Tray teeth bleaching technique : What steps are involved?
What is the typical instructions set for an at-home tray-based teeth whitening system?
[ The following overview describes how a dentist-dispensed tray-based teeth whitening system employing a 10% carbamide peroxide whitener is typically utilized.
In regards to your own tray bleaching protocol, you must evaluate the instructions that have come with the specific product you are using. While similar to what we present here, they may contain differences. It is important for you to stay within the guidelines of the instructions provided for the specific system you are using. ]
A tray whitening process is generally composed of the following steps:
A) Taking impressions for the bleaching trays.
While not universally incorporated into all tray-based teeth whitening systems, "custom" bleaching trays, when utilized, provide a twofold advantage. They help to maximize a whitening system's effectiveness and minimize its potential for creating side effects.
What exactly are custom bleaching trays?
As their name implies, custom trays are teeth whitening trays that have been individually fabricated and fitted for the person who will wear them.
How are custom trays made?
The first step involved with the process of creating custom bleaching trays is to take an impression of the teeth and surround gum tissue of the person who will be wearing them.
Then, using these impressions, a dental laboratory will create plaster models. The person's whitening trays will then be crafted directly on their models so to insure an ideal fit.
What do bleaching trays look like?
Teeth whitening trays are usually clear. Typically they are made from a soft flexible plastic. One tray is made for the upper teeth and a separate one for the lowers. Custom bleaching trays are usually trimmed so they fully cover each tooth but come just short of lying on the wearer's gum tissue.
Is it necessary to use custom-made teeth whitening trays?
Although they do offer advantages, not all tray-based teeth whitening systems include the use of custom trays. And because of their availability you may be tempted to purchase one of these do-it-yourself kits rather than utilize a system that does (like those systems offered by your dentist).
We should state that even self-modified whitening trays have difficulty in duplicating the fit of custom-made trays. And in an attempt to help to persuade you that the use of custom bleaching trays is in your best interest, we offer the following information that details the advantages and benefits that they offer.
( Related content: Advantages of custom whitening trays over stock trays. )
( Related content: Custom bleaching tray advantages: Whitener reservoirs. )
B) Placing whitening gel into the bleaching trays.
The process of performing teeth whitening treatments simply involves placing whitening gel into the bleaching trays and then wearing them for a prescribed duration.
What type of whitener is used with tray-based whitening?
In most cases those whiteners intended for use with a tray-based teeth bleaching system are thick, peroxide-based gels (our pages discuss the use of 10% carbamide peroxide whitening gels) that typically come packaged in small syringes or a plastic bottles.
If you would like more information about the whitening gels intended for use with tray bleaching technique, please use the following links.
( Related content: What ingredients do bleaching gels contain? )
( Related content: Why are some bleaching gels formulated with carbamide peroxide and others with hydrogen peroxide? )
How is the whitening gel dispensed?
Small dabs of the whitener are placed into each bleaching tray and then the trays are inserted over the person's teeth. The whitening trays are then worn for a prescribed time period (as directed by the specific whitener's instructions).
As a means of minimizing the amount of whitening gel that is used during each application, the whitener is usually just placed in those aspects of the tray that touch the front side of the teeth and only in those portions of the tray that cover over teeth being treated (i.e. the front teeth).
After the whitener has been placed into the tray and the tray has been inserted over the person's teeth, there will usually be some excess gel that escapes from the tray onto their gum tissue. As a way of minimizing the potential for gum irritation, it is best to wipe this excess whitener away with your finger or a toothbrush. (Rinse your hands or brush off afterwards.)
You should always include your dentist in your teeth-whitening plans.
Because of the widespread availability of over-the-counter teeth bleaching products, many people will be tempted to arrange for and utilize a whitening system on their own. This isn't necessarily a good idea.
For the reasons we outline below, it's always best to discuss your whitening plans with your dentist before you initiate any type of treatments. And don't feel sheepish about this. A part of your dentist's role is that of dental counselor. It is their professional obligation to provide you with objective advice and opinion.
What do you gain by having your dentist examine your teeth before you begin your whitening treatments?
Yes, what you are thinking is right. Teeth bleaching isn't rocket science. There is, however, a myriad of issues that your dentist can only address while inspecting your teeth. Issues whose identification is second nature to them (because it's their business) as opposed to you, the novice. There are mistakes that can be made.
Besides insuring that you are in good dental health, here are some of the issues a dentist will evaluate during their examination:
The dentist will document the current shade of your teeth. They will also inquire about aspects of your health history, life events, and consumption habits as they might relate to the current coloration of your teeth.
Doing so will help them determine what type whitening treatments might be an appropriate and effective means for resolving the staining issues that you have.
- They will identify any dental work that currently exists on those teeth that will be whitened. It is imperative for you to realize that (with some exceptions)
the shade of existing dental restorations will not lighten.
This means that restorations that exist on whitened teeth will need to be replaced after the bleaching process has been completed in order to match properly. Prior to initiating a whitening process you should be aware of the amount of time and the cost that will be associated with performing this dental work. It might be substantial.
What are the advantages of purchasing your whitening system from your dentist?
Sure, it will probably cost more but there are some very distinct advantages to obtaining your teeth whitening materials from your dentist.
- Teeth whitening products, in general, are amazingly unregulated. (Since they are not categorized as "drugs," the FDA does not regulate them.) Purchasing a bleaching system from your dentist helps to insure the quality and safety of the product you are using. It also means that your whitening treatments will have the advantage of involving the use of "custom" teeth whitening trays.
- Your dentist's supervision of the whitening process brings with it a wealth of knowledge and experience. This includes having a firm idea of what degree of whitening might be expected and how long the bleaching process might take. It also includes an understanding of what type of side effects might be anticipated and how best to manage them.
Should you whiten just one arch or both?
One decision that needs to be made is whether you will whiten both your upper and lower teeth, or just one or the other. Usually a person's greatest concern is the appearance of their front upper teeth and some people start out by just bleaching them.
There can be some good reasons to approach the whitening process in this fashion. One of them is related to the fact that a person's unbleached teeth can provide a source of comparison. The contrast between the treated and untreated teeth can make it easy to see exactly what progress is being made. Sometimes this ready reference provides a source of encouragement and helps to motivate the person to continue on with their bleaching regimen.
Another reason people sometimes only bleach their upper or lower teeth is related to cost, especially in those cases where you are purchasing your whitening system from your dentist.
Dentists typically charge for teeth whitening by the arch. An "arch" is dental terminology for either the upper or lower teeth. A person's complete set of teeth is composed of two arches. If you whiten just one arch you can anticipate that your costs will be approximately half of what you would pay to bleach both arches. After you have successfully lightened one arch you can, of course, always begin the whitening process on the other.