Have yellow teeth that you want to whiten at home? No problem! A teeth whitening gel can help in removing stains from your teeth.
It is present in almost every whitening product.
Whether it is strips, pens, or mouthguards.
In fact, your dentist will also use a whitening gel with a bleaching agent in an in-office procedure.
It is one of the main elements in whitening, the only exceptions being toothpaste and mouthwash.
This article discusses how you can use a teeth whitening gel and where it is found in whitening your teeth.
Keep reading below to know more in detail!
What Are The Ingredients in a Teeth Whitening Gel?
These gels primarily work because of a bleaching agent.
This is either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.
Hydrogen peroxide is seen as one of the most effective bleaching agents because it gets to work immediately.
It penetrates your enamel breaking up the stain molecules responsible for discoloration.
Hence, it not only removes surface stains bt also helps in eliminating deep discoloration.
Gels containing hydrogen peroxide are quick acting.
Therefore, dentists use them in their offices.
Because quick-acting also means that they have a higher concentration, up to 15 or 38 percent.
If people accidentally apply it on their gums then it can cause irritation.
Moreover, it also means that they cause more tooth sensitivity.
Hence, in order to avoid irritation, sensitivity and soreness, only doctors can apply it carefully and then remove it.
Carbamide peroxide consists of hydrogen peroxide and urea.
However, it breaks down into hydrogen peroxide and changes the chemical structure of stains.
It is rather slow-acting and safer to use in comparison.
Hence, doctors can recommend gels and at-home teeth whitening kits containing carbamide peroxide.
Slower action means that it is not as sensitive or causes soreness.
Your dentist will take an impression of your mouth to make a custom mouthguard.
Later, you can put a small amount of gel in it to wear that for around 20 to 30 minutes.
Other than the bleaching agents, these gels contain ingredients that can reduce sensitivity.
Examples of that include potassium nitrate and amorphous calcium phosphate.
Both can considerably reduce sensitivity which is inevitable after whitening.
However, it is also important to note that this sensitivity is temporary.
Soon your teeth will be back to feeling normal.
However, these will help to at least counteract the sensitivity in your teeth immediately after whitening.
Tools That Use The Gel
Teeth whitening strips contain a gel attached to the surface of the strips that goes over teeth.
Strips are primarily coated with the gel.
Once you put them onto your teeth, they should cover all of them.
You can expect to see a difference within a few days however, the results can last as long as 4 months.
A teeth whitening pen may look like a normal marker, however, it is not.
Rather it is a tool that consists of a gel with a bleaching agent.
Once you squeeze out the gel and apply it to your teeth, it can cover the stains temporarily.
Unlike strips and other treatments that provide long-term results, a pen is for one the go, fast corrections.
It can instantly cover the stain and can be a travel accessory but it does not provide long-term benefits of whitening.
Anyway, it is easier to apply and useful when you need a quick fix.
Mouthguard or Trays
You can get an over-the-counter mouthguard or your doctor can make you a custom one.
However, if you get a custom-made mouthguard then you will get uniform whitening and there are lesser chances of leakage.
Mouthguards or trays work by applying gel within them.
Once you apply a small drop of gel, spread it evenly.
Then put on the mouthguard to cover your teeth for about 30 minutes or more.
You will have to wear it for at least 4 weeks and more depending on the kind of whitening you need.
Using the Gel
You can use the gel as it is by applying to your teeth directly.
They come with a small brush.
Use that to directly apply it on the stain.
Keep using it for 2 weeks twice a day.
Results last for 4 months.
Who Should Get Whitening?
Before you begin whitening your teeth at home, check if you even qualify for it.
You should not get at-home whitening if you have:
- other dental restorations
- very dark stains
An at-home whitening gel will not be enough to remove the stains over fillings and crowns.
Rather it can irritate previous restorations and disrupt them.
Other than that, whitening is not for children under the age of 13.
Whitening treatments but especially those at home are best for extrinsic stains.
These surface-level stains are usually due to the food and drinks we consume.
For instance, coffee, tea, red wine, berries, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and other dark-colored drinks and food can heavily stain your teeth.
Caffeine in coffee and tea contains tannins that stick to your teeth when you drink them.
Moreover, smoking is also a contributor to extrinsic staining.
Teeth whitening strips, gels, mouthguards and more are usually more effective on extrinsic stains because they contain carbamide peroxide.
On the other hand, dentists use high concentration hydrogen peroxide gel which can penetrate deeper beyond the enamel.
These work on the intrinsic stains.
Intrinsic staining happens in the inner tooth layer.
This is usually because of aging, a fractured tooth or injury, fluoride exposure leading to dental fluorosis or even genetics.
It is hard to whiten them at home because home whitening treatments do not penetrate that further.
In that case, your doctor needs to apply the bleaching agent directly to the tooth.
Therefore, it is important for a dentist to do that carefully without harming the rest of your teeth.
That said, some whitening treatments especially mouthguards with additional LED lighting can reach deeper as well.
How to Use Teeth Whitening Gel?
Once, you know you are the right candidate to get a whitening treatment, you may begin using the products.
Either you can buy strips from your grocery store that fit right onto your mouth, get a mouthguard or apply the gel directly.
Begin by first cleaning your mouth.
Use a tongue scraper or other cleaners to ensure your mouth is free of bad bacteria that can harm your oral health.
You can also add an additional step of rinsing with a mouthwash.
Next, proceed to the treatment as the last step before you go to bed.
If you choose to wear strips with gel then let them cover your entire teeth for 30 minutes.
Repeat using them twice a day for 2 weeks to see visible results.
Follow the instructions on the packaging as they can differ according to each product.
Next, you can also apply the gel directly using a small brush.
However, a more common way to use it is in the form of a mouthguard.
Your dentist can make you custom trays that fit your teeth.
Once, you have them, ensure that they are dry before you put the gel in because moisture can hinder with its efficacy.
Fill up the syringe up to 0.5 ml for one arch.
Place that small drop in the front of the arch of the trays.
You do not need to spread it, neither do you need a large amount of gel.
This much is enough to cover the tray.
Wear the trays and wipe off excess gel that seeps through them.
Keep them on according to your dentist’s instructions usually for 30 minutes to an hour or two.
If there is sensitivity, reduce the time of wearing them. Rinse later.
Side Effects of Teeth Whitening Gel
If the gel seeps through strips and mouthguards to your gums then it can cause irritation.
Therefore, it is important that you wear custom-made mouthguards that fit right onto your teeth.
Also, use your finger or a small cotton swab to wipe the excess that seeps out.
Do not risk using an ill-fitted tray.
Teeth do feel sensitive after whitening however, that is temporary.
Hence, when you are done whitening, they will no longer feel sensitive for a long time.
Thus, gels contain potassium nitrate and amorphous calcium phosphate to reduce sensitivity.
Though, if you continually feel pain regardless, then reducing the time of application can help counter that.
For instance, if you wear your mouthguards daily for 2 hours, bring it down to an hour of treatment or give a day’s gap.
Though both of these are temporary, the best way to avoid any side effects is to get dental treatment.
Besides that, you can use these at-home treatments with your dentist’s instructions.
A teeth whitening gel is an easy solution to whitening your teeth at home.
Though, you should always perform all whitening treatments with the instructions of your dentist.
A whiter smile gives you confidence so do not delay your whitening treatment for a long time.