I don’t have money for whitening my teeth through a dentist, but I’ve been ashamed of my smile for several years now. It seems like every time someone I know smiles they have a bright, white smile; as if everyone has had the ability to get their teeth professionally whitened. It’s given me quite an inferiority complex. I’ve been looking at affordable options, such as Crest Whitestrips and charcoal, but don’t want to spend money if it won’t be useful. What are your thoughts?
I’m always sad when I hear of people feeling ashamed of their smile. I understand what it’s like to not be able to afford things that are important to you. So what I’m telling you isn’t just to get you into a dentist’s office. It’s designed to protect you.
Do Affordable Teeth Whitening Options Work?
These will whiten your teeth…slowly. They do work, though. So, if it’s your only option, you won’t damage your teeth and you will move forward with some whitening. They have two drawbacks, though. First, because of safety issues, their whitening gel isn’t very strong. It will take many boxes of the Whitestrips to get to any significant level of whitening. In the end, it might actually be cheaper, not to mention faster, to get it done by your dentist.
The second issue is the number of teeth reached with the whitening strips. Depending on the width of your teeth, the strips only reach 4-6 of your front teeth. Most people’s smiles are much wider than that. That leaves you with two options. Either you can use more strips to cover all your visible teeth when you smile (which costs you more money) or you can have just those few teeth whitened while those adjacent to it remain their current color. This won’t look natural.
Charcoal Teeth Whitening
First, let me clarify that this is referring to activated charcoal, not the charcoal you use to light a grill. This trend is picking up steam as a popular method of teeth whitening due to YouTube and a rapper who tweeted that he always uses it before seeing the ladies. I always cringe when celebrities recommend certain things because people tend to attribute expertise to them which they just don’t have.
Sadly, this new trend isn’t useful but dangerous.
Activated charcoal has an abrasiveness which will scratch your enamel. While the charcoal is absorbent and will temporarily remove some stains, the damage done is permanent and will cause your teeth to not only pick up stains much more quickly, it also puts you at a much greater risk for decay because your teeth are left without the protection given to you by your enamel. Cheap whitening isn’t worth the health of your teeth, leading to the need for fillings or worse, a dental crown.
My suggestion would be to take the money you would spend on Crest Whitestrips every month and put that aside until you have enough for professional teeth whitening. You’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll have enough money to get it done thoroughly and safely.
If you’re impatient or have a special event coming up where you don’t want to wait, many dentists accept CareCredit. This is a medical credit card of sorts, which has low and even no interest payment plans. This will allow you to get your teeth whitened and slowly pay it out.
This blog is brought to you by Portage, MI dentist Dr. Susan Dennis.