Guide to Take-Home Teeth Whitening

While many of us have tried whitening our teeth through a new toothpaste or using white strips, nothing compares to professional grade whitening trays and solutions. To achieve noticeable and fast results, the best route is to whiten your teeth with whitening trays offered by your dentist.

How to Get Take-Home Whitening Trays

Take-home whitening trays are trays that are custom molded to your teeth for an exact fit. Custom molds can typically be made very quickly, so ask your dentist how long it will take to have a tray made for your mouth.

Once the custom trays are made, your dentist will give them to you, along with a whitening gel that has a safe level of carbamide peroxide—the main whitening ingredient. The gel will come in a syringe. You will use this syringe to place a small drop where each tooth will go inside the tray. Placing a small drop into each part of the custom-molded tray means that the gel will cover the entire face of your teeth, as opposed to the partial coverage that often results with whitening strips.

Typically, whitening trays can be applied for 30 minutes at a time, twice per day, over the course of two weeks. Talk to your dentist about how long and frequent to whiten your teeth, based on the strength of your whitening gel. 

Using Take-Home Whitening Trays

Here is a small list of tips to help you have the most comfortable experience with your whitening trays.

  1. Brush and Floss before Using Whitening Trays. Brushing and flossing your teeth before whitening them will clear debris from your teeth in order to get an even application of whitening gel on all of your teeth. After whitening, your teeth may be sensitive, so it is unwise to brush immediately afterwards. You should also avoid food and drinks for 30 minutes after whitening. 

  2. Be Careful about How Much Whitening Gel You Use. Over the process of whitening your teeth, you will learn exactly how much gel to apply. It’s important to keep in mind that the gel will warm inside your mouth, and become more fluid, which may lead to the gel moving around in your mouth if too much is used.

  3. Figure out a Tooth-Whitening Schedule. Plan out a specific time of day when you will use your whitening trays. Consistent timing won't make much of a difference in your results, but planning ahead will ensure you don't miss any whitening applications. Work with your dentist to figure out the suggested frequency of use (1–2 times per day), and make sure that you're using your gel at a rate where it will last throughout your weeks of teeth-whitening.

When used correctly, take-home whitening trays offer great results. Store-bought whitening strips can often be difficult to place, and lack the level of power that whitening solutions from your dentist contain. Talk to your dentistabout take-home whitening kits and if they're a good solution for you.

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