Teeth Whitening

Archived Q&A and Reviews

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2010 - 2012 Advice

Safe affordable bleaching place?

March 2011

I was wondering if anyone has had good success finding a safe, afforadable teeth bleaching place? I know that Dentists can make molds of the teeth and then give you trays with bleach that you use while you sleep.(my dentist quoted $400 total for both upper and lower teeth) However I hear ads for teeth bleaching 'shops' such as Brite Smile (?) and wonder if anyone knows about their safety, results and costs. Thanks! wants a brighter smile

Forget the high-priced dental professionals for whitening teeth. Crest White Strips work great. Pearly Whites

Teeth whitening options

May 2010

I am interested in getting my teeth whitened, but I don't really know what the options are. I have a couple of ''limitations'' too. One is that my front tooth has a cap on it, and I've heard that won't take to the whitening. I need to get it replaced anyway, so I am willing to risk it looking a bit weird for a couple of weeks if, in fact, the whitening is the catalyst for me having the cap redone. Also, I have a huge gag reflex, and think that bleach stuff might just be a bit like torture for me. Not only that, it just seems that the stuff must be pretty toxic. Finally, cost is an issue for me. I don't know how much it normally costs, but if it were, say, $500 or something, I wouldn't be able to afford to do it. Do any of you have suggestions or tips from your experience of teeth whitening? Many thanks... Pretty teeth, but a bit yucky from years of tea and coffee. Amanda

I've never gone to a dentist for teeth whitening. Several years ago, a hygenist I knew socially recommended Crest teeth whitening strips. But she said the key is to buy two boxes, and do them both, back-to-back, which takes about 2 weeks. After dinner, I would put the strips on for 30 minutes, and that was that. It was painless, inexpensive, and no dentist involved. And the best part was that, not only did I notice a difference in my teeth, but others did too. It might be worth a try for you. good luck. happy smile
I have had great success with Go Smile teeth whitening. I drink alot of coffee and really like red wine so my teeth were looking pretty yucky---now they are so much whiter! I bought it at either Sephora or Nordstrom and it was around $85. I don't think it would bother your gag reflex since you just rub in on your teeth with a little applicator---nothing goes down your throat. I thought Go Smile was super easy to use---you use it twice a day for a week--and I was really happy with the results. Good luck! Beth
Check out GoSmile's products. I really like their whitening kit product--it works quite well, yet isn't gross or painful, unlike other stuff I tried (Crest, Rembrant, dentist light), which I generally hated. Basically neat little individual ampoules you just sponge on your teeth, so you don't get the gum burning the strips sometimes cause (at least they do for me). Their's is pricier then the stuff in drug stores but I think worth ig. I found their stuff much more pleasant and therefor actually used it, versus the Crest strips I managed to do for about 3 days out of the 7 I was supposed to (pretty much the same with Rembrandt). And way cheaper than having a dentist treatment (and less painful--when I did Zoom in a dentist office a couple years ago it literally brought me to tears!) I do a kit maybe once a year so springing for it is well worth it to get rid of my staining sins. I used to buy it at Sephora but now I just find it easier to order from GoSmile.com. Happy whitening! love me my wine and coffee but you can't tell :)

2007 - 2009 Advice

Recent Teeth Whitening Recommendations?

April 2008

Hello everyone. I've just been searching for tooth whitening recommendations and couldn't find anything more recent than 2004. I didn't think I would ever consider doing this but my teeth have gotten quite yellow in my 40's, a combination of genes and too much caffeine and red wine probably. My dentist doesn't deal with cosmetic stuff and has mentioned Brite Smile as one option. I'd like to get a consultation with them or some similar outfit as close to Berkeley as possible, or in Berkeley if one exists. Recommendations for a good place to go would be appreciated - - I'm hoping for professional, conscientious, honest, not too 'Hollywood'. Also some idea of what to expect/how it works, cost these days, level of success (I don't want blinding white, just not yellow), etc. Many thanks. - - Strips, Schmips

