It’s no secret that the better you look, the better you feel and the better you feel, the better you perform. One of the best ways to enhance the way you look and feel in relation to sales is to whiten your teeth.
In a study by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, 96% of people surveyed said that they believed whiter teeth made a person more attractive and 74% believed that an imperfect smile could damage a person’s success rate.
Because I’ve had significant damage to the protective enamel of my teeth (due to eating lemons and salt as a child), I was sure to look for a safer method of whitening when I decided to upgrade my smile. After extensive research and review reading, I was under the impression that The Luster Pro Light Dental Whitening System and Crest 3D White Strips were the highest rated and recommended by professionals and everyday people. However, my local Walmart was out of the Crest 3D Whitening Kit, so I grabbed their alternative, Equate beauty version, Ultra Whitening Strips. Both Products state that they are enamel safe and this is how they measured up.
The Luster Pro Light
Whitened 4 Shades in (from shade 11 to shade 7) in 2-3 days
Equate Ultra Whitening Strips
Whitened 3 shades (from shade 7 to shade 4) in 10 days
|Zero tooth sensitivity- just like the box says||Cannot really whiten while multi-tasking||Whiten while doing anything, especially drinking coffee||Immediate tooth sensitivity|
|Works fast! (2-3 days)||Repeating 3 step process over and over again||Price||Does not include shade chart|
|Includes shade chart and after-care toothpaste||X||X||Product substance inconsistent|
Both products had very compelling pros and a big concerning con for some (the effort it takes to complete the whitening using the Luster Pro Light and the tooth sensitivity experienced with the Equate Ultra Whitening Strips). Depending on your desires, both are viable options.
More on Tooth Sensitivity
I would not have said this if the tooth sensitivity I experienced with the Equate version was not temporary. According to my research, tooth whitening products may cause temporary sensitivity due to product finding the tooth nerve through cracks. This would be my best guess since both products state that they do not compromise the integrity of the enamel. Due to the surprising number of reasons your teeth can become sensitive, including stress, hormones, or acidic food, I am not overly concerned about the sensitivity. It seemed to come and go throughout the whitening but went away after the tenth day. However, the tooth pain was off-putting. It felt like a sore muscle would feel, but instead, it was the front of my teeth.
Pro Light The Winner
My favorite product was The Pro Light Dental Whitening System because it whitened my teeth one shade better than the whitening strips in just one-third of the time and it delivered on its promise of zero tooth sensitivity. I really appreciated that it came with the whitening chart so that I could track my progress and although I didn’t actually use the after-care whitening toothpaste, I am glad it came with. It truly was a complete system, worth every extra dollar spent.
The Pro Light Dental Whitening System works like this: 1). Rinse teeth with Accelerinse (mouthwash) product 10-15 seconds 2). Apply Stain Lifting Serum and allow to dry 20 seconds and 3). Apply Whitening Light for 2 minutes (self-timed). This concludes one whitening session and you are allowed up to 12 per day. I whitened my teeth 12 times per day for 2 days and continued with the rest of the product until it was gone under the same recommendations. It is recommended you complete your entire system within one week. Although the process can be a bit of a nuisance, it will only take up to an hour of your day (a good excuse to enjoy a show or movie, in my opinion).
These products use entirely different active ingredients. The only similarity I found between them was the use of Hydrogen Peroxide.
Compared to Equate Tooth Whitening Strip Experience
If convenience or price were my greatest desire in a tooth whitening product, this would have been my home run. Being able to whiten my teeth on the go was a pleasant experience. I especially got a kick out of using them when I drank a cup of coffee. Sometimes I put the strips in my bag and pulled them out after a bad sales call and it lifted my spirits. One thing I didn’t like and couldn’t figure out was that the product felt differently strip to strip. When I peeled it off, it sometimes felt gunky and other times felt like it had dissolved completely.
How Do Over-The-Counter Teeth Whiteners Compare to Professional Whitening?
We’ve all seen the whitening centers in the mall but didn’t have time to engage the salesperson to find out more information about their method. You may also be aware that dentists often offer whitening procedures in their office and for at-home treatment. The main difference is that the products used in ‘professional settings’ may have higher concentrations of Hydrogen Peroxide or another whitening agent called Carbamide Peroxide.
Over the counter whitening systems like the two I reviewed in this article are regulated and should not contain concentrations higher than 6% Hydrogen Peroxide. The maximum percentage recommended by the American Dental Association is 10%, but at-home trays offered by dentists are often in the 22% range and in-office treatments, the 35% range. To me, this is actually a cause for concern and makes me appreciate the over the counter alternatives.
The higher percentage does not guarantee a whiter smile, it actually dictates a shorter time period it can sit on teeth without harming them and must be kept off the gum. This is why dentists provide a custom fit tray that holds the product on only your teeth and not the gums. All of this is not inexpensive. Professional whitening services can cost anywhere from $100 to $600.
The Benefits of Going Professional Whitening
The benefit of going to get your teeth professionally whitened is that your entire mouth of teeth will be bleached, rather than just the front of your visible teeth. For people with crooked teeth or other concerning defects, professional whitening can make sure that your teeth are whitened to the greatest ability possible.
Learning about the professional methods made me appreciate my choice method, The Pro Light Dental Whitening System, more because the Stain Lifting Serum is applied yourself using a brush. Applying the product to your teeth with a brush means you can get the product in hard to reach places and the roots of the teeth where whitening strips barely cover.
I do want to add that it is generally recommended that you don’t repeat whitening systems within 3 months of use. I whitened my teeth with The Pro Light Dental Whitening System in August 2018 and with the Equate Ultra Whitening Strips in December 2018. At the end of The Pro Light Dental Whitening System, my teeth were at shade 7, and they were shade 7 when I checked again prior to whitening with the Ultra Whitening Strips. I have 3 more shades till entirely white! Beginning April 2019 I may review the 3D Crest White Strips to find out if they cause less tooth sensitivity.
See you then!
It’s May 2019 and I just tried 3D Crest Whitestrips Dental Whitening Kit (Vivid Gentle for sensitive teeth) for 12 treatments/12 days. I rated my smile at a shade 5 prior to beginning and thought my smile was only whitened 2 shades to a shade 3 after treatments. Perhaps once your smile gets whiter, you don’t whiten as noticably? My teeth were sensitive immediately after using like the other white strips I tried, but the sensitivity went away after treatments. I still stand by my winning choice: The Pro Light Luster Kit.