Many of us obsess over our appearance. Whether it is about maintaining the perfect physique or never allowing a gray hair to peek through, looks are important to our own self-image. However, how we present ourselves to the public has other significant implications and consequences, such as getting that dream job to landing a date with that special someone you have had your eye on.
Yet, with all this effort to put our best foot forward to impress others, we do not want to neglect that one physical feature that is often the first thing others notice about us. This is our teeth. Whether we have a gap in our teeth, crooked teeth or another dental imperfection, most of us are most concerned about our pearly whites when we speak or smile. In fact, in 2011, Americans spent over a billion dollars on an array of dental whitening systems in hopes of achieving the perfect smile. Yet the cost of whitening your teeth does not always have to be exorbitant.
Teeth Whitening Systems
Not all over-the-counter teeth whiteners are created equal. The top of the line approach to whitening you teeth at home uses a systematic approach. There are a number of these home whitening systems, and they range in effectiveness, which is often determined by how much you are willing to spend. These kits can do a fairly decent job of lightening the shade of your natural teeth by one or more shades, providing a noticeable difference. It is best to remember that these systems will not whiten caps or crowns.
If you are willing to spend a little bit more, (around $275 from Sephora) consider the GLO Device that has been hailed as a breakthrough as a home whitening system that is comparable to more expensive professional whitening options offered by your dentist. The GLO Device is used with the GLO Brilliant Whitening Gels and Mouthpiece. It uses a bright bluish light to warm the applied gel. Using treatments over a period of five days, the GLO Device produces long lasting results.
Professional Dental Whitening
Of course, if you are looking for a noticeable difference fast, nothing beats a professional teeth cleaning and whitening regimen done by your dentist. Cosmetic dentistry is big business as more and more people are in search of the perfect smile. Dentists use heat along with light or lasers to bleach your teeth whiter.
Still, even though this process gets results quickly, the time period for your treatments may vary. Depending on the current condition of your teeth and the shade you want to achieve, you may need multiple visits to your dentist to get the result you want. It is necessary to discuss your expectations with your dentist. Office treatments range in cost based on the type you have, but can run anywhere from 300 to 1200 dollars.
Gels and Whitening Strips
Whitening gels are peroxide based whiting agents that are applied to the teeth. In some cases, these gels are applied with a brush in daily treatments. The whitening strips contain the same active agents as the gels, but are worn over the teeth for a two-week period. The results will last up to four months without repeating the treatment. Both the gels and strips cost from 20 to 50 dollars.
Several mouthwashes also claim to whiten teeth. This type of mouthwash contains hydrogen peroxide. The user swishes the mouthwash around in the mouth as usual. After a few months, the teeth will be noticeably whiter. However, the resulting improvement is not as great as some other methods. These mouthwashes range in price from 20 to 40 dollars.
Your mother probably told you that if you want whiter teeth, brush your teeth every day with baking soda. There is, in fact, wisdom in mom’s advice. Baking soda helps to remove the yellow plaque and tartar that builds up from food, coffee, tea and smoking. Since baking soda does not have a bleaching agent, you will probably not achieve the bright white you might from other treatments. Baking soda can be purchased for a dollar or two.
Many toothpastes include a whitening agent that, over time, can help to whiten your teeth and maintain your smile as well as promote overall dental health. However, since these toothpastes, like backing soda, do not contain bleaching agents, the results may not be all you hope. These toothpastes generally are 20 dollars or less, although some brands are pricier.