Your Guide to At-Home Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic treatments that patients ask us about. Luckily, it is also one of the easiest & most affordable.

There are two types of professional whitening offered by mosts dentists: in-office & at-home. While the in-office treatment can be done quickly, usually in a single visit that lasts about an hour, it is the more costly choice. The at-home variety tends to be more popular with those who are on a budget & don’t mind a little delayed gratification.

Two things make a custom at-home teeth whitening from the dentist kit custom. First is the trays. Whitening trays are clear rubber or plastic trays that are molded to fit your teeth perfectly. They look a lot light clear orthodontic aligners or retainers, but are made from most softer material.

Next is the whitening gel. All teeth bleaching products (with the exception of toothpastes) work using a form of peroxide that penetrates the surface layers of teeth & breaks up stains. The difference between whitening treatments is how highly concentrated the peroxide in the whitening gel is. In-office whitening gels have the highest percentage of peroxide (40%), followed by at-home gels (10%-35%), & over-the-counter drugstore whitening strips (10-14%).

Tooth whitening peroxide is a powerful chemical, which is why the stronger varieties should only be used by a dental professional or with their specific instructions. The strength of gel we recom$mend for your at-home kit depends on your oral health condition & how you answer questions about sensitivity, diet, & your whitening goals. We use this information to determine whether you’re more suited for a gentler or a more powerful whitening gel.

Once your trays are ready, we’ll give you several tubes of whitening gel & go over instructions. Here are the basics: push down on the tube’s plunger to gently apply a small bead of gel into each tooth’s space in the tray. Place the trays on your teeth. If any of the gel gets on your gums, remove the trays & wipe away the excess from both your gums & the tray. A cottons swab is a useful tool for wiping away extra gel.

How long you wear your trays will depend on the strength of your gel & the desired results. We will give you these instructions when you receive your trays & gel. You should brush your teeth both before & after whitening. For maximum results eating & drinking foods than can contribute to staining, such as red wine, coffee, tea, & blueberries. In a few days or weeks, you’ll have a brighter, healthier-looking smile!


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