So, you want to whiten your teeth and have whiter teeth with a charming and brighter smile like that of those Hollywood stars you see on your big screen. Most of them weren’t born with those pearly whites they show off. They had to undergo teeth whitening to achieve those bright teeth and you too can! But before you do this, you need to know the best practices and learn the answer to the question: how much does teeth whitening cost?
What Is Teeth Whitening?
Teeth whitening is a cosmetic dental procedure that involves lightening an individual’s enamel without taking out either tooth part or structure, using whitening products that basically contains hydrogen peroxide.
This procedure improves the whiteness and general appearance of an individual’s teeth- enamel. It has been found to also improve an individual’s confidence, as a good percentage of people who whitened their teeth confirmed that their self-esteem improved after the procedure.
While a greater number of people wish to whiten their teeth to boost their self and smile confidence.
Why You Should Whiten Your Teeth
As stated earlier, a lot of people whiten their teeth to boost their self-confidence and have a whiter smile. But beyond that, there are other reasons you may consider whitening your teeth; one of it includes ageing of the dentin.
As you age and get older, you may notice that your teeth are gradually getting discoloured and tuning yellow unlike years ago when they were pearly white. This discolouration occurs as a result of mechanical wearing away of the outermost part of the teeth known as Enamel which then leaves the inner part known as Dentin more visible.
The dentin is yellow and when the worn-out enamel reflects the yellowish colour of the dentin, the teeth appear to be yellow and this causes a lot of concern to the individual who now seeks teeth whitening as an alternative to improve his/her teeth appearance.
Another cause of tooth discolouration and the reason you may consider whitening your teeth is poor oral hygiene. Individuals who do not properly take care of their teeth and surrounding tissues usually end up with deposits such as dental stains, calculus (tartar) and material alba. These deposits discolour teeth.
Foods like coffee, tea, blackcurrant, red wines, and dark-coloured fruits and vegetables stain the teeth. Drugs like some antibiotics also stain the teeth, as well as nicotine from tobacco and cigarettes.
If you have any of these conditions, you may want to whiten your teeth. But before you do so, ensure that your teeth are thoroughly cleaned of every deposit on them.
Types of Teeth Whitening Procedures
Five different types of teeth whitening procedures would be discussed below.
Laser Teeth Whitening
This is a professional tooth whitening procedure and the newest innovation in cosmetic dentistry. It is currently the costliest and fastest teeth whitening procedure known. Patients who are undergoing laser teeth whitening are required to visit the clinic 2-4 times in-between spaces of 1-2 weeks each.
The treatment lasts for 15-60 minutes per application. A piece of important information about laser whitening is that it is still a modern science application, and researchers are still debating over claims made about it such as; the rate of reaction, increased sensation, and the danger it may pose to your teeth’ pulp.
In-Office Teeth Whitening
This procedure follows closely to laser teeth whitening in cost, although it is sometimes covered by dental insurance, unlike laser teeth whitening. In-office teeth whitening is also referred to as teeth bleaching, this is because it requires the use of products that bleaches by oxidization, which increases your teeth shade.
To ascertain the actual shade of your teeth, a professional tooth cleaning procedure, known as scaling and polishing is firstly carried out to remove deposits such as stains and tartar from your teeth surface.
Teeth when bleached in-office, usually get 3 to 8 shades brighter and it takes 30- to 60-minute in-office visits. Some dentists use bleaching agents and techniques such as Zoom, One-hour smile and Accelerated, which could be carried out in a single 2-hour appointment.
Zoom systems use special hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide gel under the activation zoom light.
At-Home Whitening Procedure
This procedure would be most favourable to people who have a phobia for dental clinics like many do or if your insurance isn’t buoyant enough to cover your dental care services.
The most common teeth whitening products used at home for teeth whitening include whitening strips, whitening pens, bleaching gel, and whitening packs.
Unlike the in-office procedures, this procedure takes time to produce obvious results and is a lot more affordable than the in-office whitening procedure.
Whitening Tray Whitening Procedure
This whitening procedure is either carried out at home or in the dental clinic. There are customizable dental trays made at dental clinics and the at-home dental trays.
The usage of each of them is dependent on the toughness of your teeth stains. If your dental stains are quite tough, you might want to go to a dentist to get you a custom tray for effective results of your teeth whitening procedure, otherwise, you can use a home tray and get your results over time.
Natural Teeth Whitening Procedure
If you have sensitive teeth and/or gums, you might not respond positively to the active component of most teeth whitening products used in the dental clinics and homes, so your best bet would be to use some natural ingredients to whiten your teeth.
Some of the most common natural teeth whitening ingredients include coconut oil mouth rinses, baking soda, and stevia. They have proven to help ward off stains and strengthen the enamels.
