Health & Fitness

By Erika Hilson Palmer

I always watch those Orbit gum commercials and think to myself, If I ever fell in a puddle of mud chewing a piece of Orbit gum, would my teeth be that white and sparkly? Just kidding! would never get close enough to a puddle of mud to test that theory anyway so we’ll just laugh, watch the commercial, and wonder how those ladies did get such lovely smiles. Well, I bet I know the answer to that one professional or home kit teeth whitening (natural shmatural, right?). After seeing that it’s humanly possible to get your teeth that white and perky, if teeth can be perky, why wouldn’t you want to get your teeth whitened? Luckily, unlike some other questions I’ve asked the Universe (like why can’t I lose weight by eating too much and not going to the gym), I have an answer to this one too there’s no reason to not want your pearly yellow-ish browns to be pearly whites again. I recently had the in-office teeth whitening procedure done, so I can tell you from my own mouth to your ears (well, eyes) that not only does it work, but it REALLY works. Of course, I would show you my before and after pictures to confirm this, but the lighting was weird in the office, so it basically didn’t show much of a difference. You’re just going to have to trust me.

Now, I know that a lot of questions have been raised regarding the new whitening craze: does it harm your teeth? Are there any side effects? Do the at-home treatments work as well as the in-office procedures? Guess what? I’ve got more answers! (You can just call me little miss info today). In addition to having the in-office treatment done myself, I spoke with two of New York’s best cosmetic dentists regarding teeth whitening, its effects, and their recommendations for at-home products.

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Glassman Dental Care
Spa Atmosphere + Teeth Whitening = Very Happy People

When I first stepped into the Glassman’s office at 160 West End Ave, I thought I had accidentally ended up at Bliss or the J. Sisters, the office screams spa! and definitely doesn’t scream dental work! “There are patients that are very nervous, and then there are some patients that aren’t nervous, but they just want to relax,” Dr. Debbie tells me (sitting on the waiting room’s beautiful, comfy couches I might add). DVD’s with virtual reality glasses, music, neck pillows, hand cream with warming gloves, and if your procedure is long enough, the Glassman’s will bring in someone to massage your feet while you’re in the chair. Yummy, non? Well, that’s definitely one of the perks of going to Glassman Dental; however, the big perk is that you’re also guaranteed to leave the offices relaxed, and with a gorgeous, healthy, and gleaming smile.

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Dr. Debbie Glassman and her husband Dr. Steven Glassman have been in practice together for 14 years (she’s been practicing for 16), and the focus has always been cosmetic dentistry. Dr. Debbie tells me that she found the instant gratification of cosmetic dentistry very fulfilling, and that seeing a difference in someone’s smile when they leave your office is a great feeling. Recently, the Glassman’s reworked the smile of a Toronto tourist who was unfortunately mugged the first day of her first trip to New York. Veneers have always been a part of the Glassman Dental practice, which offers a permanent restoration to your teeth and gives you an entirely different smile. But, as you can imagine, not everyone needs his/her entire smile reconstructed. I, personally, like to think I have quite a nice smile, but years and years of being a diet coke fiend have left my teeth looking like, well I’m sure you all know someone with stained and yellow-ish teeth, and that’s what they looked like. So, teeth whitening it is!

The Doctors Glassman introduced the in-office whitening to their practice about seven years ago, and they use the Zoom! whitening gel and light. They prefer the Zoom! system for a variety of reasons, one of which is that it goes beyond the in-office treatment and has an at-home maintenance kit as well. “Your teeth are very white when you leave the office, but if you’re going to have marinara sauce, or soy sauce, or red wine, you might relapse slightly, so you’ll have the ability to maintain your smile at home. The maintenance kit includes trays and gel, which you use at home for a few weeks after your procedure no moans, no groans you know it’s worth the maintenance work, so just do it!

And unlike the thousands of dollars it costs to get veneers ($6,000-$20,000 depending on how many veneers you need), in-office teeth whitening costs about $600 plus the cost of the maintenance kit. No, insurance won’t cover it, but I’m telling you it’s worth it those massage chairs, the neck pillow, some soothing tunes oh, and I know you’ll love your whiter teeth, too.

Glassman Dental Care
160 West End Avenue
New York, NY 10023
212.787.4860
appts@glassmandentalcare.com
www.zoomnow.com

Dr. Jonathan Levine
GoSmileOK! I Will!

