Teeth whitening can be perfectly safe and extremely effective, but some methods are actually ineffective and present unnecessary risks. Social media is full of gimmicky, ineffective, and unsafe product recommendations and whitening techniques. In this article, I will review the best and safest method for teeth whitening/bleaching. This method has been used and investigated since 1989 with no permanent side effects or risks.
Custom Tray Teeth Whitening (Bleaching)
Teeth do have a maximum shade of whiteness than can be achieved, and this varies from person to person. The method we recommend is the safest method to achieve the maximum shade of whiteness possible. It involves the use of a low concentration of carbamide peroxide gel (10%) worn over night for 6-10 hours with an extremely well adapted custom tray. Treatment time varies depending on the initial shade, and certain conditions such as Tetracycline staining may require an extended treatment time to achieve the desired results.
The custom tray is made to form a tight seal around your teeth to keep the gel intimately adapted to your teeth. The precise fit of the tray is critical because using poorly fitting trays allow saliva to dilute the gel material and decreases the efficacy significantly. Also, the proper fit of your trays will prevent the gel from contacting your gums and causing irritation.
Whitening with 10% Carbamide Peroxide Gel
10% carbamide peroxide gel has been used effectively for over 25 years with no long-term post treatment side effects. Higher concentrations of gel may work faster but will not increase the maximum whiteness which can be achieved.
Treatment with 10% carbamide peroxide is recommended for its effectiveness and its proven safety which is unrivaled with higher concentrations of gel.
Step-By-Step Instructions for Teeth Whitening
- Make sure your custom tray is clean from previous use. Never use hot water when cleaning your tray because it will warp the plastic. The best way to clean whitening gel out of your trays is to use q-tips and room temperature water.
- With clean trays prepared, apply a minimal bead sized amount of whitening gel to the front surface of each tooth you will be whitening. The bead is applied in the middle of each tooth and only on the front surface. Applying more gel, or adding gel to the back surface of the teeth will only waste your gel while not improving results.
Important: Whiten each tooth up to and including the first molar so that there is no visible change in teeth shade when smiling.Skip any teeth which you have been instructed to avoid, such as crowns.
- Gently insert the loaded custom tray into your mouth and seat completely over your teeth.
- Use a finger to gently press against the front surface of your teeth to adapt the tray.
- Run a finger along your gumline to remove any bleaching gel that may have squeezed out during the previous steps.
- Go to bed.
- When you wake up in the morning, remove the trays and brush your teeth as usual. Clean your trays as described in step 1.
- Start by wearing your trays nightly.
- If sensitivity is tolerable, continue wearing trays nightly.
- When sensitivity becomes uncomfortable, take 1 night off. Sometimes 2 nights on, 1 night off works well.
- If you have any concerns about your treatment, see your dentist for evaluation.
Teeth Whitening (Bleaching) Video
This video we made for our patients reviews the proper technique for using custom whitening trays.