When using natural methods of teeth whitening, you must reduce the frequency of your intake of teeth staining foods such as teas, coffees and red wines, also tobacco and cigarette. This would help the natural whitening agents achieve optimal results.
Side Effects of Teeth Whitening
It is essential to remember that teeth whitening is not advised for every person because of the various physiological makeup of an individual’s teeth and the actual cause of teeth discolouration.
There are a thousand and one reasons an individual’s teeth are discoloured, and this means that there would be different therapeutic options and outcomes for the person. I usually recommend that you discuss with your dental caregiver before attempting any kind of teeth whitening.
Whitening agents have numerous side effects on the teeth, they include the following:
Whitening the teeth cause tooth sensitivity as most whitening treatments and products, especially over-the-counter products such as teeth bleaching trays, bleaching gel and whitening strips are not recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA).
These whitening products due to pressure and frequency of usage abrade the enamel and slowly expose the dentin and pulp. When the pulp and dentin are exposed, sensitivity sets in.
You will notice this as sharp pains and sensations across your teeth surface whenever you take in cold, warm or sweet foods and drink. Some people describe this as a ‘shocking sensation across their teeth.
When this happens, it is advised to cut down on the frequency at which you apply whitening products on your teeth, also increase your usage of products containing sodium fluoride and potassium nitrate.
Fluoride and potassium would help rebuild your enamel building minerals, thereby strengthening your teeth and getting rid of sensitivity.
In addition to teeth sensitivity, you might as well encounter gum/gingival irritation after a whitening treatment. When whitening products encounter your gum tissue, they irritate it because they are foreign agents.
This occurs mostly with over-the-counter whitening products and in rare cases as a result of exposure to laser rays. Gum irritation during teeth whitening can also occur as a result of the use of whitening strips and ill-fitting teeth whitening trays used during whitening.
When ill-fitting trays cause gum irritation, the gums usually heal between 3 days after completion of the whitening procedure or stopping the procedure.
Most over-the-counter whitening products are not approved by the American Dental Association (ADA), therefore some of these agents are not composed of what they claim to be composed off.
When these products are ingested, depending on your existing medical history, they could lead to further damages to your health or initiate a new infection in your system. Sepsis can also occur if not diagnosed and treated early from the onset.
Video: Risks of Teeth Whitening
According to a dental expert, teeth whitening has its pros and cons. Is the procedure worth it, with the cons listed in the video? Find out.
How Much Does Teeth Whitening Cost?
There are basically five different teeth whitening procedures; laser teeth whitening, in-office teeth whitening, at-home teeth whitening, whitening tray teeth whitening, and natural teeth whitening procedures.
All of these different whitening procedures vary in cost. This is due to the technicalities involved in each procedure and the cost of material used for each procedure.
For instance, laser teeth whitening is the most expensive form of teeth whitening procedure. It is usually not covered by dental insurance policies, although most dentists allow for patients to have a payment plan to enable them to cover the cost.
In-office-teeth whitening is less expensive than laser teeth whitening procedure. It is sometimes covered by dental insurance policies.
Whitening tray whitening procedure is a cheaper whitening procedure that could be done at home or in a dental clinic. This is because the materials used are easily sourced. So, no matter whether you choose a custom tray from the dental clinic or make your own tray at home. Whitening tray is an effective but affordable tooth whitening procedure you may want to go for especially when you are not so buoyant or on a buoyant health insurance scheme.
At-home-whitening-procedure is also another affordable tooth whitening option. As the name readily suggests, you would require buying just the kits for yourself to whiten your teeth at the comfort of your home. It is cost-effective and provides optimum whitening effect for the teeth.
Natural teeth whitening procedure is the cheapest whitening procedure. It would cost you nothing more than ingredients readily available in your home or local grocery store to whip up a whitening paste for yourself without running into debts or risking carcinogens that might present in over-the-counter-products.
It is important to note that the cost of these teeth whitening procedures will vary on your location, products used and the severity of your teeth discolouration. It’s important to consider these before choosing a treatment plan your soon to be pearly whites.
Teeth whitening is purely a cosmetic procedure, as they have no dental health rewards. Whatever your reasons may be for whitening your teeth, ensure you fully disclose your medical and dental history to your dental caregiver if you are opting for a professional whitening for an optimal treatment plan and effective results.
If you decide to whiten your teeth at home, it is also important you discuss with your dental caregiver for the best whitening procedure plan and to ensure you use recommended whitening products. During your teeth whitening procedure, if you encounter any side effect do not hesitate to inform your dental caregiver for a prompt dental check-up and follow up treatment.