LARCHMONT, N.Y. - Dr. Paul Grandsire's wife had her teeth whitened 10 years ago, but now wants to go whiter, which he said reflects a general trend among his Mamaroneck patients.
"It wasn't even really popular 10 years ago," said Grandsire, who now carries bleached filling material to match whitened teeth. "Now, it's become more popular, people know about it."
Gorgeous smiles are perhaps the most coveted accessory. Some people choose at home treatments, while others opt for in-office professional whitening by a dental hygienist or dentist. Grandsire offers both office and at home treatments, and believes the patient's personality factors into their decision. The in-office whitening is a one-in-a-half hour procedure, whereas the at-home bleaching requires the patient to wear a tray molded in the shape of their teeth for 10 to 14 days, one hour a day.
"You can get there either pathway," said Grandsire, who noted some couldn't sit still that long and other couldn't wear the tray every day. "It almost depends on the patient's personality more than the procedure."
The fact is, teeth whitening has become big business in the United States. In 2010 alone, profits related to personal dental care in the U.S. totaled $1.6 billion, according to a report published by iData Research. And with price points for cosmetic teeth whitening ranging from $5 to $500, almost everyone can afford a whiter smile.
The general consensus is that teeth whitening products and treatments are generally safe for most people, if the instructions are followed properly.
"You can't buy tooth paste nowadays that doesn't say whitening somewhere on the tube," said Grandsire, who has even worked teeth whitening into other procedures, such as a chipped tooth.
"We can repair and match the original color, but in many cases, we'll mention to them if you whiten your teeth, then we can match the chip to a whiter color."
According to WebMD, the active ingredient that works to whiten your smile is "typically carbamide peroxide in various concentrationsoften 10 to 20 percent." Grandsire's at-home treatment contains 10 to 20 percent, but the in-office treatment contains 35 percent. Some do-it-yourself teeth whitening products even bear the American Dental Association seal of approval.
But what price are you willing to pay for beauty? Some people experience extreme discomfort and sensitivity as a direct result of exposure to the peroxide used to remove stains. However, Grandsire said any side effects are reversible. Others shell out incredible amounts of money for an ultra-white smile. An at-home whitening will cost you $495 at Grandsire's Boston Post Road practice. But, the Hartsdale resident offers a $100 discount in the two months leading up to the Swim Across America in July, which he has participated in for the last seven years. He then donates $200 out of that discounted price to the 501c3 organization.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.