Can You Use Whitening with Invisalign?

Teeth Whitening with Invisalign


In the world of dental aesthetics, the quest for a perfect smile often leads to two major interventions: orthodontic treatment and teeth whitening. Among orthodontic options, Invisalign stands out for its discretion and comfort. But what happens when you want to combine this cutting-edge treatment with the desire for a brighter smile? This blog delves into the intricacies of using teeth whitening procedures alongside Invisalign, answering your most pressing questions with scientific insights and expert advice.

Question 1

How Does Teeth Whitening Work?

The Science Behind a Brighter Smile

Teeth whitening has become a staple in cosmetic dentistry, but how exactly does it work? At its core, teeth whitening involves the use of bleaching agents, typically hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These agents penetrate the porous enamel of your teeth, reaching the discolored molecules inside. Once there, a chemical reaction occurs, breaking the bonds that hold these discoloration molecules together, effectively dispersing them and lightening the color of the teeth.

The Prerequisite: Healthy Gums and Teeth

However, teeth whitening isn't a one-size-fits-all solution. Before embarking on this journey, it's crucial to ensure your oral health is in top condition. Whitening treatments can exacerbate issues in inflamed gums or teeth with cavities. Healthy gums and teeth are the bedrock of effective and safe whitening. If these conditions aren't met, you risk not only uneven whitening but also potentially worsening oral health problems.

Yellow Teeth: A Longer Road to Whiteness

Another factor to consider is the original color of your teeth. Teeth with a deep yellow or brownish hue may take longer to show significant whitening results. This delay is due to the nature and depth of the discoloration molecules; more entrenched and denser staining will require more time and possibly stronger concentrations of whitening agents to break down.

Question 2

Can You Whiten Your Teeth with Invisalign?

Navigating the Invisalign Treatment

Invisalign has revolutionized orthodontic treatment with its clear, custom-fit aligners. But how does this innovative solution interact with teeth whitening? If you're considering whitening while wearing Invisalign, there's a catch. The aligners themselves, especially when paired with attachments, can create obstacles for the whitening agent, leading to uneven whitening results. The areas under the attachments might not receive an equal amount of whitening treatment, resulting in a patchy appearance.

Invisalign's Answer: Specialized Whitening Trays

To address this, Invisalign offers specially designed whitening trays for those not in active Invisalign treatment. These trays are crafted with precision to ensure a snug fit around the teeth and gums. This design minimizes the risk of the whitening gel spilling onto the gums, which can cause burns or irritation. These premium quality trays enable a more uniform and safer whitening experience, even for those who have completed their Invisalign treatment.

Question 3

How to Whiten Your Teeth with Invisalign

The Practical Approach to Whitening with Invisalign

Whitening teeth while wearing Invisalign aligners is a process that requires careful planning and execution. Here's a step-by-step guide to effectively and safely whiten your teeth during your Invisalign treatment:

1. Consult Your Dentist:

Before you start, it's essential to consult with your dentist. They can advise whether your teeth and gums are healthy enough for whitening and provide guidance on the most effective and safe methods to use alongside Invisalign.

2. Choose the Right Whitening Gel:

Select a whitening gel that's compatible with your Invisalign aligners. Your dentist can recommend a gel with an appropriate concentration of bleaching agents that won't damage the aligners and is suitable for your specific dental sensitivity and whitening needs.

3. Timing is Key:

The best time to apply the whitening gel is when you're due to wear your aligners for a long period, like overnight. This ensures maximum contact time between the gel and your teeth, enhancing the whitening effect.

4. Application Process:

To apply the gel, remove your Invisalign aligners and clean them thoroughly. Then, apply a small amount of the whitening gel into each tooth compartment of the aligner. Be careful not to overfill to avoid gel spilling onto your gums.

5. Wear Your Aligners:

After applying the gel, place the aligners back onto your teeth. Ensure they fit snugly and the gel is evenly distributed across the teeth surfaces.

6. Monitor the Time:

Follow the recommended duration for wearing the gel-filled aligners. This varies depending on the strength of the gel and your dentist's advice.

7. Aftercare:

Once the recommended time is up, remove your aligners and rinse both your mouth and the aligners thoroughly. This helps remove any residual gel and prevents potential irritation or damage to your teeth and gums.

8. Regular Dental Check-ups:

Continue to have regular check-ups with your dentist throughout your whitening process. They can monitor your progress and adjust the treatment if necessary.

Invisalign Teeth Whitening


Combining teeth whitening with Invisalign treatment presents unique challenges and considerations. It's crucial to approach this cosmetic endeavor with a clear understanding of the processes involved and the potential risks. Always seek professional guidance and personalized advice from your dentist, as they can tailor the treatment to your specific needs and ensure your journey towards a brighter smile is both effective and safe.

Teeth whitening can be a beneficial cosmetic procedure, but not everyone is an ideal candidate, and there are myths and misconceptions about its safety and effectiveness. It's essential to make an informed decision based on your dental condition.

- Dr. Isaac Sun, DDS