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Three Tips For Cleaning A Dentist's Take-Home Bleaching Tray Without Damaging It

If frequent doses of coffee, tea, sugary foods, or cigarette smoke have stained your teeth yellow beyond the power of over-the-counter whiteners to repair, your dentist may allow you to use a specialized take-home bleaching tray with the plastic molded to fit precisely in your mouth. Since it'll take several weeks of wearing the tray with gel for one or two hour intervals to complete the whitening process, you'll need to clean the plastic many times. To prevent damage to the take-home bleaching tray a dentist gives you, follow these three tips.

Turn The Faucet On Long Enough For The Temperature To Stabilize

It's necessary to keep your plastic bleaching tray fairly close to room temperature to prevent warping or hardening that will stymie the tray's ability to fit on your individual teeth. Therefore, to maximize its cleaning ability while minimizing danger, any water you use to wash the tray should be lukewarm.

Unless your plumbing system is top of the line and you use the faucet in question often enough to appreciate its reliability, there's always the chance that a sudden temperature spike while the water stream is still getting established will damage your take-home tray. So before you begin cleaning, keep your faucet on for a minute or two and ensure that the water is staying at a steady temperature.

Use Your Fingernails To Pick Off What Your Toothbrush Can't Dislodge

It's better to clean your take-home tray with a toothbrush instead of a towel because you can exert plenty of pressure with a toothbrush without ever losing sight or control of what you're doing. Since even the smallest towel is quite big compared to a dental bleaching tray, you'll be tempted to completely smother one surface of the plastic while you're using it. Unless you're incredibly gentle, this often leads to scratches and deformities around the indentations your teeth fit into.

However, some areas, such as an exterior crease between two tooth bowls, are difficult to clean with a toothbrush because most of the bristles can't reach it. In this situation, slowly peeling gunk off of the site with one of your fingernails is your best option.

Don't Forget To Deal With Isolated Saliva Patches On The Tray's Exterior

You might think that it doesn't much matter how thoroughly you clean the parts of the tray that don't actually hold bleaching gel. But even here, saliva that lingers too long can wear away at the structure of the plastic, making it more difficult to fit the tray in your mouth without spilling gel all over the place.

So before you finish cleaning, run your fingers over the entirety of the tray and try to feel for saliva. No matter how little you find, keep rinsing until you can get it off completely. Contact your dentist like David Jackson, DDS for more information.