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Over-the-counter (OTC) bleaching systems are take home kits which you can buy at the local store, order by mail-order, or buy off the internet. Usually they are relatively inexpensive costing from $29 - $175.

A bleaching agent is applied to a mouth tray and the tray is then inserted into the mouth for 1-4 hours. Treatment lasts between 2-4 weeks. We personally do not recommend these kits for two reasons:

First, many of these kits contain a standard mouth tray. Because the trays are standard (made to fit everyone), they tend not to fit snugly. Consequently, you may be ingesting bleaching agent. In addition, trays which are not custom made allow bleach to seep onto and irritate gum tissue.

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Second, dentists do not check your teeth and gums when you use these systems to determine if the bleaching process is proceeding safely and to ensure that you are not injuring your teeth.

While we do not recommend these systems, if you do want to take the risk and use them, we would recommend that you do the following when evaluating the wide array of take home systems available:

  1. If possible try to use a kit that allows you to customize your mouth trays to some degree. Some systems come with moldable mouth trays which better fit your mouth. While not as good as the mouth trays created by your dentist, they are better than standard mouth trays that come with many kits.
  2. Try to find someone who has used the system you plan to use and ask them how the system worked for them. While some people have been satisfied with results, others have had horrible experiences.
  3. While using the system, if you ever experience prolonged pain, changes in gum tissue color, or increased sensitivity to hot or cold foods, see a dentist immediately.

A safer alternative to over-the-counter home kits is dentist supervised home bleaching trays >>>>

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