Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Guest Post: Yes, Your Teeth Could be Whiter. (But Why?)

By Virginia Sole-Smith of Beauty Schooled

Hello, wedding folk. Today, I want to tell you that all of your teeth are perfectly fine the way they are. This is a very important message for brides to hear. Because, assuming you're a responsible person with a reasonable concern for dental hygiene, you might well find yourself going to the dentist for a check-up over the course of your wedding planning.

And then you might happen to mention, ever so conversationally, that you're getting married in a few months and yes, you're wicked excited about it.

And at this point, they stamp your forehead with a big BRIDE stamp, and proceed to tell you how essential teeth whitening is to your Special Day.

"You don't want those teeth in your photos!" my dental hygienist told me. She brought out this little row of teeth in various shades of white and yellow and pointed. "You're about here, now." The tooth was off-white, sure, but not horrifyingly so. "We could get you to here." That tooth was...also off-white. "The results vary, of course. And you have to stop drinking red wine and coffee, pretty much forever."

And the price we pay for this version of pretty? At my dentist, it was going to run me at least $600 and no, your health insurance does not care about how white your teeth are in your wedding photos.

Reader, I considered it.

I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I seriously sat in the chair while the dental hygienist scrubbed my teeth clean and calculated whether I could spare $600 to make my teeth whiter. Was this something I was expected to do? Would it be the thing that made all the difference in how I felt on and after my wedding day?

I do drink a lot of coffee and red wine. And so, yes, my teeth could surely be whiter.

"Plus, don't forget, your dress is white," said the dental hygienist. "You don't want your teeth to clash."

I had already decided I would be color-coordinating my wedding day underwear with my shoes. (Yes, that sounds a little lost-the-plot, but that's the kind of thing I do for fun on normal days too.) But — gasp! — it had not even occurred to me to color-coordinate my teeth to my wedding.

Thank. The. Good. Lord. That I decided to go home and think it over before committing to anything. My then-boyfriend/now-husband burst out laughing as soon as I suggested it. Plus his teeth are worse than mine. "You can't whiten your teeth, I have to stand right next to you!" Good point. My best friend wrote an emphatic email, where, I believe, the phrase "lost the plot" was used correctly.

And I realized: Oh, right. Paying $600 to whiten my teeth on my wedding day would be insane.

Now, no judgment if you've already gone ahead and done this. Rock on with your white-teethed self! Everyone's wedding and budget and needs are different and I am not here to tell you what to do. But I do think it's important to be clued in to what your own personal wedding/budget/needs are. And my day in no way required whiter teeth.

But, okay, confession time: The week before the wedding, I dropped $30 on a box of Crest White Strips. They made my gums tingle and I'm not sure my teeth looked all that much whiter, especially since my dress was pretty off-white, not white, to begin with. I fully chalk this purchase up to a healthy dose of pre-wedding stress. But at least I saved $570.

Are you debating teeth whitening for your wedding? Or have you found yourself succumbing to Wedding Day Pressure in some other way? Go ahead, laugh at yourself a little in the comments. We've all been there.

Virginia Sole-Smith is a freelance writer and author of the blog Beauty Schooled. When not obsessing over the color of her teeth and her underwear, she enjoys labeling things, knitting, and bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches.

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beautyschooledproject.com said...

Hi again!

For some reason the link to my blog didn't run in the post above, so just wanted to add that here.



SingColleen said...

OMG I totally did this! Like you, it was my dental hygienist, followed by a day or two of obsessive researching on the costs, techniques and whether it really worked. Those two or three days I was convinced I could find the money for professional whitening, but then I started to read about how it kind of hurt for people with sensitive teeth (ME), and that the chemicals were questionable (much like many of our beauty products).

I finally found a natural beauty site that suggested rinsing with hydrogen peroxide after brushing, which would VERY slowly do the same thing, over a year or so. So I did it every night until my wedding, spending about $10 total on hydrogen peroxide, and guess what? I couldn't see any difference.

Y'know what else? My wedding pics looked gorgeous. Even the close-ups.

That said, I do still rinse with peroxide from time to time, when my mouth feels like it needs that little extra burst of freshness. I don't use mouthwash, and the peroxide is a pretty good substitute.

Courtney said...

I would try the Crest strips, but no way would I ever spend $600 to make my teeth whiter.

To say "your teeth will clash with your dress" is ridiculous!


jacin {lovely little details} said...

this is the smallest world ever, i went to high school with virginia!! great post :)

Autumn said...

Color-coordinating your teeth to your dress? Is this a "thing" now? I'm wearing a blue sweater today--ye gods!

Jayna said...

haha, I went to a orthodontist to get an estimate for braces!!

lilaeden said...

My fiance and I were both planning on having something professionally done to make our teeth whiter. We both are bordering on yellow, and I guess I just have this need to look the Best I could possibly look and he's bought into it to.

This totally makes me question that plan, which is probably a good thing. It's kinda lame that we are expected to do all this extra primping that we normally wouldn't bother with.

{ashley} said...

I work in a dental office and we have never charged $600 for any kind of whitening! That must have been to have the in office bleaching. That is not a very good option. This basically dehydrates your teeth and that is what gives you the effect of whitening. It does also bleach your teeth but there is not enough contact time so the results do not last. It will fade over then next couple of weeks very quickly. And it will make your teeth ache.

In my office we offer two choices. We can make custom trays and that you put the bleaching agent in and wear for 30 minutes to an hour for 10 days. Or you can buy some of our professional strength whitening strips. We have different strengths {in case your teeth are sensitive} and we also offer desensitizing strips {worn like the crest white strips} They ease the sensitivity and booth your teeth with fluoride.

Hope this information was helpful! Do you have to whiten for your big day? No, absolutely not. People are not going to be staring at your teeth. But it does make you look years younger and makes you feel confident.

PS you do not have to give up coffee and red wine forever. You can safely bleach every 6 months to a year.

Anonymous said...

I loved this post. One thing that struck me is the cost - I don't mean the $600, but no red wine or coffee?? No way!

I too have an off-white dress, vintage cream really, which uncannily matches my highly imperfect teeth. And all the worries I've had all my life about my teeth color won't stop me from smiling like a fool all day.

Anonymous said...

I have used the Crest strips, and they worked really well for me. I have sensitive teeth, and they did ache ever so slightly, but nothing that some sensodyne couldn't alieviate.

Anonymous said...

Several years ago, I decided to get my teeth whitened. I saved my money to do it. It was well worth it. I'm so happy I did it. Ever since, I've done it I haven't had to do anymore. Now, when I get married next year my teeth will be beautiful. Having white teeth isn't something I obsess over at all. A bride is beautiful just the way they are. For some brides, maybe they were smokers and want their teeth to be white. In all I think brides should love what God gave them. :)

Katie Mae said...

Related story - I went with my mom, grandma, aunts and cousins to get manicures the day before my wedding. I never wear nail polish so I just had the manicurist shape my nails. Then she told my sister she was afraid my husband wouldn't love me because my nails weren't pretty enough on our wedding day! It was a difficult hurdle but we're still married.

Budget Wedding said...

I must admit I whitened my teeth before our wedding! I wasn't $600 though - I bought one of those at home kits (like the Crest strips, but it wasn't that one). It actually worked really well.

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