Many of the OTC whiteners are good. The thing is...if you have any fillings in your front teeth, your teeth will get white but the fillings stay the same color. So you'll have whiter teeth but more obvious fillings. I whitened about 6 months ago...it was pretty nice (except the faded fillings) and I feel like I could do it again now. anon
They just did a piece about this on NPR, and I had also just done a bunch of research myself, because I was thinking about getting it done. Bottom line: you can spend $500 - $600 for Zoom or Brite Smile, both of which use a very mild UV light which they say speeds up the whitening process of hydrogen peroxide (the agent that does the whitening). The radio program said that independent research showed no significant difference in using the light, with one scientist saying that the amount of UV radiation is so minimal (so as not to cause harm) that it could not act as a catalyst in any way. The zoom people and dentists that sell the service (as well as many people who have paid hundreds for it) will say otherwise. Nevertheless, after you spend all that money, they tell you that you still will need to do some ''upkeep,'' meaning get trays made to do re-bleaching at home, after some number of months. Those trays cost an ADDITIONAL $300-ish.

When I went in for my Zoom treatment, the practitioner told me that my teeth would only get 2 - 3 shades whiter because they weren't that dark. With all the costs involved, I could no longer justify it, so I cancelled on the spot, apologetically, and thanked them for their honesty. While paying the office woman ($150 for the impression they did for the trays, before I even knew that was optional), I commented on how nice her teeth looked and asked if she had done Zoom too. She looked up at me, and quietly said, ''Crest white strips and brushing with Baking Soda a few times a week.'' That's all I needed to hear. ;-) $150 in the hole, but $900 still in my pocket!

In March of this year, I had a whitening at Transcendentist in Berkeley, the first green certified dentist in the country. Now I'm thinking of switching there for my regular dental care, since my experience was so pleasant and everyone I met there was genuinely kind and so knowledgeable. They offer a spa-like environment with herbal tea and relaxing music which made it very enjoyable... not to mention I got an amazing foot massage during the treatment! The woman who did my whitening was very sweet and thorough, and the results were far brighter than my previous home attempts. Plus, my personalized whitening trays and a few months worth of touch up gels came with the package. They sell a bunch of other products at their office too. They have a website, www.transcendentist.com; I actually found them through a friend at work. Their number is 841-3040. I found my experience there to be very rejuvenating - just part of my springtime self-care to go with a cleanse and a new haircut... I highly recommend them. Alexis
I have to whiten my teeth on a somewhat regular basis due to bonding work I have had near my gums due to enamel wear. My dentist suggested that he make bleaching trays for me. While it was expensive even 14 years ago--I am glad I did it. At the front end, having the trays made is more costly, but you have them the rest of your life, so ultimately it is more economical. I buy my Opalescence bleaching gel on-line now (it is about $15 a treatment), and I just do it when I need it. You don't have to go ''California white''--you initially get your teeth to the level of white-ness you prefer and then keep it up somewhat regularly (every 4-6 months). It also depends on how much coffee, tea and red wine you drink--they tend to stain teeth. On my dental hygienist's recommendation, I buy a 20% solution and then do the process for only two hours while I watch a movie--I can't stand having that gel in my mouth all night. I have sensitive teeth, so I use a toothpaste formulated f! or sensitive teeth when I brush. My teeth are still a little sensitive after a treatment, but it's not painful and only lasts a day or so. I know people who use the commercial whitening strips, and they seem to do the job, but from what I have observed, trays are an easier way to go. It's worth discussing with your dentist as to what is best for you. Glad I have my bleaching trays

Lightening a gray tooth

Nov 2007

I've had a gray front tooth since high school (20 years). About 10 years ago my dentist ''tested'' the tooth and said that it wasn't ''dead'' so he did not want to replace the tooth altogether. He said he could grind the front of the tooth down and put a cap on it (does that make sense?). I didn't like that idea so I've kept the tooth gray since then. I'm ready for a change. I would like some advice about the choices for fixing or lightening a gray tooth without too much grinding or drilling : ). Thanks. Not crazy about dentists

