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Instructions for using take-home teeth whitening

Brush and floss your teeth thoroughly before starting your at-home teeth whitening regimen

Custom whitening trays are among the most effective ways to whiten your teeth. Your dentist will fabricate custom whitening trays from molds of your teeth. You’ll also be given bleaching gel to apply to your custom whitening trays. Here’s how to use your custom teeth whitening trays and bleaching gel:

Start by cleaning your teeth

Thoroughly brush and floss your teeth before starting your whitening regimen. If your teeth are covered with plaque and tartar, the bleaching gel won’t properly penetrate teeth surfaces and it creates uneven results. If your teeth are covered in plaque and tartar, you should get a dental cleaning from your dentist before starting your whitening treatment.

Prepare your whitening trays

Remove the cap from the whitening syringe tip and carefully express the content evenly into the deepest portion of your trays. Place the gel towards the facial (front facing) side of the tray, the area that you want the teeth to whiten. There’s no need to apply bleaching gel to the inside surfaces or on the back molar teeth. Apply the whitening gel carefully and evenly throughout the top and bottom trays.

Wear your trays as instructed

Once ready, carefully seat the trays in your mouth. Firmly press the trays to fully seat them in your mouth. Use a soft toothbrush, or clean fingers, to gently remove the excess gel that flows beyond the tray’s edge. This will prevent the gel from harming your gum tissue. Adjust the amount after your first bleaching so that you know exactly how much to use next time. Wear your whitening trays for the recommended time, as per the manufacturer’s instructions. This could be anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight, depending on the strength of the whitening gel and your desired outcome. Be aware that your teeth are naturally darker along the gumlines. These areas may require more time to lighten than the rest of your teeth surfaces, and they usually remain slightly darker even after whitening your teeth.


Removed your whitening trays when you’re done or if you start to feel extreme tooth sensitivity. Rinse out and brushing your teeth with a toothbrush but without using toothpaste. Be sure not to swallow the excess bleaching gel. Remove any residual gel from your whitening trays and store them for future use.

Do’s and dont’s of teeth whitening

Custom teeth whitening requires patience. Use your trays for several hours or several days. Custom whitening trays aren’t a right fit if you’re in a rush to whiten your teeth. If you are in a rush or lack patience, consider professional in-office teeth whitening instead. Never eat, drink, or smoke while wearing your whitening trays. Don’t expose the whitening gel syringe to heat and/or sunlight and keep in a cool place. Do not use whitening products if you are pregnant or breast feeding.

Will my teeth be sensitive after teeth whitening?

It’s not unusual to experience some minor tooth sensitivity after bleaching your teeth. Try using a fluoride toothpaste or a desensitizing toothpaste, such as Sensodyne, to help reduce your tooth sensitivity. Minor tooth sensitivities typically go away within a few days or weeks.

Maintaining your teeth whitening results

The first 2 to 3 days following your teeth whitening are the most important to maintaining your bleaching results. Avoid coffee, tea, red wine, tobacco and other foods and drinks that stain your teeth. A nice trick is to drink your tea and coffee using a straw. Also avoid foods and juices high in citric acids which can cause more tooth sensitivity.

The best part about custom whitening trays is that they are usable. It’s up to you how frequently you use your trays to whiten your teeth. Some people redo their whitening treatment biweekly, monthly, or quarterly. Others only use them once a year. Feel free to use your whitening trays as it suits your needs, so long as you’re not damaging your teeth or gums in the process. You may purchase additional bleach gel refills from your dentist or buy them online. Do not buy unreliable bleaching gel products or anything that advertises dangerously high levels of peroxide content. This can cause irreversible damage to your gums or permanent tooth sensitivity! If you have any questions about using at-home teeth whitening trays, contact your dentist for further instructions.