Teeth Whitening: Options and Considerations

 In Cosmetic Dentistry

Today, teeth whitening is the most popular cosmetic dental procedure performed across the United States, and for good reason. With the modern world becoming closer and more connected over time, social interactions have started to play an increasingly important role in our daily lives. An attractive smile can go a long way toward leaving a lasting first impression on a person. For a lot of people, stained or discolored teeth can become an impediment to this lasting first impression. A recent survey by the American Association of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) revealed that 48% of American adults consider the smile to be the most memorable feature of a person they meet for the first time. The same survey also states that 25% of people with flawed smiles considered themselves less confident about themselves. Thus, for many people, teeth whitening can be the key to gaining an attractive smile and improving confidence. 

Let us look at some of the common cosmetic teeth whitening methods: 

In-Office Dental Whitening Treatment

The standard in-office dental whitening procedure consists of the dentist applying a whitening gel to your teeth to break down the staining compounds that turn your teeth yellow. This staining can be caused for a multitude of reasons, including coffee, tobacco, and other dietary and lifestyle habits. This process can be repeated multiple times, depending on the severity of the staining, to ensure that the teeth come out whiter than before. While it uses harsher chemicals and is more expensive than over-the-counter solutions, in-office dental whitening is by far the most effective and long-lasting teeth whitening method.

Teeth Whitening Trays

Teeth whitening trays are a more at-home solution where a gel-based whitening solution and customized teeth whitening tray are provided by the dentist to be used at home. These gels are not as strong as the ones used for in-office procedures. Thus, the whitening trays have to be used continuously for weeks or even months to see good results. 

Over-the-counter Solutions

Finally, there are over-the-counter solutions. These range from whitening toothpaste and rinses to whitening strips and chewing gum. Most whitening toothpaste uses mild abrasives to remove stains from the teeth’s surface. Whitening strips contain the same peroxide-based gel that dentists use but in a much lower concentration. Over-the-counter teeth-whitening kits come with multiple strips and gel that have to be applied over the course of a few weeks or months. While these solutions are the cheapest of the lot, they can take a long time to show satisfactory results. The abrasive contained in certain gels and toothpaste can also erode the enamel and damage the teeth. 

Let us now look at the different factors to consider while choosing the teeth-whitening method that’s best for you:

Cost: The cost of in-office dental whitening procedures in America is around USD 650 on average. At-home trays can cost up to USD 300 on average, while over-the-counter solutions range from $50  strips to $3  toothpaste. 

Effectiveness: With in-office whitening, you typically require only one or two sessions to complete the whole procedure. Results are visible right after the procedure is completed, and if you maintain good oral hygiene, the whitening effects can last for months after the procedure. At-home trays have to be applied multiple times and can take 1-3 weeks to show results. Its effectiveness depends on the concentration of hydrogen peroxide in the product. Over-the-counter strips need to be used frequently and can take a long time to show proper results.

Safety: Teeth whitening procedures are non-invasive and generally considered safe. Yet, people with sensitive teeth must consult with their dentist before using any kind of teeth-whitening product because certain abrasives can damage the teeth and increase sensitivity. Teeth with cavities need to be filled in before in-office whitening, as the gel can irritate the cavities.

Lifestyle Habits: Various lifestyle habits, like tobacco use, coffee consumption, etc., can cause teeth staining. For the whitening procedure to be effective, one must avoid using foods and beverages that stain the teeth after the procedure. 

Thus, there are multiple factors to consider while opting for a teeth-whitening procedure. It is important that you select the procedure that suits both your budget and your oral health. Over-the-counter solutions might seem cheaper, but they can cause more harm than good in the long run. Here at Every Smile, our team of professional dentists will work with you and your needs to suggest the best teeth-whitening procedure for you. Contact us at (480) 504-6871 or schedule an appointment online.

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