Why At-Home Teeth Whitening Fails

  • February 15, 2016

They say only two things are certain in life: death and taxes. When Benjamin Franklin uttered that famous phrase he left something out: teeth that lose their shine as you age. It seems like everything you do can cause tooth discoloration: drinking coffee and tea, wine, taking certain medications, and even eating certain foods – not to mention smoking!

If you’ve ever tried at-home teeth whitening you’ve probably been less than thrilled with the results. Maybe adding a fourth thing to that list isn’t a bad idea: commerical whitening doesn’t work! There are two big reasons why professional teeth whitening is the only option when it comes to getting a brighter smile and results you can depend on. Whether at home or in our New Iberia or Broussard offices we can whiten your smile and get you real results!

It’s All In The Gel

If you’ve ever tried whitening your teeth you’re probably familiar with the classic active ingredient: hydrogen peroxide. It’s used almost everywhere, and with good reason – it does work! Unfortunately hydrogen peroxide is also incredibly unstable and it breaks down in a bunch of situations.

Sitting on the shelf for too long will ruin whitening gels, as will exposure to sun (think about your peroxide bottle at home – it’s brown!). Even temperature changes can damage whitening gels, making them ineffective by the time they hit your teeth. We want hydrogen peroxide to break down into oxygen and water – that’s what whitens your teeth. What we don’t want is it happening while it’s still in the box!

A lot of whitening products you buy at the store have gotten around this instability by substituting hydrogen peroxide for another chemical called carbamide peroxide. It works too, and is more stable, but is nowhere nearly as effective as good old hydrogen peroxide.

Before carbamide peroxide can break down into oxygen and water it first needs to break down into urea and hydrogen peroxide. This leaves you with less hydrogen peroxide per whitening treatment, and therefore less effective whitening!

Our professional products are designed to deliver more strength, more effectiveness, and more reliability than any over-the-counter product can. Don’t mess around with possible alternatives – we’ll make it work the first time!

One Size Fits All?

Most commercial whitening products involve the use of a mouth tray that holds the gel. That can work, but under very specific circumstances that aren’t possible with over-the-counter kits. Hydrogen peroxide, whether just present alone or starting in a carbamide compound, breaks down instantly in the presence of saliva.

When you pop a universal whitening tray into your mouth you’re letting saliva get in there and mix with the whitening gel, causing spots of weaker whitening or even complete failure! It’s essential to use a custom-built and precision fit whitening tray for any gel-based whitening procedures.

When you come to us for a whitening service that uses gel we’ll build your trays to fit an impression of your mouth. Not only that, but we design ours to seal out saliva so that you’ll get results from gumline to crown without saliva interfering with the process.

Universal trays are also a big cause of sensitivity during whitening. Hydrogen peroxide gel, even at its weakest, can irritate your gums and cause a lot of aching and discomfort. A universal tray does nothing to keep peroxide off of your gums, but our professional trays do. Because they seal out saliva they also seal in the whitening gel. Since none of it is getting to your gums none of it will be able to cause the irritation that commercial products are famous for.

Whitening Your Teeth With Us

When you come to see us at Donaldson 3D Orthodontics for a teeth whitening treatment we’ll start by taking an impression of your teeth. That impression is used to create your custom whitening trays, which arrive in our office after a week or two.

We’ll give the trays to you at a second visit, at which time we’ll also give you the gels. You simply pop them in for a little while each evening, and in a couple of weeks you’ll have a white, bright smile that a drugstore product can’t even touch.

Defy Ben Franklin: Start Today!

It doesn’t have to be death, taxes, and dull teeth if you make an appointment with us today! You can reach our New Iberia and Broussard offices by calling 337-465-4139, or you can request an appointment by filling out our online form. We’re looking forward to a bright future with you!



Orthodontics does more than straighten your teeth! From better sleep, relieving jaw pain and better overall health – orthodontics can help!