How do I know if my teeth whitening kit expired?

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image of a man and a woman smiling and leaning on each otherMy dentist was offering free teeth whitening services, so I decided to give it a try. When I went in for the visit, they did the impressions and created the trays in the office. Then, they sent me home with the whitening liquid.

I’m embarrassed to say that I put all of it in my drawer and eventually forgot all about it. Fast forward six months, and I found the trays and the whitening gel still in my bathroom drawer. Is it safe to use now? I just wanted to make sure it doesn’t expire and that it will still be effective.

-Lanna in Missouri


The take home teeth whitening trays should be fine forever. That is, as long as they haven’t been stored in extreme heat, which may cause them to become warped. The only other issue is if you’ve had any major dental work done that may affect your bite or that the whitening may potentially damage. But, if they’ve been stored in your drawer and not exposed to heat, they should be just fine. Try them on and see how they feel. The trays should fit snugly and not be loose.

As for the whitening agents, it is possible that the gel may have an expiration date on the product. However, many manufacturing companies don’t include that information. So, it would be in your best interest to contact the specific manufacturer to find out more information on your individual product.

Most teeth whitening agents are good for approximately a year after it they have been manufactured. It is possible that your dentist gave it to you very shortly after receiving it from the manufacturer. However, it is possible that it may have been at the dentist office for some time. If the dentist stored it in the refrigerator, then the efficacy of the product may be prolonged. Generally speaking, any exposure to light will affect the whitening agent’s level of potency to whiten your teeth. When you open it, pay attention to the consistency of the gel. If it appears foggy or white, it is too old. It likely is still safe to use. But, it may not be as effective and deliver results that are noticeable.

When dealing with any kind of medical product, it is always best to adhere to the manufacturer’s recommendations. There is a strong possibility that they will recommend that you dispose of the gel, but keep the trays.

Try contacting your dentist and let them know what happened. When you take advantage of free teeth whitening offers, many dentists will continue to provide replacement gel to keep your teeth bright and white. They usually will do this as long as you keep up with and are up-to-date on your regular exams and cleanings.

If you do need to purchase the gel again, it isn’t too expensive. The majority of the expense from teeth whitening services is due to the creation of the trays. So, if those are still in good shape, you will be able to use them.

Hamburg Expressions is a cosmetic dentist located in Lexington, KY. Hopefully, this information is helpful as you decide what to do next.