At-Home Teeth Whitening Instructions and Maintenance
Making Your Thermoforming Trays at Home:
- Boil water in a kettle and immediately pour into a mug.
- Place the tray in the water while holding the tab of the whitening tray for 3-5 seconds. If you keep the trays in the water too long, they will shrink. However, a little bit of shrinkage is okay.
- Place the tray in your mouth inserting your teeth into the tray as quickly as possible. This will not burn.
- Close your mouth and suck in the air.
- Use your fingers to push against the tray to create an impression.
- You should leave the tray in your mouth for about 15 seconds.
- Trim the trays with small scissors so they are only touching your teeth. You can also cut the tab so you can close your mouth with the trays inside.
- Repeat all steps for the second tray. Make sure the water is freshly boiled for the best results on the second tray.
- Brush and floss your teeth prior to whitening treatment. The whitening gel will give the best results when used with clean teeth. You may want to try to wear the trays first without any gel to check for comfort. Also make sure that the trays are clean and dry before applying any gel. Moisture reduces the efficiency of the whitening gel and slows down the whitening process.
- Place a small drop of gel per tooth in the tray. This should not be more than 1/4 to 1/5cc of gel total. Do not spread the gel around the tray. When you apply the gel, make sure not to fill the trays completely. Give priority of the treatment to your front teeth.
- Insert the trays into your mouth. If any gel comes in contact with your gums, wipe it off with your finger or a tissue to provide temporary whitening of the gums. If whitening of the gums occurs, it is very temporary (a few days) but can cause a burning sensation.
- Leave the trays in your mouth for 20-30 minutes when using 35% Carbamide Peroxide. You can increase the whitening time after a few sessions. In the case that you experience sensitivity, do not increase whitening time. Do not exceed a treatment time of more than 1 hour a day. We recommend you whiten only once per day.
- Remove the trays from your mouth and brush your teeth to remove any remaining gel. Continue to brush, floss, and continue your daily dental routine.
- Rinse off your trays with cool water and clean them with a toothbrush or a Q-tip and cool water.
- Store your trays in a cool dry place away from heat or direct sunlight. You may store your teeth whitening gel in the refrigerator to optimize its shelf life. Do not store the gel in the freezer.
- For optimal results, we typically recommend 7 consecutive days of treatment.
Home Care During and After Whitening:
During the first 24 hours after whitening treatment, some patients can experience some tooth sensitivity or pain. This is normal and is usually mild, but it can be worse for some individuals. Normally, tooth sensitivity or pain following a treatment subsides within 24 hours, but in rare cases can persist for longer periods of time in susceptible individuals. People with existing sensitivity, recession, exposed dentin, exposed root surfaces, recently cracked teeth, abfractions (micro-cracks), open cavities, leaking fillings, or other dental conditions that cause sensitivity or allow penetration of the gel into the tooth may find that those conditions increase or prolong tooth sensitivity or pain after whitening treatment.
If your teeth are sensitive after whitening, a mild analgesic such as Tylenol or Advil will usually be effective in making you more comfortable until your tooth sensitivity returns to normal.
While in active whitening treatment, dark staining substances should be avoided, such as:
- Red wine, cola, coffee and tea
- Berries such as cherries, blueberries, strawberries
- Tobacco products
- Red sauces, mustard or ketchup, soy sauce
Whitening may cause inflammation of your gums, lips or cheek margins. This is due to inadvertent exposure of a small area of those tissues to the whitening gel. The inflammation is usually temporary which will subside in a few days but may persist longer and may result in significant pain or discomfort, depending on the degree to which the soft tissues were exposed to the gel.
After the whitening treatment, it is natural for the teeth that underwent treatment to regress somewhat in their shading after treatment. This is natural and should be very gradual, but it can be accelerated by exposing the teeth to various staining agents. Maintenance usually involves wearing a take-home tray or repeating the whitening treatment.