Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 22, No. 41, Ed. 1 Friday, February 24, 2006 Page: 92 of 100
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White or wrong
When it comes to whitening your teeth, are all processes created equal?
By Steven Lindsay Contributing Writer
Dallas is resplendent with are beautiful people.
Women are nipped, men are tucked and there's
enough Botox in foreheads to fill Texas Stadium.
The pursuit of perfection and youth is an
unavoidable part of modern culture, is perhaps
even stronger in the gay community. Yet the price
tag associated with the vast array of cosmetic
procedures is enough to give a person pennanent
frown lines. But there is great news — and plen-
ty to smile about — when it comes to teeth
Thanks to advances in technology and
tion, obtaining a
g 1 e a m i n
white set of
and available everywhere from
the local dentist to the nearest drugstore,
So omnipresent are the products, they
can even be ordered during late-night
Meredith Baxter movie marathons
A quick search on Walgreens.com
is all it takes to understand the vast-
ness of the whitening empire. Over \
130 products are available through the
site in the form of strips, gels, pens,
toothpastes, mouthwash and chewing
gum — all claiming to have super whitening
There's also the "ionic" light advertised on
TV. As if walking around with other bleaching
apparatuses aren't humiliating enough, at least
one manufacturer has designed a system where
people cram tiny blue flashlights in their
The American Dental Association divides
whitening products into two groups: peroxide
containing whiteners or bleaching agents and
whitening toothpastes. But it lists only eight
approved over-the-counter whitening products
on its Web site.
So the question is, ADA approval or not, do
OTC whitening products work?
The simple answer is yes, but the complete
answer is more complicated.
While store-bought whitening products are
less expensive than professional whitening, there
is a cost in tenns of quality. And in many cases,
the price of drugstore whiteners could be higher
in the long run. OTC product results typically
don't last as long as professional treatment, so
more frequent usage is necessary.
Comfort is also a factor: Whitening gels can be
applied too liberally and damage gums.
And whitening toothpastes, which are more
expensive than simple fluoride alternatives, may
not do enough to get a smile its whitest.
"Whitening toothpastes mainly just put a few
molecules on teeth for a while and don't have a
lasting effect," said Dr. Alan Maedgen of
Maedgen Smile Designs at Turtle Creek.
What really works then? Several months ago,
I set out to compare OTC to professional whiten-
ing and find the answer.
First up was Crest Whitestrips Premium
($32.99), used for the one-week schedule recom-
Dentist Alan Maedgen says the Zoom whitening machine may
look odd, but the results speak for themselves.
mended on the box. The strips, which look simi-
lar to those blackhead-removing nose pads, had
to be worn twice a day for 30 minutes each ses-
sion. The strips were uncomfortable and
increased salivation so much that an unexpected
visit from a friend could end in an unnecessary
trip to the ER for rabies vaccinations.
After about 15 minutes, the adhesion can
lessen enough that they lose contact with the
tooth enamel. They do result in whiter teeth, but
they can end up looking chalky, unevenly col-
ored and overly sensitive. Irritated gums were
also experienced a few days into the test.
In comparison, a post-Whitestrip visit a month
later to Maedgen proved far more effective. The
popular smile makeover technology from Discus
Dental, known as Zoom!2, has a great reputation
on the Internet and among peer groups.
While whitening costs in Dallas can go as high
as $1000, Zoom!2 is typically around $500, and
can run as low as $300.
The results are amazing and many months
Continued on Page 19
B12 I dallasvoice.com ! 02.24.06
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Vercher, Dennis. Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 22, No. 41, Ed. 1 Friday, February 24, 2006, newspaper, February 24, 2006; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth238897/m1/92/: accessed March 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.