Tooth whitening has become a successful popular part of common cosmetic treatments, and there are various methods that can be used. Some of these require professional treatment and others are publicised as being effective in home use.
Teeth Whitening Methods
Whether the process is carried out professionally or undertaken at home using one of the widely-available ‘over the counter’ kits, the common link is bleaching. Different specialist gels are used to bleach teeth, using either carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide.
Because the gels applied to the teeth can cause damage to gums and mouth, protective trays are needed to prevent the gels from causing damage during the process. In professional treatment, these are tailor-made by a professional.
In professional treatment, whitening gels are applied to the teeth and left for different periods of time dictated by the process being used. In some cases gels can be left on teeth for up to eight hours; this reduces the overall period needed to achieve whitening. The process does not have to be restricted to a clinic and can continue at home after professional application.
The use of laser-generated light can speed up the process of whitening. The laser light activates and promotes the whitening properties of the gel applied to the teeth, making it a shorter process.
In home whitening, the process is similar, with a whitening gel being applied by the user in the home environment. A protective gum shield is usually supplied in most home-whitening kits.
The Importance of Protective Trays in Teeth Whitening
Even the healthiest of gums are sensitive to attack from potentially harmful agents, and the gels used to achieve the whitening of teeth are just that. They are powerful bleaching agents designed to whiten teeth. It is therefore essential that gums, and indeed the whole of the mouth, are protected from contact with the potentially harmful bleaching agents.
When receiving professional treatment, a patient will have the safety of a tray, or guard, moulded specifically to the shape of the patient’s gums and mouth. This ensures the maximum degree of prevention of bleaching agents coming into contact with gums and mouth.
The trays provided with home tooth whitening kits cannot provide a tailor-made fit between tray gums and mouth. There is therefore the potential for the bleaching agent used to come into contact with the gums and mouth.
Potential Harmful Effects of Ill-Fitting Trays in the Whitening of Teeth
If a tray used in tooth whitening does not fit perfectly and the whitening gel comes into contact with the gums or mouth, it can cause serious and painful damage. This can include blistering and soreness to both gums and the interior of the mouth.
The times recommended for whitening gels to be left on teeth during a home-whitening kit process may vary according to the type of gel being used. The longer the gel is on the teeth, the greater the potential for larger amounts of it to find its way onto gums and into the mouth because of an ill-fitting tray.
Tooth whitening gels can cause painful damage to gums and the mouth if they are not properly protected. The tray used during the process is of vital importance in achieving this, and only a professionally-created protective tray can guarantee protection from damage.