Whitening your teeth is a cosmetic procedure. This indicates that the operation is optional rather than obligatory for the individual’s health. Unfortunately, cosmetic dentistry is not covered by most insurance, including dental insurance.
Whiter teeth do not have to be ruled out because of a lack of insurance coverage. You may cut the cost of teeth whitening by doing a few things.
Examining the Enamel of the Teeth
Because of their porcelain-like enamel surface, most of us start life with gleaming white teeth. Tooth enamel is made up of small crystalline rods that protect the teeth from the impacts of chewing, gnashing, trauma, and sugar-induced acid assaults.
However, as the enamel wears away, it becomes more translucent, allowing the yellow color of dentin — the tooth’s inner structure — to peek through.
Dentin remains intact during normal chewing, but millions of microcracks appear in the enamel. These fissures, as well as the spaces between the crystalline enamel rods, accumulate stains and debris over time. As a result, the teeth become dull and unattractive over time.
Teeth whitening eliminates stains and debris from the teeth, exposing the enamel fractures. Saliva immediately remineralizes some of the gaps, while organic material fills others.
Preventing Stains from Forming in the First Place
Although good dental hygiene helps to prevent stains, they are sometimes inevitable. The discoloration is divided into two categories by dentists: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic stains are part of the tooth structure and will not be removed by whitening. Intrinsic stains are caused by inheritance and the passage of time.
Too much fluoride in the drinking water (which appears as white spots on the teeth) or a high fever during the critical period when tooth enamel is growing can also cause them. These intrinsic stains are a natural component of the tooth, and there isn’t much that can be done to get rid of them.
Food, alcohol, and smoke stains are examples of extrinsic stains. Coffee and cigarettes, for example, tint teeth brown. Bacteria from poor dental hygiene can also produce stains. The good news about extrinsic stains is that they can be avoided with basic dental care and are usually easy to remove.
Stain-removal products are divided into two categories. Over-the-counter therapies that range from inexpensive (tooth-whitening toothpaste, rinses, gel strips) to more expensive (tooth-whitening toothpaste, rinses, gel strips) are referred to as at-home products (home whitening kits).
Teeth can also be whitened by dentists. Their solutions are generally more expensive, but they produce longer-lasting results in less time.
Over-the-Counter (OTC) Drugs
Using whitening toothpaste, a woman brushes her teeth.
Many people try at-home whitening products while saving up for superior whitening procedures delivered by a dentist. Before using any teeth whitening solutions at home, people should consult with a dentist.
This is especially true for people who have sensitive teeth or who have fillings or crowns on their teeth, dental bridges, or implants. They’ll be able to recommend products that will function well without causing damage to current dental work.
The following are examples of over-the-counter whitening products:
- Toothpaste. To clean and whiten teeth, they use whitening chemicals and abrasive particles.
- Mouthwash. Stains can be lightened by swishing a whitening rinse or mouthwash.
- Whitening Strips and Gels Gels are administered directly to the teeth for up to two weeks, usually twice a day. The prices usually range from $10 to $50.
- The chemical ingredient that whitens teeth is 10-20% peroxide, which is found in most home products. These only have a short-term advantage, and the end outcomes differ from one brand to the next. Dentists utilise professional-grade bleaching treatments with greater peroxide concentrations that whiten faster and remain longer.
Whitening Kits for Use at Home
Another popular method is to use whitening kits at home. These are whitening substances that are placed in a tray that molds to the shape of a person’s teeth.
These usually necessitate more daily application time than other DIY options. Two trays are included with each kit, one for the top and one for the bottom teeth. Many of these necessitate nighttime use.
These whitening kits, like any other over-the-counter whitening solution, should be used exactly as instructed to avoid tooth harm. The average cost of a home kit is between $40 and $100.
Professional at-home kits, which can cost up to $400, are available from some dentists. Professional at-home kits have a mouthpiece that is custom-made for each person’s mouth and contain stronger peroxide concentrations than over-the-counter kits.
- At the dentist’s office
- At the dentist, a patient is getting ready for teeth whitening.
- At the dentist’s office, whitening solutions are also available. Because they perform faster and last longer, they are more expensive. The average cost of a dental whitening operation is $650, yet many people believe the results are worth it. Patients may require more than one therapy, which takes 60-90 minutes on average. Dentists employ stronger peroxide solutions, which can whiten teeth for up to three years if dental hygiene is maintained.
To ensure long-lasting brightness, professional in-office whitening follows a uniform procedure:
- A shade measurement is the first step taken by the dentist. Patients may examine how discolored their teeth are now and how much brighter they will be after the surgery with this tool. This serves as a guideline for the procedure.
- The teeth are then polished with pumice by the dentist.
- After that, he or she uses a cheek retractor to expose the teeth to the whitening gel.
- To protect the patient’s eyes, gums, and lips from the bleaching gel, the dentist places a shield over their eyes, gums, and lips.
- After that, he or she paints resin over the gums, leaving only the teeth to be whitened exposed.
- Finally, the teeth are treated with fast-acting gel.
- This method is repeated three times for a total of three 15-20 minute bleaching sessions.
- Dentists can also activate the gel with UV light. This aids in the formation of a stronger connection and increases the gel’s effectiveness.
- After the operation is completed, the final whiteness will take 2-6 weeks to obtain.
- Dentists typically complete all of this in a single visit, though they may also recommend at-home whitening trays. Because each patient’s circumstance is unique, this fundamental method may differ and further visits may be required to attain the desired whiteness.