When you’re done with your daily hour of strip-wearing, you’ll definitely want a place to rinse and brush your teeth. We found suggestions on Reddit that you should start brushing with a sensitivity-fighting toothpaste (or massaging it into your teeth) even weeks before you start bleaching. Our tester was happy to put all the LED parts back into the boxes and go back to whitening with just trays and gel. If you’ve ever had orthodontic work done, you probably know the teeth impression procedure: A dental assistant has you bite down on a plastic tray filled with silicone putty, then after the putty solidifies they send away the impressions to make castings of your teeth. If you want to stick to the more commonly available whitening products, you can still help reduce sensitivity with a specialized toothpaste containing stannous fluoride, potassium nitrate, Amorphous Calcium Phosphate (ACP) or Colgate’s proprietary “pro-argin” treatment. Instructions for shaping the mouthguard were almost always more detailed than instructions for applying the whitening product itself. We bought 13 different whitening products, and our tester used them over the course of three months, focusing mostly on differentiating ease of use rather than the effect of the active ingredients. Sensodyne’s fluoride-and-potassium product is the best-known over-the-counter brand in the U.S., but ask your dentist about specialized products that might suit your particular sensitivity. They work better on patients with straight teeth. Every whitening system designed for effective at-home use is based on peroxide bleaching. While that doesn’t necessarily mean this system is better than other whitening products, it does mean that it has been proven to work safely in a lot of tests. We used Crest Whitestrips and Opalescence to demonstrate the bleaching process but keep in mind that there are many different types out there. We did find lots of conversation about teeth whitening on the web. It’ll stay in place fairly well, but it’s not as easy to wipe off your gums. The timing for when to remove the tray from the hot water, when to put it in your mouth, and keeping all the edges from sticking together was surprisingly complex but manageable. If you want the assurance that comes from the American Dental Association seal of acceptance, you’re going to have to spend about double the price of these strips to get the guarantees of Crest’s famous white strips. Note that the ADA does list the whole Crest – 3D White line as “accepted,” but they also clearly state that from their reviews of published research they don’t think light-activation makes a difference. If you have difficulty making one set of impressions, Sparkling White Smiles includes enough putty to make one extra impression, and they’ll walk you through the process if you run into major trouble. At $1.50 per application, this set is about half the cost of buying Philips – Zoom refills and a set of trays, without any of the fancy additives included there. Yes, you have to mix the putty yourself, but that’s one of the few differences between this kit and getting trays made at the dentist. According to Dr. Van Haywood, increasing the strength of the peroxide solution doesn’t give a linear increase in whitening performance, which means that doubling the strength won’t necessarily whiten twice as fast. When I used it after I finished Invisalign on myself, I noticed a bit of sensitivity for a day or so after but not bad.

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