Teeth whitening used to be an expensive, exclusive procedure that could only be carried out by a dental professional at a clinic. These days, teeth whitening home kits are available from almost every drugstore, and there are thousands of different kinds and brands to choose from if you shop online. It seems that everyone wants to achieve the perfect white smile, and with Americans spending more and more money every year on at-home teeth-whitening kits, it appears that many people have already discovered the cheapest and most convenient way to get those pearly whites sparkling.
If you haven’t tried teeth whitening kits at home yet, it can be a little daunting to begin with. There are so many different kits to choose from and there may be questions you need answered before you want to start a teeth-whitening process at home.
What is teeth whitening?
Teeth whitening is treatment used in cosmetic dentistry which bleaches teeth and removes stains and discolorations. It has become one of the most popular cosmetic dental procedures, and can make a huge difference to the overall appearance of your teeth and smile. A teeth-whitening treatment will need to be repeated from time to time as teeth will not stay white on their own.
Why do my teeth get stained?
Teeth can become stained for many different reasons and it can come down to genes, as well as diet and dental care. The outside layer of the tooth—the enamel—picks up stains easily from things such as smoking or drinking coffee and red wine. These types of stains are known as extrinsic stains. It is also possible to have intrinsic stains, which is where the inside of the tooth becomes discolored.
What is a teeth-whitening kit?
An at-home teeth-whitening kit is an easy and often much more budget friendly way to achieve the same whitening results as you would get from your dentist, all in the comfort of your home. A teeth-whitening kit will usually contain a whitening tray or mouth guard, and whitening gel. Some of the more expensive teeth-whitening kits also contain a light, which can be used to activate the teeth-whitening gel and achieve results more quickly.
Each teeth-whitening kit will differ in what type of whitening tray it provides, what kind of whitening gel it supplies, and for how long and how frequently you will need to use the kit to achieve the best results. It’s a good idea to compare different teeth whitening kits before you buy, especially if you are looking online where there are thousands of different options.
What are teeth-whitening gels?
Teeth-whitening gels are the most important aspect of a teeth whitening kit—without it, you wouldn’t be able to bleach or remove stains from your teeth. Teeth-whitening gels contain a type of peroxide which works to get rid of discoloration and stains. If used correctly, teeth-whitening gel is very effective and, apart from an occasional slight sensitivity after bleaching, has no side effects.
How do I use teeth whitening gels at home?
Before you can use your teeth-whitening gel at home, you will need to have a teeth-whitening tray. There are two main options for choosing a tray—you can either go to your dentist to have a custom tray made, or you can use a standard tray that comes as part of an at-home whitening kit.
If you decided to get your dentist to make a customer tray, they will take an impression of your teeth and create a new teeth-whitening tray which will fit you perfectly. If you decide to use one of the at-home teeth-whitening kit trays, these will be of a standard size and fit.
Once you have your tray, it is important to read the instructions on your home teeth-whitening kit or, if you have only bought the gel, the instructions for the teeth-whitening gel, before you get started. This will help you to know how long you have to leave the gel on, and how frequently you need to carry out the treatment in order to keep your teeth as white as possible.
You will then directly apply the teeth-whitening gel into you whitening tray. This should be easy as almost all teeth-whitening gels come in a syringe which allows you to carefully fill the whitening tray. Make sure that you do not put more than the recommended amount of whitening gel into the tray as this can cause the gel to ooze out of the tray once you have fitted it over your teeth.
Now that you have applied the correct amount of whitening gel in your tray, simply place the tray over your teeth and leave the gel to work its magic for the amount of time instructed on the packet.
How will I look after my teeth-whitening gel?
Once you have competed a treatment, it is important to make sure you look after your teeth-whitening gel and whitening tray. If you use a custom tray and supply of whitening gel from your dentist, they will likely have given you specific instructions on aftercare. If you purchase a teeth-whitening kit or teeth-whitening gel either at a drugstore or online, check the packet for any information on storage. The general rule seems to be that your teeth whitening gel will last between 6 months to 1 year if it is not refrigerated, and up to 2 years if it has been refrigerated. Remember to always check the use-by date on your whitening gel before you start a new treatment, and it’s advisable to always have a spare teeth whitening gel refill in your refrigerator in case you run out or want to carry out a treatment before a special occasion.