My son had the same problem on his front tooth. We went to see Dr. Louie Mendoza in Kensington and he recommended external bleaching where bleach is applied to the outide of your teeth using a customized tray. Another option would be internal bleaching. This is a procedure where you drill a small hole on the tongue side of the tooth and place the bleach internally. We decided to go with more of the conservative approach which is the external bleaching option and if that didn't work, go with internal bleaching. He gave us a lot of useful information. He believes in saving as much tooth structure as possible. Give him a call, he's very thorough and very patient. Louie B. Mendoza, DDS or Kensington Dental Care (510) 526-8311 anon
My husband had this problem and was successful with a combination of the Brite Smile whitening process and a specially made whitening tray from his dentist that would bleach only the gray tooth. The tray is pretty inexpensive and you wear it at night for several days in a row. Hope this helps! happy with bleaching

2004 - 2006 Advice

How do you get those white teeth?

Nov 2006

I believe that I am one of the few remaining people in this state with tea and age- stained teeth. It seems that so many people have shiny white teeth. What am I missing? I know a few people who have paid for expensive whitening treatments. I can't afford that. Are there over the counter treatments that really work? Fang

I use Crest White Strips - about every 18 months. If you follow the instructions, they work well. You may need to repeat more frequently if you drink a lot of tea or coffee or red wine, but I've heard people say supplementing with Crest whitening toothpaste and mouthwash will make the treatments last longer. I don't know for sure about that though -White teeth too.
According to Consumer Reports, the best tooth whitening toothpaste is actually Ultrabrite Advanced Whitening, a relatively inexpensive older brand. I've been using it for a few months and can actually see a difference. My teeth aren't white-white, but I've kept the coffee and tea stains at bay. You might have to look around a bit to find some, it wasn't at Walgreens. Maybe Longs. A cheap alternative to try before going for something more intense Jan

Does teeth whitening ruin teeth?

Sept 2005

Last year, in preparation for my 20th year high school reunion, I started whitening my teeth. My dentist, a very good one, made a mold of my teeth and sent me home with the Colgate home (professional) whitening tubes. Needless to say, the results were stunning and I love my new white teeth, BUT I think the whitening solution makes my teeth more prone to tea and coffee stains. Maybe I'm just getting old and my tooth enamel is just weaker?

Has anyone experienced this? I know dentists make a LOT of money of teeth whitening so I forsee a bias in my dentist's answer. I thought I would ask here first. Whiter teeth with a cost?

My dentist told me that whitening weakens tooth enamel. I genetically have weak enamel (and yellowed teeth) so I've never tried whitening. I wish I could. He also said that if you have discoloring around showing fillings, or the fillings have yellowed that the whitening won't change the color of the fillings. I'd love to try it, but that swayed me away. anon

Different methods of teeth whitening

Nov 2004

I am interested if anyone has undergone a method of whitening teeth in the dentist's office. I have heard of methods where a tray is made but the whitening occurs in the office instead of home. I also have seen a method on ''Extreme Makeover'' where they paint the teeth and use a light. Can anyone recommend a method and dentist? Kathy

I have had yellow teeth my entire life due to my being given certain anibiotics when I was a baby. When I got married last year, one of my splurges was to get my teeth whitened at the dentist's office. I got the trays made from a mold of my teeth and was given the kit. I think I slept with the ''mouthgards'' for 2 weeks and the difference was AMAZING. My teeth were sensitive for the first few days (as they said they would be) but after I stopped using it the sensetivity went away. The whole thing was about $400, I think, and the best part is that I was frugal with the application of the whitener (half of it squirts out anyway when you push the guards up into your teeth), so I have tons left for touch ups (I am a coffee/red wine drinker), and I have the molds to wear with any other kind of whitener I may need/want in the future. For me, the $400 was money well spent. Even now, 18 months after the only 2 week period I used it (I was pregnant in there and didn't use it), my teeth are still whiter than before I used it. And you've just sparked the urge for a touch up! anon
I gave myself teeth-whitening for my 50th birthday. I chose to do the dentist version with the tray molded for my teeth for two reasons. First, the whitening occurs slowly over about two weeks, so when people notice it is a more subtle ''wow, you look younger, so good, etc.'' rather than ''wow, you bleached your teeth.'' Second, the tray is yours forever and you can replenish your supply of bleach anytime through your dentist so that you can do touch-ups whenever they are needed. anon

2003 & Earlier

Recommendations for dentist who does teeth whitening?

