How to have teeth as white as a Hollywood star — and take your dentist out of the equation
BY SOUL’S CODE — One of the themes of this site is exploring techniques and tools that do an end-run around insurance companies and the medical establishment. If there are things that you can do on your own to improve your physical and emotional well-being, why pay a psychiatrist, a hospital or a doctor exorbitant fees?
So we occasionally check out new products like our review of facial scanners that we nicknamed “New Age Botox” (they promised to make you look healthier without sticking a needle in your skin). Unfortunately, we didn’t think those ones worked very well, if at all.
But now we’ve found a new use-at-home product that displays dramatic results.The Go Smile whitening light system. It costs $200 and brightens your teeth in 30 minutes with a hand-held device.
California dentists charge about $800 for the same effect, and they put you through the creepy process of making a mold of your teeth.
The first step to using this new product, which was approved by the FDA in April, is to apply a serum from a slender tube on your teeth using a swab. It contains a safe concentration of hydrogen peroxide. You then illuminate your teeth for ten minutes with a hand-held, battery-operated LED. Think of it as the world’s brightest flashlight — so bright, that the manufacturer, Go Smile, advises not to “look directly at the light source.”
The device photochemically activates the peroxide molecules into breaking down stains below the surface of your teeth. Go Smile is guarded about sharing more details, and have papered the product with myriad patents.
How it feels
One reason that this home healthcare process is so much cheaper than the dentist is because it is truly a self-help technology: You’re doing all of the labor, not a dental assistant. And it is tricky because the first stage involves painting a part of your body that you can’t see: Applying the goop to each tooth requires a mirror or some leap of faith. But you kind of know you’re literally got it covered when you feel the slight burning sensation of the hydrogen peroxide.
Now comes the second part of why the product is cheap: You have to put your mouth around the oval LED nozzle, or snorkel, if you will. (This is a non-starter if you have a cold). You then have to hold it in place for ten minutes while the light whitens (a beep alarm tips you off when time is up).
After going through the above two stages, repeat the whole thing for a total of three times. This is not a surgically-precise process. And there is no expert monitoring whether you’re doing it right. Another time-consuming hassle: once you’re done, you have to disinfect the light device with mouthwash.
Does it work?
But in other ways the Smile Whitening Light inconveniences are also its advantages: You can down it in your own privacy with out the typical semi-public degradations of the dentist’s office, and you can do it whenever you want. And in as little as 30 minutes — the time that it takes you to, say, drive and park for a dental appointment? — you’ve saved five C-notes or more.
Even better, you don’t have to give up drinking lattes. That is the case with another home teeth-whitening products like Crest strips (the physical bleaching make the teeth porous, and can actually increase staining from pigmented beverages like red wine and coffee).
The results show up within a week, last for three months and are brilliant (pun unavoidable).
Sure, it’s a vanity product like any cosmetic procedure but it’s not invasive like botox and we figure that any technology that encourages people to smile makes the world a better place.
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