Everyone wants to have white teeth, right? I recently got my braces off and instantly noticed that my teeth were looking a little...dingy. I wanted to whiten my teeth to remove the five years of stains that having braces left but I also knew that I had to have some cosmetic dentistry done and they would match the color to whatever my teeth were and I didn't want that color to be yellow. However, I also didn't want to spend a lot and didn't have a lot of time. I ended up using four different products with varying success and I wanted to share my experience in hopes of saving you all some money in the future. I've ranked them from worst to best so let's jump in and see how it went!
Walgreens Express Whitening Kit
This was the first product I tried. This kit runs for around $20 at Walgreens and consists of two sets of whitening trays (top and bottom) that you wear for twenty-five minutes each, along with whitening rinses. I noticed absolutely no whitening with this product. Even worse, I had quite a bit of pain in my gums while using it and after finishing the long process, I noticed that the gums around my bottom center teeth had some serious damage. It looked as though my gums there had a chemical burn and it was quite painful. Luckily, it healed over night and didn't seem to leave permanent damage (your mouth heals quickly) but I will never ever use this again and I wouldn't recommend this to my worst enemy. A painful waste of my twenty hard earned dollars.
PlusWhite 5 Minute Speed Whitening Gel
I honestly couldn't tell you if this product has any whitening effects because I only used it one time. It was so incredibly uncomfortable and gross, I couldn't stand to use it again! I guess that was another $7 of mine down the drain. I don't know what's up with this one but it foams while it's in your mouth and it feels like you have rabies or something. And it only comes with the tube of whitening gel but no way to apply it!
Here you can see on the box that it suggests using a cotton swab, a mouth tray, or your toothbrush. At the time I did this, I had an upper and lower Invisalign-like Essix retainer so I used that but it was just so awful in the way it foamed that I spit it all out and rinsed it away right at the five minute mark. My husband Brian also tried this one and found it horrible and gross as well. I don't recommend this product either.
CVS 5 Minute Whitening Kit
This CVS Whitening Kit runs around $6 - $7 and comes with a "tray", which is more like a weird bite guard. You squeeze the gel into the tray and then bite down on it. The whitening claims to start working after five minutes and you should see results in as little as three days.
Brian and I both bought one of these kits and tried them out. We used nearly an entire tube of the gel and I used it for about two weeks. He used it for about one week. We both noticed some subtle whitening and neither of us had any sensitivity on our teeth or gums. It seemed to remove the surface stains but not those deep down stains, which are what can really make your teeth look less white. I think this product was okay, and below I've included some photos to show the results. At the time I went in for my dental work, the hygienist actually decided to make my dental work whiter than my actual teeth because she was afraid they would be too dark. So I guess that tells you that this stuff wasn't great. I will probably keep it and finish the tube in between deeper whitenings just for a touch up but I wouldn't repurchase this.
Crest 3D Whitestrips Luxe Professional Effects
Frustrated with spending a bunch of money on products that didn't work, I finally decided to go with the Crest 3D Whitestrips. At the time that I bought these, I had already had my dental work done and I had two teeth that were noticeably whiter than the rest. The hygienist assured me that it would be best to just whiten the rest of my teeth until they matched. For anyone who is wondering, it's apparently fine to whiten most dental work (of course, check with your dentist first) without damaging it. It's just that only natural teeth can be whitened so you'll want to be sure everything matches.
We bought our box at Target for $49.99 and they actually had a promotional box of fifty strips (twenty-five treatments) for the price of forty strips. We chose this type of Whitestrips because they had the largest strip for your bottom teeth compared to less expensive styles. Brian and I agreed that we would split the box and just see if we saw any results, since Crest has a money back guarantee on this product if you're not satisfied. We figured if we weren't happy, at least this time we weren't out any money. I used thirteen days of treatments on top and bottom and he used twelve treatments on top and bottom. Even with not using the entire box as you're advised, Brian and I noticed visibly whiter teeth in about three days and way whiter in seven days. We were both really satisfied and we're actually going to buy another box. (The box isn't meant to be split for two people so one more box would make a total treatment for both of us.) We had taken a break for a few weeks because we did both notice a bit of increased sensitivity to cold on our teeth after about ten days.
If you're not familiar with the Crest Whitestrips, in this box, we got twenty-five packets like the ones you see above. In each packet is a top strip and a bottom strip attached to a clear sheet. (See below.) You stick them on your teeth and keep them on for thirty minutes. They stick really well and you can talk like normal and even drink water while you whiten. We both did one treatment per day and found it really easy to just put them on before showering and take them off thirty minutes later. And most importantly, they really work! I would recommend them to anyone who wants real whitening results.
Let's talk about this photo above. The Before photo was taken the day I got my braces off, when my teeth were at their dingiest. The After CVS photo was taken after using the CVS 5 Minute Whitening Gel Kit for two weeks and I think it looks a little better than the Before but not much. However, that After Crest photo really speaks for itself! I feel like my teeth are definitely much whiter and my smile looks great! For the three products I bought that didn't work as well as the Crest Whitestrips, total Brian and I paid about $41. The Crest Whitestrips were only about $9 more expensive and they gave us great results. In the future, instead of wasting my money nickel and diming myself on products that don't work, I'll just buck up for the Whitestrips. We're already planning on ordering this set from Amazon because that's the best price we've found for them. I hope that this post was helpful to anyone trying to decide on the best product for whitening. If you were to ask me which whiteners work, I would definitely tell you Crest 3D Whitestrips Professional Effects!