After years of hard work, you're finally getting your degree. Whether it's a bachelor's, master's or professional degree, one thing is for sure: You want to look great as you walk across the stage to get your diploma (and in any photos taken at your graduation). But a quick glance in the mirror reveals that your teeth are looking a bit yellow and your student budget is keeping you from scheduling a visit to the dentist for a professional teeth whitening.
There's good news, though. When it comes to a fast way to whiten teeth at home, you have a few options. If graduation is in just a few days, you still have time to brighten your smile.
Why Care About a Whiter Smile?
A smile has power. As a study from the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) found, 92 percent of people believe that a smile can improve someone's day. In addition, about 88 percent of people believe that smiling improves their mood.
It's not just the act of smiling that matters. A similar survey from the AACD found that nearly three-quarters of people believe that having an unattractive smile can hurt their chances at career success. Most survey respondents stated that the one thing they would change about their smile would be to make their teeth whiter and brighter.
Teeth Whitening Options
You can divide teeth whitening treatments into two major categories: in-office and at-home. In-office treatments use strong bleaching agents, as the American Dental Association (ADA) notes. Often, these treatments provide fast results. The trade-off is that they have a high price tag.
On the flip side, at-home treatments tend to use lower concentrations of hydrogen peroxide and have a more wallet-friendly price. You won't get the custom-fit that you'd get from a treatment at a dentist's office, but if your goal is simply to improve the look of your smile in pictures, you'll likely be satisfied with the results you get at home.
A Fast Way to Whiten Your Teeth
At-home treatments really run the gamut from fast and effective to not-so-fast and not-so-effective. For example, most teeth-whitening toothpastes remove surface stains from teeth, but, as the ADA notes, they won't actually change the color of your teeth. To get the best possible results, find a product that contains peroxide, which will actually change the color.
Although you might not have the cash for an in-office whitening treatment at the moment, it's still a good idea to check with your dentist before you try an at-home option. You want to make sure that a whitening kit will actually improve the color of your teeth and that your teeth can be safely whitened at home. Not all stains respond the same to bleach, and some types of dental restorations, such as crowns or veneers, don't respond to whitening products at all.