Tray teeth whitening systems. (Part II)
Wearing trays. / How long do results take? / How long do they last?
C) Wearing teeth whitening trays:
How often and for how long should bleaching trays be worn?
There are specific whitener guidelines you must stay within.
Since there's no way of our knowing which specific whitening gel you will be using with your whitening trays, it's impossible for us to state a precise treatment time frame (or frequency) that's appropriate for your bleaching sessions.
We can state, however, that for a neutral pH tooth whitening gel containing a 10% concentration of carbamide peroxide utilized in a in custom-made whitening tray (like the typical system dispensed by a dentist) that once-a-day treatments encompassing 2 to 4 hours typically lie within the guidelines of tray teeth whitening technique.
Isn't there a quicker way to get results?
Treatment times can be reduced by way of using a whitening gel that contains a higher concentration of peroxide. The trade-off is that with the higher concentration product you are more likely to experience tooth bleaching side effects.
Either type of whitener, the higher or lower concentration product, will produce the same whitening end point. One simply takes longer than the other does.
When should tray whitening treatments be performed?
Many people perform their whitening treatments overnight.
One option that you are likely to have (refer to your whitener's directions) is wearing your bleaching trays at night while sleep.
An advantage to this approach is that the total amount of the whitener and the total number of individual bleaching treatments that will be required will be kept to a minimum. This is because each application of the whitener will remain in the tray long enough to deliver its full effect. (Overnight whitening treatments can be especially beneficial with those cases where the type of tooth staining being treated is especially stubborn.)
( Learn more : Advantages of performing tray whitening treatments at night. )
Some people will find that daytime whitening treatments hard to schedule.
If bleaching treatments are not performed at night then, of course, a person will need to conduct their whitening sessions during their waking hours. Some people may find, however, that this is difficult because the duties of life frequently interrupt their bleaching sessions.
Since many carbamide peroxide whitening gels have an effective life of up to four hours (or more), abbreviated bleaching sessions tend to waste tooth whitener and end up extending the total number of bleaching treatments that will be required to achieve whitening results.
Another dilemma associated with daytime whitening is that even though whitening gels and bleaching trays are clear, wearing them may still be visible to others. Also, some people will find that their speech is affected by the presence of their bleaching trays. This problem, however, is usually overcome quickly with just a little practice.
In those cases where extended daytime bleaching sessions are used, the instructions accompanying some whitening gels recommend that they should be refreshed periodically by way of removing the whitening tray and adding more gel.
You must read the directions that come with the specific whitener you will be using.
Every whitener has its own specific formulation and characteristics and as a result will have its own recommended guidelines.
As you can imagine, there are a number of factors that come into play when determining an appropriate set of guidelines for a whitener's use (including the peroxide type, its concentration and product's pH). And because of this, you can't assume that all tray whitening gels are equivalent and used identically because they are not. (Our pages reference the use of a 10% carbamide peroxide whitening gel.)
Adjust the duration of your tray teeth whitening sessions to your comfort level.
It is true, if you maximize your exposure to your system's whitener you will see results more quickly. It is also true, however, that with extended treatment times it is more likely that you will experience side effects (most likely minor tooth sensitivity or gum irritation).
While you must always stay within a teeth whitening system's maximum guidelines, you do have the option of using it less so. Yes, less exposure to the whitener means that the bleaching process will take longer and possibly require a greater amount of product. But if reducing your exposure (shorting treatment times or skipping whitening sessions) means that you experience fewer side effects, then it only makes sense to do so.
Along this same line, when you first begin to perform whitening treatments it's a good idea to time the first few so they run for a relatively shorter duration as opposed to a comparatively longer one. This way you can slowly ease into the whitening process and get an idea of how you and your teeth will respond. You can then adjust your treatment durations accordingly.
( Learn more : What type of side effects can teeth whitening treatments cause? )
D) Monitoring the progress of your tooth whitening process.
One of the benefits of purchasing a tray teeth whitening system from your dentist is that they will appoint you for periodic follow-up appointments during the course of your bleaching activities. They do so so they can monitor your whitening progress and address any side effects you have encountered.
Bleaching treatments are usually continued until that point in time when you and your dentist have become satisfied with the color change that has taken placed, or until a point is reached where no more whitening effect seems to occur. After evaluating the current state of your progress, your dentist will, if they feel that more whitening is possible, dispense additional whitener to you.
At each follow-up appointment your dentist will ask you if you have experienced any side effects from the bleaching process. If you have, they will make recommendations regarding ways to address and manage them. This does not mean that if you are experiencing side effects you should wait until your next scheduled appointment to bring them to your dentist's attention. You should always feel free to contact your dentist regarding any problems or difficulties you have encountered.
E) Ending your at-home teeth bleaching treatments.
An advantage of involving your dentist in the whitening process is that they can help you determine a reasonable stopping point for your whitening activities. Typically there is a point where either a pleasing tooth shade has been reached, or else no more whitening effect seems to occur (or both).
Once the whitening process has been terminated there is often a period, possibly two weeks or so, during which the shade of your teeth may relapse slightly before stabilizing. Once stabilization has occurred, you and your dentist can make plans to begin the process of replacing your existing dental work so it matches the new shade of your teeth.
How long does tray teeth whitening take?
The treatment period required for a tray teeth whitening system will vary depending on a number of factors, among them the concentration of peroxide whitener being used and the type of staining that exists. Some tooth discoloration is simply more resistant to treatment than others.
Blue-grey tetracycline staining and brown fluorosis staining have a reputation for being stubborn and requiring extended treatment periods.
Tooth yellowing caused by foods, beverages, smoking, or the normal aging process, as well as mild fluorosis staining and slight darkening caused by tooth trauma, are typically easier to remedy.
For the most part, those patients included in this latter group will typically find that bleaching treatments (utilizing a 10% carbamide peroxide whitening gel) lasting at least two hours over the course of a two week period will produce 90% of the whitening effect they ultimately achieve.
While extended treatment periods may be required for relatively more difficult cases, for comparatively simple cases the bleaching end point (that point at which no further lightening effect is noticed) is typically reached after six weeks of treatment.
( Learn more : Types of teeth stains. / When can whitening treatments help? )
How long will the whitening results last?
Those tooth-lightening effects that a person achieves can last somewhat indefinitely but in most cases a "satisfactory" shade change is typically found to last on the order of one to three years.
One study (Leonard, 1998) found that 42% of the persons who had under gone the bleaching process were still satisfied with the shade of their teeth seven years later. Possibly more importantly, no one in the study, including those who were not happy with their current tooth shade, felt that their teeth had regressed all the way back to their original pre-bleaching color.
How often will touch-up whitening treatment be required?
As you know from reading our pages, there are numerous factors that can cause tooth staining. And even though a person's teeth have been whitened these processes will continue to occur.
Those people who have a relatively heavy exposure to chromogenic agents (such as coffee, tea, colas and tobacco products) can expect that they will need to perform touch-up whitening treatments somewhat frequently. Possibly as often as every six months. For other people, such as those with a much lower exposure to these stain agents, touch-up whitening will probably be needed much less frequently.
As compared to the first go around, touch-up whitening is typically an easier affair. The process should encompass a much shorter time frame and require much less product.
( Learn more : Touch-up teeth whitening treatments. )