Teeth Whitening Trays and How To Properly Use Them

Dental Whitening Trays

A fast and easy way to enhance your smile is with dental teeth whitening trays. At McKim and Platt Dentistry of Eugene, we offer teeth whitening trays that you can use in the comfort and convenience of your home. You wear these trays for a short amount of time, and you will notice brighter and whiter teeth in just a matter of days. It is important to know how to properly apply and use teeth whitening trays so that you don’t waste any of the gel and experience the least amount of sensitivity.


Check the tray’s fit and comfort by trying them on without any gel first. Brush and floss your teeth prior to bleaching. Whitening gel is most effective on clean teeth. Make sure the trays are clean and dry before applying the whitening gel.

Applying & Wearing Whitening Trays

To apply bleach to your trays, place a small drop of whitening gel in the middle of each tooth compartment that you wish to whiten. Do not spread gel around. It’s recommended that you only bleach your front six to eight teeth since no one sees the back teeth.

Seat the tray with the gel around your teeth. Wipe away any excess gel that seeps over onto your gums with your finger or a tissue. Wear the tray for the amount of time that the instructions or your dentist recommend. You should not drink, eat, or smoke during the teeth bleaching process.

Removing & Caring for Whitening Trays

Remove the tray and rinse your teeth with lukewarm water. Brush your teeth to remove any remaining gel. At this point, you can apply desensitizing gel if your teeth are sensitive. Clean whitening trays with a toothbrush or Q-tip and water. Store trays in the tray holder and keep in a cool, dry place.

Keep in mind that newly whitened teeth stain more easily. It is best to temporarily avoid tobacco and food or drinks that may stain your teeth, such as soy sauce, blueberries, and red wine.  

Storing Whitening Gel

For long-term storage, whitening gel should be refrigerated. Shelf life averages two years if refrigerated versus one year if left unrefrigerated. However, some brands can last up to two years unrefrigerated. Always keep bleaching gel out of reach of children and do not use if pregnant or nursing.

Dental Work

Dental bleaching gel will only whiten natural teeth. It will not whiten artificial dental work, such as caps, crowns, bonding, and fillings, and you may need to have dentistry redone to match your new white teeth. If you have amalgam fillings in or near your front teeth, long term bleaching can cause the surrounding teeth to have a greenish tinge. Consult your dentist if this is a concern.


Bleach trays will most likely make your teeth and gums more sensitive. Although not harmful, it can become uncomfortable. Desensitizing gels exist for this purpose. If sensitivity causes discomfort, reduce the usage time and frequency of bleaching trays.

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