Dentist Whitening, Veneers or DIY Teeth Whitening? Consider This...
If your whites are looking less than pearly, don’t stress. There’s a plethora of different tooth whitening methods available…but it’s important to keep in mind that not all are created equal. From seeing a pro to taking the DIY route here’s the tooth whitening 101 to your options, with the complete lowdown on each. Read on to determine which is best for you, then get ready to flash that superstar smile. Say cheese!
Pay a visit to your dentist for professional strength bleaching, and you can walk out with a smile that’s up to eight shades brighter! WOW. What to expect: During the procedure, which can take anywhere from one to two hours, a hydrogen peroxide gel is applied, then activated by light, heat, or both. You’ll see results after one appointment. There’s a high likelihood of sensitivity afterwards, which can be quite painful; this can be exacerbated if you have a cavity, so ask for a quick check prior to the treatment. Be sure to also check out online reviews as each treatment varies. You’ll also be advised to avoid staining foods and beverages for as long as possible; this includes not only commonly-known culprits like red wine, coffee, and tea, but also other sneaky stainers, like brightly colored berries and soy sauce. While it will run you anywhere from $500 to $1,000 per session, the noticeable results make this a good option before a major event, like a wedding or high school reunion, and can last for up to a year. To further prolong the results, maintain the whitening effects with an at-home regimen. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that this kind of bleaching works best on yellowish stains. If you’re dealing with darkening or gray discoloration, you may want to consider veneers...
To get teeth snow white, opting for a full set of veneers is the most permanent—and dramatic—option. It’s a commitment time wise, as it typically requires two to three trips to your dentist for consultation, molding, and placement. It’s a major commitment to your wallet too; prices range anywhere from $500-$1,300 per tooth. Still, you’ll work with your dentist to customize the exact shade, and if you’re dealing with gray or dark stains (which don’t respond well to bleaching), this is the best alternative. The results, though not permanent, are the longest; veneers can last for up to 10, even 20, years. Because porcelain veneers are not porous, like regular tooth enamel, they are (in theory) stainproof. Still, if the glaze wears off they can become porous, and you may also experience some staining around the edges, where the veneer is attached to the tooth. For this, opt for an at-home whitening product, but be sure to choose one specially formulated to work on veneers. Most at-home options do not. One good option: the NEW Luster Smile Illuminator Instant Whitening Kit, which comes complete with the instant-brightening Electrifying Blue Toothpaste and the Brisk Rinse, both of which are totally safe for veneers—and will leave your mouth minty fresh to boot.
AT-HOME DIY TEETH WHITENING
With more over-the-counter (OTC) offerings available than ever, there’s no shortage of strips, trays, and toothpastes that will brighten your smile. How they work: Most whitening toothpastes typically contain silica, an abrasive ingredient that scrubs off surface stains. While this is by far the easiest, and least expensive option, it also yields the least dramatic results and takes the longest time, only brightening teeth a few shades. High abrasive toothpastes can also damage your enamel and can do more long term damage than short term good. When choosing a whitening toothpaste here are a few things to look out for: (1) Don’t use toothpastes with harsh abrasives, (2) use a 2-in-1 toothpaste that contains both Fluoride (to clean your teeth) and hydrogen peroxide (a safe whitener that isn’t abrasive).
Luster Power White Deep Stain Eraser® Toothpaste is not a high abrasive toothpaste and does not contain silica. Power White works by using the same safe whitening ingredient as found at the dental office, hydrogen peroxide, plus it removes up to 95% of surface stains in 5 days with no tooth sensitivity, and is free of sulfates (NO SLS)! (Look out for a future post about sulfates in toothpatese...say canker sores anyone? No thanks!)
Strips, trays and at-home lights usually contain hydrogen peroxide—the same ingredient the pros use to bleach teeth. The exact specifics differ from product to product, but most are meant to be used daily for about two weeks, and can whiten teeth by several shades. The thing is, strips and trays can be mess, get all over your gums, and cause tooth sensitivity. Most also don’t use a light technology, which will maximize whitening results. Prices vary, but expect to shell out anywhere from $20-$60. To maximize the results, start your at-home whitening routine immediately following a professional dental cleaning, which will remove any pesky plaque that could prevent the whitening solution from fully adhering to and penetrating teeth.
If you’re looking for a solution with no tooth sensitivity and results in just 30 minutes check out Luster Pro Light Dental Whitening System. Why wait 2 weeks when you can see results the same day? The real seller, Pro Light uses the same light-technology found in dental offices and is faster than other OTC options on the market. It retails on the mid- to higher end at $43.99 and has great reviews! Now that's something to smile about.
LONG STORY SHORT:
- Going DIY is a smart option if (1) you’ve whitened before, (2) don’t have serious staining, (3) are prone to sensitivity, or (4) you don't have the cash for professional whitening or veneers.
- Go Professional if you (1) never whitened before, and (2) have the time and money.
- Go Veneers if you (1) need more than just whitening, (2) want the longest lasting results, (3) want that celebrity white smile (most celebs have veneers), and (4) have the time and money.
With Memorial Day this weekend, check out our Travel-Friendly Packing 101: Essential Beauty Products.There's no reason not to look great and still pack smart!