For the last couple months I’ve been using a teeth whitener to shine up my pearly whites. I’m quite happy with the results.
My teeth aren’t black or horribly discolored. I don’t smoke and rarely drink red wine, those are two things that can really darken a smile. But my teeth are just a bit yellow. And darn it, I want a nice smile.
I bought a “boil-n-bite” tray set and 15 ml of 22% carbamide peroxide from Dentist.net for a total of about $40.
The boil-n-bite set came with 4 trays… good thing because my first attempt at making a form fitting tray failed. But the next two attempts (top and bottom arch) went just fine. It was a matter of warming up the tray quickly (5 seconds instead of the suggested 15 seconds) and using all my fingers to squish the trays into place. I looked a bit odd with all 10 fingers in my mouth while hovering over the stove.. but hey.
I got 22% because… well, because I’m cheap. 10% is only a few pennies cheaper but is supposedly recommended for “beginners”. Bah. I’ll admit that the first couple times I did it, I had to take the trays out after about 30 minutes because of a burning sensation in my gums, but I’m good now.
I brush my teeth, squeeze about 0.5 ml into the tray along the tooth-line in the tray, and plunk it in my mouth. I usually do both the uppers and lowers at the same time. Though I’ve done my uppers more often because that’s what people see the most. I leave them in for 45 min to 1 1/2 hrs depending on how I’m feeling and how fed up I get with having bulky trays in my mouth.
After about 5 sessions, my teeth were noticeably whiter. Importantly, they still look natural. They’re not monochromatically WHITE but an imperfect and naturally looking white-er.
The last couple sessions haven’t gotten them much whiter, but that was expected. I’ve read that the first couple sessions give the most benefit.
I could have gone to a dentist or Brite Smile but I seriously wasn’t interested in paying $600 for WHITE teeth… $40 was more my style, even if I have to stick trays in my mouth for months instead of a single 2 hr dentist visit.
Last but not least, it very much appears to be “safe and effective”. I couldn’t find anyone online that had problems with the stuff.
update 12-30-05:It’s been 8 months since I used the teeth whitening stuff and I’m still happy with the results. I went to a dentist a few weeks ago and I asked about teeth whitening products. They compared my tooth color to some tooth color swatches they had; my teeth compared to the second whitest in their swatches and they said I definitely didn’t need whitening… though they’d oblige me if I still wanted to give them money. I thought that was a bit strange because before I went in, I was thinking I might need some more whitening. I guess I’ve got a little tooth-color-anorexia. Suffice to say, I’m still happy with the results.