At-Home Teeth Whitening Do’s and Don’ts!

By: Dr. Andrew Koenigsberg


Over time food, drink, medication and age can discolor your teeth. The good news is that there are safe and effective at-home whitening kits that can lighten them by as much as eight shades.

Our preferred at-home method is using custom whitening trays with the Philips Zoom Whitening kit. It is a safe and convenient way to get your smile noticeably whiter in one to two weeks.  Unlike many other whitening systems, the Philips Zoom formula contain desensitizing compound that help to reduce the risk of tooth sensitivity after treatment.

 Is At-Home Whitening Right for You?

Almost anyone can benefit from teeth whitening, though the treatment may not be as effective for some as it is for others. Zoom achieves the greatest success in treating yellow staining from aging, tobacco, dark cola, tea, coffee, or red wine.

If your teeth have gray shading from tetracycline or other chemicals, you may still see improved results, though it might be less dramatic. Tooth Whitening will only whiten natural teeth. It will not whiten caps, crowns, bridges, fillings, or any other artificial dental work.

How Does Philips Zoom Whitening Formula Work?

Zoom take-home treatments include the DayWhite (HP formulation) and NiteWhite (CP formulation).  DayWhite is perfect if you want to wear trays for as short a time as possible. It is available in various strengths and you wear the trays for 30 to 90 minutes a day. NiteWhite lets you whiten overnight as you sleep. It is also available in different strengths and also can yield results in 2 weeks. Basically, the more concentrated the gel, the less time you have to wear the tray. However, some people develop transient tooth sensitivity with the more concentrated gels. If you have sensitive teeth, choose the lower concentration gel. You’ll have to wear the trays for more time but will get the same result.

The Zoom formula consists of three powerful ingredients: ACP (amorphous calcium phosphate), potassium nitrate and fluoride. The three components work together to help protect enamel during whitening, whiten teeth and significantly reduce tooth sensitivity. ACP has been licensed exclusively to Philips by the ADA.

Set Yourself Up For Success!

Before undergoing a tooth-whitening treatment, we recommend you book a professional hygiene cleaning for the best results. The gels are topical and work best on clean teeth.

Take-home whitening involves two dental appointments. During the first appointment, impressions are made to fabricate a mold on which the trays are fabricated. At the second appointment, the patient tries on the trays and is instructed in how to apply the gel. The trays are fitted perfectly to your teeth and gum line, so you get safe and effective results.

Treatment involves wearing the trays with the whitening gel, one or twice a day for 30-90 minutes or overnight. Most patients get the desired degree of whitening within two weeks though some people whiten longer.

Basic Instructions

When you’re ready to whiten your teeth, brush well to remove plaque, and then complete these easy stages:

  • Put a teardrop size of tooth whitening gel into each impression in your trays.
  • Gently place the trays over your teeth.
  • Keep away from the gums. Remove excess gel with your finger or dry toothbrush.
  • When the prescribed time for your formulation is up, take out your trays and give them a good rinse with cold water.
  • Brush your teeth lightly and enjoy a whiter smile.
  •  Note: You may skip days between whitening session to minimize sensitivities. This will not affect the cumulative whitening process.

 What Can Go Wrong??

  1.  Filling the trays up too much – All you need is a teardrop size of gel. Overfilling will not result in whiter teeth and just irritate your gums.
  2. Using the trays too often or too long – Follow the directions on the recommended time to wear the trays. Leaving them in longer, or wearing them more often may damage the enamel and increased tooth sensitivity.
  3. You don’t stay away from drinks and food that stain – The tooth enamel after whitening is especially porous and absorbs color like crazy. Avoid dark foods and beverages like coffee, red wine, berries and chocolate for one week after treatment. If you really have a yen for wine or coffee- you can use a straw!
  4. If you are a smoker, it is recommended that you quit to avoid nicotine stains and protect your overall health.
  5. Brushing aggressively can wear down soft enamel and irritate the gums.

 A Few Last Thoughts…

  1. Brush your teeth with desensitizing toothpaste and a soft bristled toothbrush to help reduce tooth sensitivity.
  2. Protect teeth from darkening by wearing the whitening trays 10-15 minutes every 2 months.
  3. Store unused whitening materials in the refrigerator for extended shelf life.
  4. Store your whitening trays safely. Keep your trays away from dogs , who seem to think they are chew toys. Also avoid heat, which will distort them.
  5. Maintain a good oral hygiene routine, which includes brushing and flossing

Call 212.246.8700 to find out more information or click here to schedule an appointment with Gallery57Dental. Follow Gallery 57 Dental on Facebook here!

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