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Bright and White: The Pros and Cons of Teeth Whitening

By Susan Cody HERWriter Guide
teeth whitening: pros and cons Auremar/PhotoSpin

I signed up for a Groupon about a month ago. I got the Boost teeth whitening system at a dental office for $99 -- a really good price for something that generally costs triple that.

I had already gotten fitted for the custom trays and have the bleach at home but I wanted something a bit more instant and all done in one go. Normally I would stick with the custom trays but the deal was too good to pass up.

The process is pretty simple. You have an enormous object placed inside your mouth so your mouth is as wide as the Joker's smile. It's on the uncomfortable side, especially since it wants to make you swallow saliva every 10 seconds.

The dental hygienist places a rubbery kind of barrier all around your gum lines so the bleach stays off them. It hardens pretty quickly. Then on goes the bleach which is changed every 20 minutes because it's only effective for that long.

After three applications, it's taken off, the barriers pop off, you rinse and off you go. All done in about 75 minutes.

And my teeth are nicely white. Not that unnatural Hollywood beam of light that emits from the mouths of some actors and actresses. Just a white smile that looks really good.

But after several hours, the tooth sensitivity has kicked in and I'm absolutely miserable. This is pain! I'm keeping my mouth closed, not talking much because when air goes in my mouth it's even more sensitive.

I looked up the side effects of this kind of whitening and yes, some people do have a rather painful reaction to the process.

Advil hasn't helped me at all but it seems I only (!) have another 24 hours to go before the pain subsides. I think I'll have an early night, just to make the time goes by faster.

A definite con in teeth whitening.

Teeth whitening has been around since the 1960s but has really increased in popularity since the 1990s. It seems like nearly every toothpaste has some kind of "whitening" component to it and all sort of white strips, gels and trays abound.

Custom-made trays are common and cost between $300-$400 but can last for life. The bleach that goes in them is under $10 and is already prepared in a squirty little tube.

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Add a Comment5 Comments

Robin Fenti

I have experienced the sensitivity and am not sold on the experience. Seems like a slower approach that will not be painful, might suit some people. Granted once you push through, you are done, which is cool. I have a hand held device I use at home named the Pearl. It works well, I get to use it at my own convenience and there isn't any discomfort. It uses a tray with gel that is activated with a micro current. It is worth your time to visit the site to learn more about the science behind the technology.

December 2, 2013 - 11:12am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Oh, no matter how often I brush my teeth and any pasta I have used my teeth were not as white as it should and that bothered me wrong. I always had to be careful when smiling in front of important people because I feel lack of confidence. We found an excellent product in the form of gel pen and I decided to try especially as it was not expensive. Now yes, I am very pleased with the bright white of my teeth and my confidence is huge. If anyone is experiencing my problem recommend Idol White. I bought him at the address below, are very serious:

http://mhlnk.com/811221AF

November 20, 2013 - 6:22am
Sandy5678

The doctor at zajacdental clinic at Oakville once said that the tooth whitening cannot be permanent. The color may fade if we are not taking proper care. The excessive use of coffee ,cigarette ,wine ,etc may fade the color (due the stains from it).You should clean your teeth (at least gargle water) after using such items.However he said that a touch-up after some years can help you in regaining the color.

November 13, 2013 - 11:55pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Yes, I had a similar sensitive experience. Now I begin four days before I intend to whiten (after the initial dentist based application as you describe, I now top up my whitening at home) and I use GC Tooth Mousse Plus (it is a recaldent) every morning after brushing. After whitening I immediately apply Sensodyne Rapid - by finger - making sure it reaches all the possibly sensitive parts. I still use the Tooth Mouse for 4-5 days twice a day and continue using Sensodyne Rapid for those 4-5 days. Your dentist can probably supply you the Tooth Mousse but if not then you can buy it online. Sensodyne - the strong one not just the Total Care - should be available at your supermarket and/or pharmacy. Good luck.

October 17, 2013 - 5:38pm
Marielaina Perrone DDS Blogger

Good article. It is always a good idea to do some research before going ahead with teeth whitening. Not all products are the same.....in terms of results or sensitivity like you mentioned.

October 16, 2013 - 10:13am
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