Does tray-based teeth whitening really work?
You can expect that a tray teeth whitening system using a 10% carbamide peroxide whitener will produce results.
While it's impossible to know beforehand precisely what degree of whitening results can be achieved (or how long it will take to realize them), after your dentist has had a chance to evaluate your circumstances they should be able to give you a general idea of the type of changes you might expect based on their experiences with other patients.
In the majority of cases, with supervision and coaching from a dentist, a tray teeth whitening process utilizing a 10% carbamide peroxide whitener can be expected to make at least some improvement in the shade of the user's teeth. As you know from reading our pages however, certain types of tooth discoloration can be more resistant to lightening than others. Additionally, the results a person is able to obtain, and the amount of time it takes to achieve them, will depend both on their motivation and the level of compliance they give to their dentist's and the whitening product's instructions.
Teeth that have discolored due to exposure to chromogenic agents (tea, coffee, wine and tobacco products) or else the normal aging process typically respond well to teeth whitening treatments.
As time passes it is commonplace that a person's teeth will darken. In many cases much of this discoloration can be due to the cumulative effect of years of exposure to chromogenic agents such as tea, coffee, colas, and tobacco products. In other cases it is simply the effect of the normal aging process of teeth.
In most cases this type of tooth staining will respond favorably to tray teeth whitening using a 10% carbamide peroxide whitener. This is especially true for those people who feel that the color of their teeth was quite pleasing some years ago but now have found that their teeth have become dingy and yellowed (as opposed to people whose original baseline tooth color was always relatively dark).
Typically yellow to brown tooth staining of this type will respond more quickly and favorably to whitening treatments than shades of grey. A realistic time frame for treating an average case using an at-home tray-based whitening system with a 10% carbamide peroxide whitener can be two to six weeks of daily bleaching with each bleaching session lasting on the order of two hours. It is certainly possible, however, that a person will start to see an improvement in as little as just a few whitening sessions. Darker tooth staining, such as that caused by a person's heavy smoking habit, might take upward of three months of treatment to successfully resolve.
It can be difficult to whiten teeth that have a naturally dark coloration.
Cases where it will be more difficult to get bleaching results will be those instances where the person does not so much feel that their teeth have stained over time but instead were always dark, even when they were younger. As our pages discussed previously, there is a natural and normal range of white displayed by the dentition of humans as a group. It is a fact of life that some people just have inherently darker teeth.
While a tray-based teeth bleaching system using a 10% carbamide peroxide whitener can still be expected to make a shade improvement, in those cases where the inherent coloration of the teeth is naturally dark the degree of lightening that is possible will be harder to predict. This type of situation may require an extended treatment time, possibly even several months. Even then the results achieved may not be entirely what the patient had initially hoped for.
Whitening treatments may improve the appearance of teeth that have tetracycline or brown fluorosis staining.
[Three Animated-Teeth.com smile makeovers that illustrates the treatment of fluorosis and tetracycline staining.]
Those teeth that have been stained by tetracycline or have brown fluorosis staining can be stubborn to treat.
There is no question that there are published case studies that do report a successful outcome with this type of situation (using an at-home tray-based teeth whitening technique with a 10% carbamide peroxide whitener). One does have to assume, however, that both the dental patient and the dentist have been highly motivated in order to be able to achieve this success.
Treatment times for difficult cases such as these can easily range between two and six months. It is possible that, after some initial success, a point is reached beyond which little additional lightening seems to take place. If so, the dentist and patient may be forced to come to the realization that while the teeth have responded somewhat or even significantly, achieving more whitening effect is not likely and the whitening treatments should be terminated.
It may be possible to improve the appearance of teeth that have white fluorosis staining.
The most common form of fluorosis tooth staining is one where the appearance of the tooth's enamel is spoiled by opaque white patches or streaks.
After performing an evaluation, a person's dentist might determine that it might be possible to improve the cosmetic appearance of fluorosis stained teeth using teeth whitening treatments.
With this scenario, the idea is that the whitening treatments are used as a means to lighten the tooth enamel that surrounds the fluorosis staining. The hope is that as this enamel becomes lighter the color discrepancy between the fluorosis staining and the unaffected enamel becomes less and less, to the point where the fluorosis staining is much less noticeable.