Does Teeth Whitening Really Work?
There are many ways for you to get a bright smile, with at-home teeth whitening systems getting closer and closer to professional quality. But how can you determine which system is right for you, and how much you’re willing to pay in order to get the results you want. There’s also the issue of how much hassle you’re willing to put up with, and how long you’re willing to wait in order to see results. We’ll break it all down for you and do our best to point you in the right direction.
For several decades dental professionals as well as oral health care companies have been doing their best to perfect the process of getting people’s teeth white. It seems that every few years a new system comes along that promises whiter teeth, in less time, at a lower price. These days it’s still a big business helping people get the same sort of smile that the celebrities have.
Why the Focus on White Teeth?
In the Victorian Era it was perfectly proper to have yellow teeth, it was preferred and sought after. Even the royalty had the yellowest of teeth, and this was seen as a good thing. Having a bright white smile is a relatively new preference by mainstream society, and it’s mostly due to magazines, movie stars, and models. They all show off their massively white smiles, and the rest of us instantly want to have the same look.
Product Review Recaps
Plus White Recap
All signs point to Plus White being a product that works for most people with mild to moderate staining. If your teeth are really yellowed, either through years of smoking, drinking coffee and tea, then you would probably best be served by getting your teeth professionally whitened, and then using Plus White as a follow-up maintainer.
Some highlights of Plus White include that it is a gel based kit, and it is only supposed to take five minutes in order to apply it. Some drawbacks are that it’s not as easy to use as it claims, and there’s a stinging sensation on the gums from the gel.
Read our full review of Plus White
DenTek Complete White Recap
DenTek has carved out their niche in the oral health industry by producing floss picks, and they’ve also given an attempt at making a whitening kit as well. The reviews that have come back on it are mixed, and therefore it’s hard to give a thumbs up to this one.
However, for the price they are asking for it, it can’t hurt to give it a try. The negative feedback it’s gotten has not been overtly bad, and no one has complained that their package burned their gums or made their teeth more sensitive.
Read our full review of DenTek Complete White
Love That White Smile Recap
Now readily available at a target near you, Love That White Smile has been winning fans for quite some time. The overall consensus is that it works, and it’s no surprise that they take a three-tonged approach to fixing your off-colored smile.
We’re joining in on the cheering section for Love That White Smile and they get our thumbs up. The majority of those that use it, have said that it works great, and we love that they include a maintaining regimen so you don’t relapse to your previous shade.
Read our full review of Love That White Smile
SuperSmile Whitening Recap
This teeth whitening system has something that many others can’t claim. It was originally developed by the leading dentist in cosmetic dentistry. It’s a comprehensive program that not only includes whitening, but also toothpastes and rinses to help keep your teeth white between treatments.
This is a very competitive marketplace, and anything that helps you set yourself apart from your competitors is a good thing. They use a special ingredient that is supposed to take away your stains but leave your tooth enamel alone. But we discovered a few potential drawbacks to using SuperSmile, so check out whether or not you should get this.
Read our full review of SuperSmile Whitening
Platinum Whites Recap
Platinum Whites uses some pretty potent gels in order to get the job done. Even if you get their lower percentage solution you are still outranking the brands you can buy at your local supermarket. Their higher concentration puts you on the same sort of level your dentist uses.
But the strength of the gel you use is only one factor to be considered. See if Platinum Whites also covers the other basics, such as how well it prevents tooth sensitivity, as well as how many shades whiter it can get your teeth.
Read our full review of Platinum Whites
Pola Whitening Recap
Pola is a hybrid mix of getting your teeth whitened at your dentist’s office, and continuing on at home. This is a rather exclusive kit that you can only buy from your dentist, but that doesn’t mean it works as well as some of the other products on the market. The level of technology being released in the latest kit keeps pushing the envelope as far as what can be done to whiten your teeth.
In fact some other kits use at-home lighting system to activate the gel and replicate the kind of results you see from a professional treatment.
Read our full review of Pola Whitening
Rembrandt Whitening Recap
Rembrandt tries to find their place in this crowded industry by offering a lower priced package, but still trying to provide high-quality results. They are one of the brands that are readily available at local stores, next to the Crest WhiteStrips. This is why people recognize the name, but does it work the way it should?
The overriding consensus is that it doesn’t do a very good job, but for the price, it does alright. You can see our full recommendation and find out whether you should get it or put the money towards something better.
Read our full review of Rembrandt Whitening
Go Smile Recap
Go Smile comes in many different varieties and is sold at places like Sephora, so you can’t buy it everywhere. You can get it online, which is what we recommend, because this will help you decide which of their various kits to purchase.
