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Best Teeth Whitening Products: Costs, Pros and Cons, and My Personal Results
Many folks today are obsessed with having white teeth – especially Americans. I’ve heard several Europeans say they can spot visitors from the US to their individual countries because of their white teeth. Dazzling white teeth give you more overall self confidence and make you more willing to flash a smile. White teeth can also take years off your age – at least as far as appearance goes.
I’m a whitening junkie. I’ve tried several whitening products and have achieved excellent results. See the above photo? That’s me. Notice my teeth? They used to be gray and ugly. Read below how I got them white and how I keep them white!
BriteSmile: This is a process that’s done by a dentist professional, in the dentist’s office or in a BriteSmile spa. With the use of a gel and a blue light, your teeth can get up to 14 shades whiter in just one hour. The average results are 8 shades. The process is gentle and improves overall oral health as well as teeth whitening. You must be at least 14 years old to have the procedure done. By using the maintenance system, the whitening can last up to two years in some individuals. Prices vary widely but generally range from $350 to $500. You’ll see a big change in the color of your teeth in a short period of time.
Crest White Strips: With this process, you place a film over your teeth. The film clings to teeth, and you leave it on for 30 minutes or more. These strips come in several different strengths and range from $25 to $45. It will take several days to see results, and you might experience tooth sensitivity. I did see some results, but they were not dramatic.
Rembrandt 2-hour kit (now marketed under the name Sapphire): With this product, you wear plastic trays filled with the whitening gel. The trays are worn for twenty minutes at a time, with ten-minute breaks between sessions. The total whitening time is two hours. The newer product sold under the name of Sapphire uses a similar system, but the trays are used for only 3 minutes per day for 2 weeks. Tooth sensitivity might occur. These systems can cost as much as $200. From my experience, the whitening lasts about 6 months if you do daily maintenance.
Tanning bed formulas: With these products, you get a mouthpiece and a small vial of gel with a brush. The mouth piece fits between your lips to keep your front teeth exposed to the UV light in the tanning bed. You place the plastic apparatus in your mouth, paint on the gel, and tan. When you’re done tanning, you remove the mouth piece and wipe off the gel with a paper towel. This is a simple system that you can keep in your purse. I’ve had good results using these. Most tanning salons sell these, but you can get them cheaper online. Prices range from about $20-$50. The downside is that the whitening doesn’t seem to last long.
Trays and gel from your dentist: I always had very gray teeth and was self-conscious about them. My dentist made molds of my teeth and sold me a whitening solution to use with the trays. These were different than the trays you get with over-the-counter whitening products. These were exact replicas of my teeth, so they held the whitening solution right next to my teeth. I started with a mild solution and worked my way up to a strong one. My teeth got very white, but it took several weeks of whitening sessions and very sensitive teeth. When I stopped, my teeth began to lose their whiteness, so I started using at-home products, which did the trick. I don’t think I could have ever achieved real whiteness without first using the system I purchased from my dentist, however. I think the whole process from my dentist was less than $400.
Homemade whitening toothpaste: After you’ve used a product or a dentist to achieve tooth whiteness, you can remove everyday stains like those caused by smoking, coffee, tea, and red wine by using a homemade mixture. Just mix baking soda and hydrogen peroxide together into a paste and use it to brush your teeth. Don’t swallow any of the paste. Cost? Less than a buck.