists trying to bleach away brown spots. Dentists who are well trained in cosmetic dentistry know that this won't work. Bleaching whitens the whole tooth and will generally make brown spots look worse because they will now be against the background of a whiter tooth.


Good luck,

—Dr. Hall


This information is provided for you by the mynewsmile.com cosmetic dentist referral service, and was personally written by Dr. David Hall.


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