Get Your Teeth Wedding Ready!
You'll want to make sure you're flashing a set of perfect pearly whites at your wedding. Luckily, there's never been a better array of at-home whitening treatments offering results comparable with pricey in-office procedures—for a fraction of the cost. We put the treatments to the test and polled the professionals to get the skinny on the best ways to achieve—and maintain—your most dazzling, camera-ready smile.
The most popular kits on the market now are strips, trays and gels. Joseph Banker, DMD, of Creative Dental Care in Westfield, New Jersey, says they're all equally effective; it's just a difference of application, sensitivity and strength. "A form of peroxide is the active ingredient in all over-the-counter teeth-whitening products," says Banker. "The concentration of the whitening ingredient and the length of time teeth are exposed are what determine the degree of whitening—and the likelihood of sensitivity."
By far the most goof-proof option out there, thin, flexible, disposable strips come pre-coated with a whitening formula. We just had to align the strips with the gumline, press the gel side on the fronts of the teeth and fold the excess underneath and behind to secure the strips in place. "Irritation is minimized because the method of placement keeps the gel clear of gums," says Banker. If you do experience sensitivity, just use them less frequently or for a shorter duration, maybe both. "You'll still see noticeable results," says Banker. We had brighter smiles after trying Crest 3D White Whitestrips Professional Effects ($50, Target .com) for 30 minutes a day for 20 days.
Also prefilled with a whitening gel, trays ensure you get the perfect dose every time. The downside for anyone with super-sensitive teeth—and a smaller mouth—is that it's harder to minimize contact with gums. While we were fans of the thin, flexible trays in Aquafresh White Trays ($33, Walgreens.com), one size does not fit all. The trays, although fairly malleable, were bulky and we felt self-conscious, causing us to shun company for the recommended 45-minute application time. However, after diligently sampling all 14 disposable molds for a week, we had noticeably radiant smiles.
The most "hands-on" application method, gels are smeared directly on teeth by gliding the gels in a quick back-and-forth brushing motion, requiring a steady and dexterous hand. "Gels can be messy and can easily irritate the gums if not applied carefully," says Banker. Our advice is to look for a gel formula that comes with its own applicator, like the GLO Brilliant Personal Teeth Whitening Device ($199, Sephora.com), to avoid having the gels come in direct contact with your gums. The whitening kit includes a set of 10 vials, which equals approximately 40 applications, after which, we were beaming thanks for now having more lustrous choppers.
–Text by Claire Coghlan
Editor's Note: Thank you to all the entrants. Our giveaway has ended. You will be notified via email if you've won!