In my day job as an office coordinator in a dental practice, I’ve learned a few tricks of the trade. I’ve also worked my way through a few drugstore products, and I’m glad to share my knowledge! Professional teeth whitening is expensive and time-consuming. It takes one appointment at your dentist to take the impression for your custom trays ($200+), then you come back a week later to pick up the trays, and have to buy the expensive whitening gel ($29 a pop at my office) from them every time you want to re-do your teeth. (The gel does expire and can go to waste if you don’t use it regularly.)
First off, I cannot stress enough the importance of seeing your dentist for a regular check-up and cleaning every 6 months. Once tartar builds up on your teeth, home brushing cannot remove it, only a cleaning by your hygienist can. The foundation of a beauty smile is a healthy one 🙂
(Also, before using at-home whitening products, talk to your dentist. Full disclosure: I am NOT a licensed dentist, hygienist, OR dental assistant.)
1. Crest 3D White Vivid Whitestrips, $29.99 at Walgreens.com
Probably the best bang for your buck if you don’t mind waiting 10 days for the full effect. My teeth were noticeably whiter in 3 days with full results in 10. Crest has other strips that work faster, but they cost $10-15 more. I would rather plan ahead for a special occasion and save the cash.
2. Walgreens Advanced Whitening Dental Wraps (or similar product under another store’s brand), under $20
NOT worth your money. The strips are bulky and made of wax, thus very uncomfortable to wear for the required 30 minutes per day. They don’t work as well as Crest.
3. Crest Whitestrips Supreme Professional, $55+ at your dentist
This is professional grade whitening in strip form. You can only get them through a dental professional, but the outcome is totally worth it. You can find them online, but beware, they may be selling expired merchandise. You wear the strips for 30 minutes a day for two weeks, but the outcome is comparable to professional gel whitening and at 1/3 the cost.
If you’ve tried everything and still want professional whitening, go for it. I recommend avoiding chain dental practices and ones that use Groupon or LivingSocial. You may think you are getting a good deal, but one thing you don’t want to skimp on is healthcare. Make sure you are going to a reputable practice with good recommendations.
Hope this was helpful!