Depending on where you’re at stain-wise, and what kind of after pics you want, will determine which kit to go with. This is because they have ones that are designed to get your teeth several shades whiter quickly, and others that take a little more time, but can gradually improve the shade of your smile.
Read our full review of Go Smile
Luster 1 Hour White Recap
Six shades whiter in one hour. That’s the mammoth claim made by Luster 1 Hour White, and is one of the boldest claims made by any of the products. Not even dentists dare to go that bold. There’s only so much that can be done to your teeth in one day, without damaging the enamel. But does it live up to the promise?
Not only is it supposed to give you a much whiter smile in just one hour, but it is supposed to do it without harming your gums or causing tooth sensitivity. See what users have said, and find out whether they’re generally happy or whether they want a refund.
Read our full review of Luster 1 Hour White
GLO is just one of a new brand of whiteners to include a light at home so you can activate the gel after applying it to your teeth. It is making great strides in bringing professional quality whitening to the average person, and at a price that doesn’t break the bank.
The reason the price works is because you can reuse the system, and you don’t have to go back for multiple treatments at your dentist. That’s the theory anyway, so we had to find out what real world trials were uncovering as far as user feedback goes.
Read our full review of GLO
30 Second Smile Recap
While not really a tooth whitening system we had to include 30 Second Smile here, because if you use a whitening toothpaste with it, you could see some good results with it. It is designed to brush both sides of your teeth at the same time, as well as the tops and bottoms. That’s where it gets the name, and that’s how it can brush your teeth 4 times faster.
Many people have tried it out and have given their feedback on whether or not this works, and while we had our doubts and were a little skeptical, it seems that a good chunk of people say it works.
Read our full review of 30 Second Smile
Different Types of Teeth Whitening Systems
There are plenty of ways you can go about getting a whiter smile. Each has it’s own benefits and drawbacks, so it’s ultimately up to you and how much you’d like to spend on your quest for whiter teeth. There are generally three different ways to whiten your teeth: with your dentist, at home, or from a third party that is not a dentist.
Professional Whitening Systems
Dentists are still the best way to get pearly whites, but you have to be prepared to spend big on the treatment. Since it’s a cosmetic procedure, it’s not covered by your dental insurance, so you’ll have to go into your own pocket and pony up the dough if you want the best. Although you may think that a dentist wouldn’t do anything to harm your teeth, you may still feel some stinging in your teeth and gums as they apply the treatment. They are using some powerful stuff here, so you have to be sure that they are paying attention and not applying it where they shouldn’t.
If you experience any sensitivity during the treatment, make sure you let your dentist know so they can alter the procedure or recommend a less extreme treatment.
One of the more advanced, and more popular of the professional treatments is the use of lasers to assist with the chemical solutions to whiten your teeth. The peroxide base is applied to the teeth, and then lasers are pointed at the mouth in order to speed up the process, creating better results in less time. That’s the main advantage to going to the dentist, you’ll be able to walk out the same day with a brighter, whiter smile.
UV whitening treatments have largely gone away, after it was confirmed that they are not safe for both the eyes and the skin, and since other methods are far more effective and less dangerous. The process was similar to the laser treatments that are still widely available, but instead of using a laser, they would aim an ultraviolet light onto the teeth after applying a gel solution.
Using a concentrated from of hydrogen peroxide is the normal procedure used by cosmetic dentists to get your teeth whiter while you’re in the office. For a long time these potent concoctions were only available for use by a professional, but more and more that line is blurring and many of the top ranked home whitening kits have chemical agents in them that rival the pros.
Many times when you see a celebrity get a makeover, they will have a mouthful of crooked, yellow teeth and then suddenly have straight and white teeth, seemingly overnight. This is a process whereby their dentist will remove the outside part of their tooth and replace it with a veneer, usually made of porcelain. As you can imagine, the process is pretty extensive, and expensive. It is also not a permanent fix, as the veneers will need to be replaced in the future, and can also stain just like a tooth.
At-Home Whitening Systems
There’s a multi-million dollar industry that thrives on the fact that professional whitening is not a financial option for most people. By capitalizing on the high cost of getting a procedure done at the dental clinic, manufacturers are able to charge high prices for at-home bleaching kits and whitening products. Some work better than others, and some are just plain dangerous.
When perusing which system is right for you, it’s good to know which types of kits you’ll see, and the benefits and drawbacks to each one.
