You know that episode of Friends, “The One with Ross’ White Teeth?” He leaves whitening gel on for an entire day in order to impress his date, and the result is so extreme that Chandler asks Ross what was wrong with his old “human” teeth.
I, on the other hand, thought the color of his grill looked great. Like Chicklets. There’s just something about blindingly white chompers that makes me feel better, like having a bit of a tan, or a good hair day. I’m sure it’s some sort of Hollywood mind-infiltration — that elusive Movie Star Smile — but if I can’t have the legs of a waxed Zac Efron, then dammit, I want my teeth Ross-Geller-white.
When I decided (with 3 days to spare) that my teeth were to be my best birthday party accessory, I needed to call in The Big Guns. In Manhattan, The Big Guns is a man named Dr. Marc Lazare who had the best selection of movies to watch, not to mention calming bedside manner, an all-access NETFLIX pass and a lovely set of his own white teeth.
I’d try to set one of you guys up with him if I knew his marital status.
He explained the procedure to me, I didn’t really pay attention, and then the teeth whitening process began. It was 3 sets of 15 minute Philips Zoom action, where I reclined like a diva with this thing that pulled my mouth open as though I were making a face at someone on the subway. I watched a movie, did some texting, and I left with teeth so white that I stopped 5th avenue traffic. BA-LING.
Here’s where I messed up: I immediately had coffee, and then later, red wine.
Here’s where Dr. Lazare saved me: teeth whitening trays! It was a DIY that I could handle, and due to my teeths-o-steel I experienced almost zero sensitivity. (“Zingers” are normal — a sharp shooting “WTF!” moment for your teeth. Luckily, this only happened once and then I carried on.)
Two weeks later and I’m still receiving compliments on how white and bright my teeth are. A stranger asked if they were natural so I lied and said yes. She was impressed. Would I do it again? 100%, but not until my next birthday. You know, just to avoid any awkward makeouts in black-lit rooms.
Guess who else I got on the Bling Ring board? Everyone at Man Repeller, each one with a different technique.
Leandra, tool of choice: specialized whitening toothbrush
Amelia ‘asshead’ Diamond assigned me a vibrating toothbrush for this project that allegedly maintains extreme teeth-whitening capabilities. Initially, what I thought this meant was the rapid brushing of enamel off my teeth but I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the toothbrush did not “allegedly” whiten my teeth, it de facto light-washed these babies.
But first, I had to get used to it. The tooth brush looks like a vibrator with white nylon whiskers at the tip (aka bristles), which doesn’t seem that far fetched for a vibrator if you think about it hard enough and the moment it touches your teeth, you kind of feel like you’re drilling into your own cavity only to learn that like a sour patch bear, it’s only so bitchy for so long. If you have the wherewithal to let your gums acclimate to its lunatic movements, you will learn that it’s actually quite nice. Like a massage or something.
I wasn’t sure whether the toothbrush was working until last week when I went to the dentist to get a cavity filled and she let me know that she’d have to bleach my cap because my teeth were so much whiter than her color samples.
Cristina, tool of choice: name brand whitening strips
I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but for the first time ever in my life I completed a box of whitening strips — which for me — is an accomplishment in and of itself. I used the Crest 3D White Strips with the Advanced Seal technology, which I was personally a big fan of as this technology leant to a tighter grip on my teeth and limited the not-so-sexy saliva build up that accumulates when you have whitening strips slipping off your teeth. I used the strips as recommended: once a day for 14 days and removed them after 30 minutes.While I’ve heard horror stories of pain that is associated with whitening strips, particularly with people with sensitive teeth, my own experience was pain-free.
Were my teeth school bus yellow before? No (at least I hope not). Is there a significant change in the color of my teeth? I’ll let you be the judge of that. But please be easy on me — I refused to give up coffee for the sake of this experiment and felt like too much of a narcissist drinking hot coffee with a straw.
Amelia again: Cristina’s teeth are really white.
Kate, tool of choice: oil pulling, then whitening trays
In an unexpected bout of consistency, I’ve kept up with oil-pulling since March, mostly because it makes my teeth less sensitive. It’s also supposed to whiten teeth, but I’ve yet to see any evidence of that. So, in the spirit of teamwork and journalistic integrity, I went in for the Philips Zoom trays.
One of the many differences between Amelia and I is that she has superhero dentin and chilled tap water makes my teeth cry. I was hoping the combination of oil-pulling, fancy prescription toothpaste, and the desensitizing gel in the kit would make teeth whitening tolerable. After two weeks of gradually increasing wear-time, and obsessively following sensitive-teeth protocol, I’m almost there.
Despite my hygiene lacking in other areas (erhm, face washing, hair washing), my dental hygiene is something I have never skimped on. I floss at least twice a day (even when I had braces) so I was up to the challenge of adding something to my otherwise lazy daily routine in the good spirit of my teeth.
I tested the generic CVS brand of white strips over the course of three weeks. They conveniently dissolve in your mouth so there’s no messy removal and saliva build up like I’ve had with other strips. I do imagine, however, that if you can eat the materials you are using to whiten your teeth you’re either A. being poisoned or B. not using very strong whitener. I have come to the conclusion it is an amalgamation of the two. After about a week of using the strips I saw a subtle difference in that my teeth looked cleaner, but beyond a week they didn’t look much different. I feel the whiteness plateaued pretty quickly and my teeth didn’t change all that much.
Now we want to know? Have you ever tried whitening? LET US SEE YOUR GRILL.