When seeking whitening options, sometimes people prefer their teeth just a shade or two lighter. Tray whitening is a good option because it is very easy to carry out.
How does tray whitening work?
The dentist will take impressions to make your whitening trays first. Then the trays, the whitening gel and instructions are given to the patient. The whitening product contains either hydrogen peroxide or hydrogen carbamide.
If you have had a root canal, that tooth will become much darker than rest of your teeth. It may be treated specially with a different product which will be placed directly into the tooth through the filling. This process is repeated until your tooth has reached the desired brightness.
Will it take a long time?
Tray whitening requires a visit to the dentist for impressions so a tray can be custom fitted for your mouth. The dentist fit the trays and give you the gel and the instructions how to use the trays and the gel. At home, you place the tray for 30-60 minutes a day, for two to four weeks until your teeth are lightened to your satisfaction. Some new products are gentle and effective enough to leave the tray in for 8 hours or overnight, which dramatically shortens the treatment time to about one week.
Why are my teeth not bright white?
Actually, teeth vary naturally in colour. A few people have naturally bright white teeth, but more often teeth appear off-white, yellowish, or even almost beige. While these shades are unrelated to the overall health or condition of teeth, a brighter shade may be desired for personal reasons.
Teeth are also susceptible to absorbing colour as they age. Tea and coffee are notorious for leaving colour behind, as is blackcurrant. Tartar also builds up with an irregular checkup regimen and develops colour. Sometimes antibiotics can stain teeth by leaving residue in microscopic cracks along the tooth surface. Whatever the reason, whitening may improve the confidence of your smile.
Am I sure to get the shade I want?
The starting colour of your teeth may determine the ultimate shade you are able to achieve. Your teeth may just be naturally more yellow than they were years ago. If you are looking to change the colour of your teeth more significantly, you may wish to investigate veneering.
Your teeth will at least whiter after whitening treatment, and should stay that way for at least one to three years. Don’t worry if your teeth feel extra sensitive right after treatment, this sensation will wear off quickly.
Additionally, this procedure will only work on your natural teeth, not on ones that have previously received special treatment such as veneer, crowns or dentures. Dentures can be deep cleaned by the dentist. Ask your dentist to recommend a solution to your concerns.
Why not just use a packaged home kit?
The amount of whitening agent, such as hydrogen peroxide, is much smaller in over-the-counter home kits. The resulting effect on your teeth varies unpredictably between too mild and too abrasive, and could damage the enamel surface. While a home kit may save you money, your teeth are a valuable part of your appearance that deserve the investment of professional service through your dentist. For this same reason, be sure to follow all directions for your professional tray-whitening system, and visit the dentist as recommended for follow up.
Will whitening toothpaste work alone?
Several brands now carry whitening toothpaste. These will not change the underlying colour of your teeth.