March 2003

Does anyone have any recommendations for an office/dentist who does teeth whitening? In particular, does anyone have any personal experience with both the BriteSmile method and the longer, bleaching trays method? I think I'm leaning towards the BriteSmile office in Walnut Creek, so any opinions about an experience there would also be helpful.

I went to Brite Smile in Walnut Creek about a year ago and was very pleased with the outcome -- dramatic difference, lasting improvement. I thought it was a little pricey, but worth it. Sara
I had the molds taken of my teeth to make the retainer-like things to hold the whitening gel and have used them for three years now and they are great! Anytime you want to whiten your teeth again you just buy the gel which is about $20 and whiten them and it lasts for several months. Very happy I went this route. happy with white teeth
I have used several teeth whitening methods, including tray whitening from a dental office, which was the most effective. I would however, recommend that you try the Colgate Simply White product before spending alot of money at a dentists office. I have found it to be equally effective.
I had my teeth whitened at BriteSmile in Walnut Creek last year. The process was painless and quick, although quite expensive (around $500). My teeth were fairly light to begin with (cream, as opposed to yellow), and I was hoping for the ''true white'' shown on all of the advertisement photos. I was a bit disappointed in the results; my teeth were whitened one level (according to the BriteSmile charts), but they were still cream, not white. The difference was not really that noticeable, and not worth the price that I paid. Perhaps if my teeth had been more stained or yellow, the results would have been more dramatic. The ads of BriteSmile are misleading in that you don't walk out with ''white'' teeth, which is what I had expected since my teeth were so light to begin with. Creamy Smile

Is teeth bleaching worth the expense?

June 2004

I'm about to have crowns put on most of my teeth; the prosthodontist has recommended that I bleach my remaining teeth, and then he'll make the crowns in a shade to match. Then I'll have to continue bleaching my natural teeth twice a year forever, so they'll continue to match the crowns. The cost, for having this done professionally is $400 to start. Maintanance cost is minimal. Has anyone out there had their teeth bleached professionally? Was it worth the expense? Did it make that significant a difference in your smile? Is professional bleaching that much better than the bleaching kits at the drug store? Did you have to swear off red wine and coffee?

I did precisely what you outlined about 2 years ago. I needed to have my front crowns replaced, after 20 years, and my dentist recommended that I first bleach my teeth. Boy, am I glad I did it. My teeth are much whiter, they match the crowns nicely, and I figure, if I'm going to spend over $2K on new front teeth, they may as well be white. Not Chiclet white, though, just nicely white. Go ahead and do it. Wendy

Best gel to use if you already have the trays?

April 2003

Hi; A follow-up question to the posts on the best method of teeth whitening. Where have people found the best gel to use, if you already have the tray from the dentist? What brand / strength / etc.? Is it available from a drugstore, or do you have to make a dental appointment, or ?? I have a tray but am not sure where to get more gel (don't see that dentist anymore either). Thanks, Need the whitening gel only

This is the best price I have found for Nite White teeth whitening gel -- http://www.drdodge-dentist.com/nite_white.htm The percentages of the active incredient vary, the larger the percentage the faster the whitening process and the more chance of teeth sensitvity. I asked the doctor on this site for a recommended percentage and he said that he starts people off at 16% and if that does not cause a problem they can go up. This is the gel that was recommended by my dentist, and I have used Nite White to good success. I have not yet purchased from this site butintend to. margo