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Dr. Levine has been practicing cosmetic dentistry for over 20 years, is one of the forefront doctors in the field, and believes that the smile is the centerpiece of beauty. After being a part of the innovation of veneers, it is not surprising that Dr. Levine would come up with a system for whitening teeth as well. And that whitening system is GoSMILE. Dr. Levine says that the system developed out of a need by (his) patients to have an effective way to maintain the whitening achieved by (their) in-office whitening system.

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Like the in-office Zoom! treatment at Glassman Dental, the GoSMILE system is founded on the fact that it is not a one shot deal (or the bada-bing bada-boom, as I like to call it), and there is a maintenance routine to protect your new smile from regressing back to its old dingy, diet coke-y self. Even though Dr. Levine uses the Zoom! light in his office, his GoSMILE system is not specifically designed to be used with that light. He says that the (GoSMILE) system is designed to be used outside the office, at home, work, or in the car. The whitening gel is contained in vacuum-sealed ampules so that the 6% hydrogen peroxide polymer gel is pure and potent when applied to the teeth. The purity of the hydrogen peroxide helps reduce possible sensitivity from the procedure, and it helps to kill bad breath as well. (And let’s hope that if you get your teeth all nice and whitened, you’ve got someone around who’s gonna wanna kiss ‘em, so your breath better not be stinky.).

Unlike the Zoom! maintenance system, you can use the GoSMILE system whether your getting an in-office whitening or you want to do it in the privacy of your own home or car, or work. There are three different GoSMILE kits: GoSMILE Luxe, which has 30 refill ampules, a silver compact with 7 ampules and a vinyl carrying pouch, and a traveling case ($110); GoSMILE Starter Kit, which has the 30 ampules that will get you through the two times per day/14 day whitening process (and two to spare–$75.00); and the GoSmile Value Kit, which has two 30 ampule boxes and the silver compact with seven ampules and vinyl carrying pouch ($175).

If you do decide to go for the whole megila, the in-office whitening treatment at Dr. Levine’s costs $600, and you can purchase your maintenance kit in the office (or online at www.gosmile.com). He, of course, also does general dentistry, all forms of cosmetic dentistry (particularly veneers), and even has a private lab in his offices (so you can pick up your new smile as quickly as possible).

Dr. Joseph Levine
923 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10021
800-407-7661
www.gosmile.com

But what about… The best at home whitening kit?
Dr. Glassman says that the Mentadent system is the way to go, and has actually recently been named spokesperson for the company. You can buy the Mentadent home whitening kit at www.drugstore.com or www.CVS.com for approximately $20-$25 per kit. Dr. Levine recommends his Go Smile system but I bet you could have guessed that one!

Does the at-home whitening kit work as well as the in-office kit?
No. But let’s be real, some people can’t spend the money to go and do the whole shebang, so home whitening it is. It’s not a crock though home whitening really does work if you take it seriously and do it routinely. I’m 99% sure of it.

How long does the in-office whitening last?
The whitening itself can be a permanent change in the color of your teeth if you maintain them properly post your whitening. You teeth will go back to looking as grimy as they did before you spent the $600 if you don’t take care of them right, which is why maintenance systems like both Dr. Glassman and Dr. Levine offer is so crucial in the long term fabulousness of your smile.

Am I too young? Too old?
Screw you, I’m never too old For most everything in the world, including teeth whitening. However, you can be too young. Dr. Glassman points out that if you are below a certain age, your teeth haven’t finished forming completely, so the whitening won’t work as well, and it’s probably not a great idea to expose your teeth to whitening if they’re not fully adult, yellowed, and nasty? So, for those in quest of whiter teeth who happen to be younger than 16 should try Boosta whitening system similar to Zoom! but it doesn’t use the light, only the trays with the bleaching solution.

And in case you were wondering the majority of folks who whiten and briten their smiles are women between the ages of 25-45. As of now more women may whiten, but men are starting to catch on (at least when it comes to this ha!).

Are there any side effects?
Dr. Levine, Dr. Glassman, the ADA everyone points out that you can get tooth soreness and potential gum soreness, but the side effects usually don’t last any longer than two days. From personal experience I can tell you that I had super sore teeth after I got mine whitened, but pop a few advil (not aleve, not Tylenol or Advil), have some matzoh ball soup, and it’ll all be better in the morning.

Is in-office whitening gonna get any cheaper?
Dr. Glassman and Dr. Levine both feel that the cost is as low as it’s going to go for a while. The cost is predicated upon the technology – so if the lights get stronger and can whiten your teeth faster, then it’ll get cheaper. So encourage all your kids to study this crap in school so they can lead us into the future of whiter teeth.

Originally published October 2003
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