Retouching Teeth Whitening

I whitened my teeth several years ago and would like to retouch them before I have to get my dental crown. This way I can make it into the color I want. The problem is my dentist can’t tell me how to go about this. I’m hoping you can. My dentist has a 33% of whitening gel. Here are my questions. First, how many weeks should I use the gel? Second, for how many hours each day should I whiten?


Dear Audrey,

Image of teeth whitening trays
Professional teeth whitening trays

There are not specifics that work with teeth whitening like that. However, there are general principles. I don’t know exactly how white you want them. The most basic of these principles is that the longer you wear the whitening gel, the faster your teeth will whiten. If you wear them overnight, which is the most effective time to bleach, your teeth will whiten much faster than if you just wear the trays for an hour a day.

As an example, and this is most definitely not exact, if you wear them overnight, you could do in one week, what wearing them an hour a day would take you eight weeks. Again, not exact, and it depends on how white you want them.

The one sure principle, is something you have not asked. You will need to wait two weeks from the time you finish whitening until you match the crown color. This gives the whitening the time to settle to its final color before you start with the porcelain crown.

One thing to bear in mind here. If your dentist was not able to answer these basic cosmetic questions, then how can he or she provide you with a beautiful crown? You may want to at least make sure your dentist is going to do a temporary try-in and let you make sure everything matches in a way that is beautiful before permanently bonding them on. If you’re not happy with the crown, he should be willing to send them back to the lab.

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