I’ve been using teeth whitening strips for almost 2 months. The directions say that I should wear them for 30 minutes a day. For the first 3 weeks, I did that, but my teeth didn’t look any whiter. So I increased the wearing time to an hour, and now I am barely noticing any difference. Is it safe for me to wear the teeth whitening strips overnight? Phylia
Phylia – Depending on the contents of the gel in the teeth whitening strips, wearing them overnight can irritate your gums and oral tissue, but you still might not see better results.
All teeth whitening strips should be used as recommended in the instructions unless your dentist advises you differently.
Why Aren’t Teeth Whitening Strips Working for You?
There are several factors that can limit the effectiveness of teeth whitening strips:
- Lack of potency – Over-the-counter products are about ¼ the strength of professional bleaching gel you can receive from a dentist. As a result, only surface stains will be removed from your teeth—if the strips help at call.
- Limited contact with your teeth – Most whitening strips don’t fit securely on your teeth. Custom-made bleaching trays from a dentist are made for your teeth only. They keep the bleaching gel in contact with your teeth for maximum penetration.
- Cause of the stains – Stains can be deeply embedded in your teeth. Depending on the cause of the stains, only professional bleaching gel can break them down. Or teeth whitening might not work at all. Fluorosis and tetracycline stains, as well as stains caused by certain medications or genetic conditions usually require cosmetic dentistry to conceal them. Porcelain veneers or cosmetic dental bonding might be recommended.
We recommend that you schedule an appointment for an exam with a dentist. He or she will examine your teeth and explain your options for whitening them.
This post is sponsored by Phelan R. Thomas, DDS of the Iowa Center for Family and Cosmetic Dentistry in Des Moines. Dr. Thomas is the only accredited cosmetic dentist in Des Moines.