Can I Use My Retainer As Whitening Trays?

November 07, 2018

Can I Use My Retainer As Whitening Trays?

Retainers, Invisalign, night guards. We get asked constantly whether they will pass off as whitening trays. Whilst it would be great if our dental mouthguards were multi-use, each dental mouthguard is designed for a specific reason and hence should not be used for its non-intended purpose.


Retainers are made for the purpose of keeping your teeth in their current position. They are made from a plastic much harder than custom whitening trays. To keep your teeth secure they are also made to fit tightly on the teeth with a very minimal amount of giving. Invisalign is very similar. Since Invisalign are guards made to gradually mould and shape your teeth they are often even more tightly designed.


Why does it matter how tight they fit against your teeth?

The major difference between dental guards such as Invisalign and retainers is the tight fit compared to the flexible material of whitening trays that provide your teeth with a little bit of room. If you were to apply your whitening gel to these trays and then go about whitening your teeth, the guard would be so securely fit to your teeth that all of the gel would just seep out. This obviously would provide you with ineffective results. But, it could also put you at a high risk of gum burn or irritation. Whitening trays are designed to hold the gel in all of the right spots, and people still get gum burn. Other guards aren’t designed to protect your gums. It’s also likely that as the gel seeps out of your teeth it will gather and rub against your gums, causing all kinds of pain and discomfort.


Why don’t night guards work?

Night guards share all of the same issues as retainers and Invisalign. With an added issue, some night guards are designed to only reach halfway up your teeth. This is to assist with comfort during the night. However, as you can imagine, no one wants to only whiten half of their teeth. Night guards are also expensive pieces of plastic. Is it worth the risk of damaging it in the hunt for whiter teeth?