Everyone wants to have a brighter and whiter smile. Drinking tea and coffee, soda, and even some of the things we eat can leave a very noticeable stain on our teeth over time. Brushing alone doesn’t get the job done, and even a professional cleaning leaves stains behind.
Enter the vast array of teeth whitening solutions available at both your dentists’ office and the local drug store. Your dentist is typically your best bet for a perfectly white smile, though not everyone has the extra cash to cover what is typically a very costly process at the office. Some insurance companies won’t cover whitening as it’s considered cosmetic and not so much necessary to your health and well being. No one has ever died from yellow teeth, after all.
That leaves you with at-home solutions, and there are many of them. Creams, gels, trays, strips, mouthwashes, and even special blue lights that activate various whitening agents are available to you at a very reasonable price at the local store. How do you know which one is right for you?
I’ll share my personal choice as well as a few popular alternatives. Feel free to share your experiences and recommendations in the comments section below.
Luster Premium Tooth Whitening System
Luster makes what I believe is the absolute best in-home tooth whitening system out there. Not only does it work remarkably well, but it’s a great choice for users that haven’t benefited from braces and have issues with traditional trays and strips due to an uneven tooth line.
I fall into this category, so when I heard about a tooth whitening system that takes two minutes of your time at home per application and required no wedging of tiny trays over my teeth, I was on board.
Luster’s system is a three step process. First, you rinse your mouth with a special mouth wash that doesn’t taste too terrible. This takes about ten seconds. Treat it like a regular mouthwash, but don’t gargle. It primes your mouth for the next step.
The second step requires that you use a special little brush to apply a coat of clear liquid over the teeth you wish to whiten. I generally apply it to every tooth (top and bottom) that you might see while I’m talking and/or smiling. This doesn’t take very long at all.
Once you’re done applying the coating, you grab a special blue light, smile so all your teeth are exposed, and shine the light on it for two minutes. The light has a timer so it turns itself off after that time, and the effects are pretty noticeable after a few applications. You can do ten in a single day, or perform this as a touch-up process once every other day.
I’ve heard people say twenty applications in a day is not uncommon, and the effects are well worth the extra effort. Still, I’d recommend following any instructions on the box.
While the system itself does nothing to increase tooth sensitivity, it is a bit of a hassle to go through. Unlike trays and strips, it requires actions on your part throughout the process which takes you away from whatever it is you’d rather be doing. If you plan to repeat the process many times in a single day, make sure you’re doing it during a time you won’t have to use both hands.
Crest Adhesive Strips
Adhesive whitening strips are available from several different brands and have similar application steps. You peel the strips off the packaging and apply them to your upper and lower teeth accordingly. Some strips, like the Crest 3D White Intensive Professional Effects whitening system, have a stronger adhesive than others to prevent slipping during wear. This enables you to do things like talk and go about your daily life while the strips are in place.
Some strips only need be applied for twenty minutes at a time while others require a longer application. The Crest 3D system requires that the strips be in place for two hours per day for seven days. That’s a real commitment for someone to make, but the results are very good. I’ve used them in the past and been satisfied with the results after a few days, though I did find the strips somewhat difficult to fit over uneven teeth.
Again, any system that requires putting a single strip and/or tray in place assumes that the user has a typical bite profile. This particular system also increased my tooth sensitivity by a small amount for a few days after using it. It wasn’t enough to bother me, but folks that are a bit more sensitive to begin with might want to consider using a toothpaste that helps to reduce sensitivity. Sensodyne works for me, though your dentist might have a better suggestion for you.
There are a number of other solutions out there to fit your needs. One intriguing process I’ve seen recently involves the use of thermofitting trays which mold themselves to your teeth and make it easier to apply bleaching agents and other gel-based whitening products that require the use of trays.
I’ve tried several different pre-filled tray solutions including the Aquafresh system, and found the results to be a bit less than appealing. Trays rarely fit and seal to your teeth out of the box, so a system that allows you to fit them more securely might just do the trick.
There are also several companies making whitening pens that promise a whiter smile in minutes. I’ve never tried any of these, but feel free to share your experience if one happened to do the trick for you.
Is there a whitening gadget that you’ve used that made your teeth whiter with little or no negative side effects? Let us know in the comments section below.