My teeth are not great. Beyond the fact that I failed to wear my retainer post-braces, leaving me with a pretty formidable snaggletooth (it adds character!), I’m also fairly caffeine-dependent and enjoy a few glasses of red wine most nights of my life. I have good dental hygiene and always floss and use whitening toothpaste, but my consumption habits aren’t exactly conducive to maintaining shiny white teeth. (Just going to glaze over the fact that I consider an entire lemon or lime to be a legitimate snack food.)
A few months ago I caught a particularly unflattering look at myself in the mirror and decided that the dull, slightly grayed color of my teeth was bringing me down. I’ve been halfheartedly researching professional whitening options since then, but have been turned off by both the price and how time-consuming it can be—around $650 for each two hour long session? Rough. Some of the at-home options I looked at sounded decent, but they, too, did not come cheap. It’s possible that I’ll want to make an actual investment in this kind of thing in the future, but right now I don’t have the inclination to spend hundreds of dollars on it.
At $43.99, Luster Premium White Pro Light Dental Whitening System is comparatively inexpensive, but not so dirt-cheap as to arouse suspicion. I’ve tried plenty of whitening products that do not work, but the Internet is flush with impressive before-and-after results, and the company asserts that the three-step system uses patented light-activated whitening technology developed by real live dentists. You swish a “pre-treating” rinse around your mouth, paint on a serum with dental peroxide, and hold a blue light to your mouth for two minutes until you’ve completed the course. This was my first time using it, so they recommend 10-20 treatments. That’s forty minutes, tops—not bad at all.
The entire process was slightly uncomfortable—serum tasted weird, lips got dry and flused, I drooled absolutely everywhere—but, even as someone with sensitive gums, I didn’t experience any pain or irritation. I kind of got used to it after the first few runs: I’d do the rinse, apply the whitening gel, and then hold the light to my teeth with one hand and scroll through my Twitter timeline for two minutes with the other, then repeat.
I just about lost count of how many times I completed the steps, but I’d estimate around 15. I wasn’t able to match my starting tooth color to the “shade guide,” which was totally useless, but while I didn’t record an actual measurable difference I did notice that my teeth genuinely look whiter and brighter. The grayish cast I was concerned about is completely gone, and though I can’t say I’m suddenly the owner of a gleaming, star quality set of chompers, the improvement is enough that I’ll continue to use this affordable, relatively painless system in hopes that I will, in fact, eventually achieve pop star-caliber whiteness. A coffee-chugging, pinot noir-swilling girl can dream.