The use of at-home trays has had a long long history of having mixed reviews. The first trays to come onto the market were not very form-fitting and so they would work for some people, and not work for others. These days the trays are getting better and better, and are designed to customize themselves for each mouth, making them more effective at covering the surface area of the tooth. Some of the most popular and best-selling kits use trays, while strips remain the other successful method.
Whitening strips were at one point the next big thing in teeth whitening, and the Crest brand is still one of the best-selling and popular options for the general consumer. They keep improving on both the ability of the strips to stay in place, and cover more tooth surface, as well as the potency of the chemicals used. Crest even has several different levels of whitening, depending on how bad your teeth are stained, and how much you want to spend. Some of these kits can be well over $50.
Gels had a good run in the market, and their best selling feature was that they could be brushed on with something resembling a nail polish brush. This allowed you to get the precision that is lacking in trays and strips, but it also meant that you had to try and keep your mouth open while the gel dried onto your teeth. Not the easiest thing to do, and if you closed your mouth too early you ended up diluting the gel and reducing its effectiveness.
Tooth whitening pens also made it to the market, and their biggest draw was that you could basically aim it right on the spots where you needed the most work. With this level of accuracy you didn’t need to use a tray, which makes it great for those that had specific teeth that were more yellow than the others, or who had trouble fitting into the tray systems.
Even chewing gum companies have tried to get in on some tooth whitening money by adding the feature to their packaging, but with limited success. Most successful gums on the market these days do not bother putting a whitening agent into the product, and only a select few brands still try to incorporate whitening into their list of features.
Almost every toothpaste you buy these days has added a whitening agent into it so you can whiten your teeth while you brush. These are not true whitening systems, technically speaking, and many users of whitening toothpastes still find that they must use a kit in order to raise the shade of their smile. Some whitening kits also include whitening toothpaste in order to maintain the results after administering the treatment.
One of the new whitening treatments to come out is the use of foams. It combines the ease of brushing your teeth with a foaming action so that it makes sure to hit all the spots of your teeth. This way you don’t miss the crevices and corners that can be missed by trays and strips. Love That White Smile is one of the leaders in the tooth whitening foam sector, and claims to be the only one with this proprietary method of delivery.
You can get those dentures looking like they did on their first day if you maintain them with a denture whitening kit. Luckily these are far more effective, since you don’t have to fuss with trays, strips, or any other applicators. You can just pop them out and pop them into a the whitening solution and you’re good to go. In fact, many of the cleaning treatments will include a whitening agent in them, so you get double duty action.
Other Ways to Whiten
You may have noticed that there are now places popping up either in shopping centers, malls, or around town that just specialize in teeth whitening and nothing else. The people that run them are not dentists, but rather have been trained to administer a whitening process nonetheless. These may be tempting because they are often cheaper than getting it done at the dentist’s office, and less hassle and waiting than doing it yourself at home.
Things to Avoid
The thing that is most important to consider when you go for a tooth whitener is the overall health of your teeth. In actuality, teeth do not need to be white in order to be healthy. Even though people may unconsciously associate white teeth with a healthy lifestyle, off-white and even yellow teeth can be perfectly healthy in regards to having cavities, gingivitis, or other tooth problems.
It’s simply a matter of surface stains and aesthetics, as well as what is socially considered visually appealing. You hope to have your set of chompers well into old age, so don’t go slamming them with harsh chemicals now, or you might weaken the enamel to a point where it causes real problems for you.
Keep Yourself Safe
The American Dental Association has given several warnings about the dangers of using both mainstream at-home whitening kits, as well as off-brand varieties, and even treatments administered by a professional. You might experience things like burning of your gum tissue is the concentration levels of the peroxide are too high. You run an exceptional risk by using treatments that are designed to work in a short period of time, which is where the industry is headed.
If you already have sensitive teeth and wince when things get too hot or too cold in your mouth, you could worsen the situation by getting your teeth whitened. This is because it works on your outer tooth enamel, and in the process of removing stains and bleaching your teeth, it will also wear down this enamel a bit.
You can even wind up with an increased chance of getting cancer on your tongue. It may not sound very believable, as this is not one of the places people typically think of getting cancer, but being exposed to all of these treatments, either at home or at the dentist, can put you at increased risk due to the peroxide that several of these kits include.
Do any Teeth Whitening Systems Really Work?
Most do to some extent but you have to go easy on your teeth. If you have some slight discoloration, try a whitening toothpaste. If that doesn’t get you the results you want, go with a mild whitening kit, especially one that includes a maintenance program to it. If you have severe staining, consult with your dentist and be sure to convey to them your concerns about tooth sensitivity, and using harsh chemicals or treatments during the teeth whitening procedure.