Everyone dreams of snow-white smiles. But coffee and red wine ruin that dream.
Teeth whitening is the perfect way to enjoy your sinful pleasures while keeping your teeth whiter. But there are many myths about the practice. One group of people swear by it, while another group vehemently opposes it.
We are here to answer all your questions and tell you how to use teeth whitening gel effectively.
What really makes your teeth whiter?
Teeth whitening uses a gel and an activating light to remove stains and improve the color of teeth. You can use both whitening and non-whitening gels.
Non-whitening products simply remove debris from the surface of the teeth. So the consequences will not be so dramatic. The whitening gel contains hydrogen peroxide or carbamide. This is a bleach.
The activating light heats up the gel, which makes whitening more effective. Thus, you can return home with whiter teeth in about an hour.
Whitening only works on natural teeth. Do not facilitate the work of artificial teeth.
Dental whitening gels at the dentist vs. at home
It is always recommended to trust the experts when it comes to any medical procedure. Even if you’re using an at-home teeth whitening system, you should consult your dentist first. They can come up with a personal dental treatment plan for you.
The major difference between dental whitening gels at the dentist vs. at home is the strength of the gel. The gel used by dentists can have 35% – 45% peroxide in it. More the peroxide, the faster the whitening.
So within an hour-long session, you could have up to three – eight shades brighter teeth.
At-home whitening gels have 3% – 20% peroxide. Though it takes longer to see results, it’s safer for inexperienced people to use the lower concentration gel.
How to Use At-Home dental Whitening Gels?
The first step should always be a dentist consultation. They will let you know if you’re a good candidate for teeth whitening at home. They will recommend effective whitening kits.
They can also custom-make trays for your teeth. This will help increase the efficiency of the treatment.
Most kits come with two trays for your jaws. It will also have the whitening gel. Some kits also have an LED light similar to the ones used by dentists.
Step 1: Thoroughly clean your teeth. You should brush and floss your teeth before applying the trays. This increases the effectiveness of the gel.
Step 2: Apply the whitening gel for your teeth to the tray. Most teeth whitening gels come in syringes. This makes it easier to line the tray. Make sure to not overfill the tray. If the gel touches your gums, it could cause irritation.
Step 3: Firmly attach the trays to your teeth. If any gel oozes out, wipe it off immediately. The wearing time for the tray changes based on the strength of the gel. But typically, you can wear the tray for 30 minutes – 1 hour per day.
If the kit also has an LED, shine the light on the tray per kit instructions. You may want to shield your eyes in case you’re sensitive to light.
Step 4: After the treatment duration, remove the trays and clean your teeth with cold water to remove stains. Don’t eat anything for at least 1 hour after the treatment. That’s why people prefer to use the kit before bedtime.
You should also clean the trays with cold water before storing them.
Tips for Effective Use
- Using extra gel doesn’t mean getting whiter teeth quicker. Make sure not to overfill the tray.
- You can store the gel in the refrigerator to increase its shelf life.
- Avoid smoking or eating food that stains your teeth, like tea or coke, during the treatment process.
- You can supplement the gel whitening treatment by also using a whitening toothpaste. But some kinds of toothpaste are too abrasive. So consult your dentist first before using it.
1. Are there any side effects?
There are no long-standing side effects to teeth whitening treatments. But, any product with peroxide, like the gel, can cause irritation in your gums. The irritation gets exacerbated if you use too much gel or an ill-fitting tray.
So always begin teeth whitening treatment at home with a trip to the dentist.
2. Will it affect my enamel?
Unless you have sensitive teeth or worn-down enamel, the whitening gel won’t affect your teeth. If you do have tooth sensitivity, consult the doctor before starting the treatment.
They can recommend kits with lower concentration gels that won’t aggravate the issue.
3. How often should I whiten my teeth with gel?
Most at-home teeth whitening kits have low-strength gel. So you can use them once a day daily for 10-15 days. If you start experiencing any irritation, stop usage and consult a doctor immediately.
4. What happens if you leave whitening gel on too long?
The effect of leaving the gel on for too long changes based on the active ingredient in the gel. A hydrogen peroxide-based gel is the safest. It won’t weaken your teeth or gums. But it may cause mild sensitivity.
If your gel has sodium chlorite in it, then beware. This ingredient can break down your enamel and make your teeth weaker. So always follow the box and dentists’ instructions when using a teeth whitening kit.
5. Am I a good candidate?
Teeth whitening is an effective treatment for most people. If you have yellowish teeth that are stained due to food, then a whitening treatment will help you. It works but is less effective for people with brown teeth.
But if you have veneers, implants, or discolouration due to medication or injury, then teeth whitening will not work for you.
Safety is the priority. So always consult a certified dentist before you being the teeth whitening treatment.