Take-Home Bleaching Treatments: Is More Bleach Better?

Posted on: 5 November 2018


After a discussion with your dentist about ways to whiten your teeth, you opted for a take-home bleaching treatment. After a couple of days, however, you may be a little disappointed with the results so far. You thought your teeth would look a lot whiter than they do.

If you're really frustrated, you may be considering ignoring your dentist's rules on using the bleaching agent and trays. You've not had any problems so far so think this will be fine. Will tweaking a home treatment get things moving more quickly? Is this a good idea?

Home Bleaching Takes Time

While take-home bleaching kits do show signs of whitening fairly quickly, this is usually a gradual process. You can't expect to wear your trays once or twice and suddenly have dazzlingly white teeth.

Your dentist will have told you how long to use the trays for. This is the time it takes for the treatment to reach optimum results. You'll see gradual improvements every day, but this kind of whitening is incremental. It builds up over time.

To speed things up, you want to use more bleaching agent in the trays than the recommended dose. Alternatively, you decide to wear the trays for longer than you've been told to. Neither of these things will give you any kind of immediate colour boost. The process still works on a gradual build-up basis. However, going against your dentist's instructions has its downsides. What are they?

Home Bleaching Can Damage Teeth and Gums

If you use a higher dose of bleach, then you run the risk that the extra bleach in the tray leaks out. Take home treatment dosages are carefully calculated so that the bleaching agent covers the teeth it is whitening but doesn't spread anywhere else. If bleach gets on to your gums, it can cause burns.

Plus, if you wear your trays for longer than you should, then the bleach is in contact with your teeth for too long. This can make your teeth extremely sensitive and can damage enamel. In both cases, the damage you cause by ignoring bleaching instructions may mean that your dentist tells you to stop the treatment until your gums or teeth settle down. You won't have sped up the whitening but stopped it before you could get to the final results.

If you have concerns about how well your take-home treatment is working, talk to your dentist. They can check that the treatment is on track.