What Are Teeth Whitening Trays? Do They Really Work?


To make your smile truly sparkling, all kinds of whitening methods are used: laser, ultrasound, photo-whitening and special teeth whitening trays. This method is an affordable teeth whitening procedure that can be done even at home by strictly following your dentist's recommendations and instructions. It is very popular as it provides the opportunity to carry out the procedure in the comfort of home, which is especially convenient for many patients.

What Are Teeth Bleaching Trays?

Those mouthduards are specially-made containers that are placed over all teeth at the same time. They are created from a special soft plastic that becomes moldable when heated. This material allows dentists to create custom whitening trays that precisely match the shape and size of a patient's teeth. For their manufacture, materials that are safe for health are used since they are in direct contact with the oral cavity. Typically, the whitening trays are made transparent for easy monitoring of the whitening process and control of results. The material must be soft enough to be comfortable to wear, but at the same time strong and durable enough to ensure consistency and effectiveness throughout the entire whitening period. In addition, it is important to choose the right gel for the procedure. As a standard, it contains hydrogen peroxide, as well as fluoride and potassium nitrate to reduce enamel sensitivity.

Mouth trays for teeth whitening come in a variety of shapes and types designed to provide a comfortable and effective whitening experience. All of them are aimed at achieving a common goal – creating a whiter and more attractive smile. However, they may differ in the material of manufacture, degree of personalization and level of gum protection.

Standard models are a set of plates for the upper and lower jaws, having a set shape and size, and are available for purchase at a pharmacy. For convenience, the patient can use these teeth whitening trays at home. This option is the most economical but is associated with certain disadvantages. Since the plates are standard, they may not fit the teeth perfectly, which can lead to gel getting into the mucous membrane and causing irritation.

Thermoplastic products are an intermediate option between standard and individual mouthguards. Before first use, the moldable teeth whitening trays are immersed in hot water and softened. After this, it is fixed to the teeth and takes the shape of the jaw. They are not comfortable to use, since the gel must be injected after putting it on.

Custom whitening trays from dentists are made in a dental laboratory based on the patient’s jaw impressions. They cannot be ordered online or bought in a store; such trays can only be installed in dental clinics. Although these models are usually more expensive than other options, they guarantee a 100% accurate anatomical fit to your teeth, resulting in the best results of the procedure.

How Do Teeth Whitening Trays Work?

The concept behind these whitening mouthguards involves employing a unique bleaching gel, which is administered onto the teeth's surface through specialized items. This works well in removing pigment spots of various types and origins. Using whitening trays is not difficult, the main thing is to follow the instructions and recommendations of the doctor.

Preparing the trays for bleaching teeth includes removing them from the packaging, and checking their integrity and sterility. The special gel usually contains active ingredients such as hydrogen or carbamide peroxide, which act on the pigments in tooth enamel, breaking them down and reducing the appearance of stains and staining. When the trays are placed over the teeth, they make close contact with the enamel, preventing the gel from penetrating around the gums and adjacent tissues. This is important to minimize the risk of irritation and ensure a safe whitening procedure.

After wearing the teeth whitening aligners for a certain time, specified in the instructions or recommended by the dentist NYC, the gel begins to actively affect the pigments in the tooth enamel. The patient can repeat the whitening process several times until the desired level of whitening is achieved. It is important to note that whitening results may vary depending on the condition of the teeth, the original shade of the enamel, and the individual characteristics of the patient. Nonetheless, when teeth whitening trays are utilized correctly and overseen by a dentist, they can result in a visible enhancement of tooth shade and an improved cosmetic appearance.

Pros and Cons of Teeth Whitening Trays

Teeth bleaching has emerged as a highly sought-after cosmetic treatment in contemporary dentistry. With each passing year, an increasing number of individuals pursue a radiant and pristine smile and the best whitening trays are essential for achieving this.

This method has several advantages:

  • Simplicity and ease of use: whitening can be done at home and at any time;
  • High efficiency: the enamel becomes 4–6 shades lighter;
  • Aesthetic appearance: transparent silicone makes the aligners almost invisible on the teeth;
  • Focus on results: the dentist selects teeth whitening gel and trays based on the individual characteristics of the patient;
  • Fast effectiveness: results are visible after 3-4 procedures;
  • More affordable price compared to other whitening methods.

However, like other whitening methods, there are certain limitations and disadvantages. The main one is individual intolerance. Medical silicone usually does not irritate the mucous membrane, however, allergic reactions most often occur to the components of the whitening gel. In addition, some tooth sensitivity and difficulty speaking may occur when using teeth bleaching trays.

It is necessary to consider that this whitening method has several contraindications:

  • pregnancy and breastfeeding;
  • thinned, hypersensitive enamel;
  • cracks, chips, many fillings;
  • pathology of the mandibular joint;
  • caries;
  • recent dental surgeries;
  • fluorosis;
  • children up to 12 years of age.

The whitening tray cannot be used for constant wear, as it has an aggressive effect on tooth enamel. The results of the treatment can last for a long or short time, depending on the quality of dental care, the amount of coffee and tea consumed, and the presence of bad habits.

Article Approved by:

Reena Clarkson Orthodontist, DDS