Everyone has heard of the tissue test – hold up a tissue next to your teeth and see which is whiter. But have you done the dress test? Consider how your smile is going to look on your big day, when you’re the center of attention. You will be looking back at your wedding photos for a lifetime, so teeth whitening is a must when you want your smile to shine next to your beautiful white dress.
What are the whitening options?
At-home whitening toothpaste
Time to best result: 2-3 months
Whitening toothpastes are an option if you desire minor brightening of your natural tooth shade. These toothpastes use a mild abrasive to gently polish away minor stains, so don’t expect a drastic change in the whiteness of your teeth. Adding a whitening mouthwash with a bleaching agent may provide a small boost to the whitening result. Be sure to start this regimen early and keep up with it everyday. If you don’t see the whitening results you hoped for, you always have other whitening options as your big day gets closer.
At-home whitening strips/trays
Time to best result: 2-6 weeks
Whitening strips and trays are a cost effective way to whiten your teeth. Be aware that everyone is different, and treatment length in order to get your best whitening result will differ from person to person. Whitening strips and trays typically use bleaching agents like hydrogen peroxide that opens the pores of the teeth and bleaches the enamel of the tooth. For this reason, if you get sensitivity with teeth bleaching, you may have to deal with sensitive teeth for a few weeks with this at-home option. It is important to remember that over these weeks that you are whitening, you must stay away from foods and beverages that would stain a white T-shirt as they can stain your teeth, sabotaging your whitening efforts. So, avoid foods like spaghetti sauce, BBQ sauce, ketchup – and beverages like coffee, tea and dark sodas.
Custom Zoom whitening trays
Time to best result: 2-4 weeks
Professional whitening trays can be custom made by your dentist and are used with prescription strength whitening gel. They work similarly to over-the-counter trays that you can purchase at your pharmacy, but typically have faster and more dramatic results as they are prescribed by a dental professional. Using custom made trays allows for the whitening gel to lay uniformly along the surface of the unique shape of your teeth. Trays purchased OTC have a general dental arch shape but are not fitted to your specific teeth, creating areas where the gel can settle and others where the gel has no space to lay in contact with your teeth. Let your dentist know what your goals are so they can help you reach the best results.
Zoom Laser whitening session
Time to best result: 1 day
A professional laser Zoom whitening session in your dentists office is the fastest, safest and most effective way to get a dramatic result. A single 1-1.5 hr session can yield the same results as several weeks with other methods. It’s also quite relaxing, at our office we turn down the lights and let you pick a Netflix movie to watch! Most brides in-the-know choose to do their first Zoom treatment before their engagement photos or big pre-wedding celebrations like bridal showers or engagement parties, then do a Zoom boost treatment about 2 weeks before the big day. This way, you will have a bright beautiful smile for all of your wedding related gatherings and photos.
If you’re concerned about sensitivity, using a sensitivity preventing toothpaste like Sensodyne for about 2 weeks before your Zoom session can help to diminish any post treatment sensitivity. Some people have no sensitivity at all after Zoom, however some can have sensitivity for up to a week after their treatment. For this reason, it is best to do your pre-wedding Zoom boost about 2 weeks before. After your treatment, you only need to avoid “staining foods” for 48 hours while the pores of your tooth enamel close – so you can get back to your favorite foods and beverages faster.
Smile beauty timeline:
Use the timing above to determine what the best whitening plan is for you and your personal wedding smile goals. Just remember to start early in case your results aren’t meeting your expectations and another method needs to be started. Keep in mind that treatments like Invisalign used to straighten your teeth need to be started about 1 year before the wedding in order to get a straight smile. There are faster options for straightening however, like clear braces (6 Month Smiles) that can get amazing results in just months. However, if your big day is coming up soon, have no fear. Quick and impressive changes can be made to your smile with veneers or simple tooth reshaping within a a week or two of your wedding day. Don’t forget about your hubby-to-be too! He may not be talking about it, but he is thinking about his smile as well, so consider doing your smile makeovers together – make it a bonding experience! Whatever direction you choose, your smile is the window to your happiness so show it some love.
Congratulations! And remember to smile…it looks good on you!