woman putting in teeth whitening tray

How Custom Whitening Trays Brighten Your Smile

If you avoid smiling because your teeth aren't as white as they could be, you do have safe and simple options to improve your smile alongside brushing and flossing. One option is a bleaching procedure that uses custom whitening trays to put that healthy look back into your mouth without the expense of costly, generic cosmetic treatment. Here's what you need to know about whitening your teeth with custom trays that are made just for you.

Why Custom Trays?

Many over-the-counter products are available for whitening teeth without dentist supervision. However, for the most effective and safest whitening treatment, the American Academy of Comestic Dentistry recommends using custom-fitted mouth trays made by your dentist. Tooth-whitening gel can leak out of ill-fitting trays causing irritation to your gums, as well as not whitening as efficiently as custom trays. With trays that specifically fit your mouth and bite, you can avoid these problems.

At-Home Whitening Process

Before starting the whitening process, your dentist will want to clean your teeth and treat any existing dental problems like decay or gum disease. The next step is making your custom trays – sometimes called stents or custom bleach splints. After taking an impression of your teeth, your dentist will use the molds to make the trays. This usually takes a couple of days, according to cosmetic dentist, Dr. Kenneth Loeffler.

Your dentist will instruct you to place a small amount of the bleaching solution into the clear trays and wear the trays for up to four hours a day for one to two weeks. Patients are often amazed at how much whitening takes place during this time, and an occasional treatment now and then is all you'll need to keep your teeth looking their best.

Side Effects

Bleaching your teeth is an easy, painless procedure that is safe for your teeth and existing dental work. Occasionally, patients do notice some tooth sensitivity to cold during the course of at-home whitening. Within one to three days after completing the whitening process, however, your sensitivity usually disappears and you'll be back to eating ice cream. If any sensitivity persists, check with your dentist to rule out any other dental problems.

Shine On

Naturally, those with shiny white teeth and a brilliant smile want to keep it that way. Here's how:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with a whitening toothpaste like Colgate® Optic White®.
  • Floss daily.
  • Avoid foods and drinks that stain your teeth, such as coffee, tea, wine, carrots, blueberries and other dark-colored foods.
  • Schedule regular cleaning appointments.
  • Avoid smoking or chewing tobacco.
How your teeth look when you smile is important to everyone – regardless of age. So, if you've been wishing your teeth were a bit brighter, talk to your dentist about custom whitening trays to put that zest back into your smile.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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