Did you ever want to give a really big smile to someone hot across the room and then get scared because you remember your teeth aren’t all that white anymore? Maybe they’re a little stained from coffee, tea, red wine or tobacco smoke (not your own of course) and your teeth look neglected. Hey, you’re just having fun. Living life… Well, your teeth might just need a little TLC and a good teeth whitening. Your smile is the first thing people notice about you. Teeth whitening to the rescue!
So what are your choices in the teeth whitening world? There are several categories of teeth whitening:
- Dental bleaching, power or light-accelerated bleaching called laser bleaching administered by your dentist during an office appointment
- Low-concentration whitening in over the counter kits and products such as bleaching strips, bleaching pen, bleaching gel, rinses, chewing gums or toothpaste used for tooth whitening
- Non-dental bleaching performed at kiosks, spas and beauty salons
Whitening teeth with bleaching agents is a common procedure in cosmetic dentistry. A whitening gel is placed inside a well-fitted tray that fits over your teeth. A cosmetic dentist will customize a tray height to evenly deliver maximum bleaching agent to your teeth while avoiding gum tissue.
Over the counter teeth whitening products often contain the same bleaching ingredients that your dentist uses but in much lower concentration. Whereas you can sit with a tray on your teeth at the dentist for fifteen minutes you might spend an hour at home repeated multiple times. Teeth whitening at home may take several weeks for good results.
How does teeth whitening work? Oxidizing agents such as hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide lighten the shade of the tooth by penetrating the composition of the enamel. The structure of the tooth is not changed but the tooth becomes lighter in color and whiter. Fillings, crowns and bonding will not lighten during teeth whitening, however. So, if you have random crowns in the front consult a dentist about teeth whitening. You don’t want to end up with different colored shades of teeth out in front.
Cosmetic teeth whitening at your dentist’s office will cost around $600 to $1,200. It is still considered the gold standard of tooth whitening. Home-bleaching kits sold by your dentist including customized materials and consultations with your dentist run about $300 to $500.
Superficial teeth stains can be addressed by whitening toothpastes. However, if the stain is deep into the tooth then more powerful bleaching agents are required. How does that song go about smiling? Well, if you want the whole world smiling at you, check out teeth whitening. Get your smile on…