How Much Does Teeth Whitening Cost? Dentist vs At Home

How much does teeth whitening cost? You will be surprised to discover a number of different answers depending on what type of teeth whitening you are asking about. You can buy professional-grade at home kits for less than $100 and get a great result that may last up to 3 years or choose to see your dentist for an in-chair process that has the same outcome but costs more than 4 times as much.

Here’s a breakdown on the cost differences between choosing to use an at-home kit versus getting a professional-strength bleaching treatment from your general practitioner.

But first… What is Teeth Whitening? And, How Does It Work? To explain how it works, we need to learn about Caries and what causes teeth discoloration. Caries is simply the decay of a tooth through the destruction of the enamel and dentin layers by acidic bacterial metabolites that are produced during fermentation in our mouth due to poor oral hygiene practices. The best way to understand how these bacteria cause this damage is to compare it with the process that a person goes through when they have an infection, like cold or flu symptoms, and take penicillin as treatment for such conditions. In most cases, people only need one-dose treatment against strep throat or pneumonia because their immune system will eliminate the disease/illness within 24 hours after administering medication. However, if you have a large bacterial load in your mouth over time (poor oral health), some bad bugs will always exist (bacteria). Listerine was created to treat a large load of bad bacteria in the mouth and it’s highly effective. However, the consumption of alcohol is not an option for kids/teens, pregnant women or those who are taking antibiotics. A similar process occurs with teeth discoloration but without consuming medicine; you simply have too much bacteria in your mouth over time because of poor oral health practices – like eating sugary foods and snacks, drinking coffee, tea, soda etc. All of these things contribute to high bacterial loads that damage teeth enamel which eventually lead to brownish-yellow teeth discoloration. The good news about getting your teeth whitened is that no medicine needs to be taken because the goal is to kill the bacteria that causes teeth discoloration.

How Do I Whiten My Teeth?

The process of bleaching is often referred to as “oxidizing” which is simply a chemical reaction between hydrogen peroxide (bleach) and your enamel and dentin layers. This natural reaction kills most of the bad stain-causing bacteria in your mouth because there are no food particles present to feed on but also selectively targets and kills only surface stains, leaving healthy tissues intact. However, it doesn’t work like magic; you need some time for the hydrogen peroxide to reach deep into your enamel and do its job – up to two hours or so. It may not seem much but if you think about this in terms of smoking cessation, it’s very similar to the fact that cigarettes need time to travel through your blood stream and find all of those bad molecules. It takes time but the result is long-lasting.

What Makes Professional Teeth Whitening Different?

Now, if you compare professional teeth whitening performed in a dentist office with at-home treatments, you will learn that they are not much different from each other. The main difference between in office bleaching and using at home kits is the fact that not everyone can use over-the-counter treatment because some people have tooth surface loss or sensitivity problems, like exposure of dentin layers which leads to pain during teeth bleaching procedures. For these individuals, only an experienced dentist can safely remove old fillings, seal exposed dentin and use whitening agents that include OTC treatments. However, the outcome of these procedures is basically the same as an at home kit with custom-made bleaching trays because they contain a high concentration of hydrogen peroxide bleach – usually 18% or 10%.

What Are The Side Effects Of Professional Teeth Whitening?

Typically, people who can’t have teeth bleaching treatment at home but want to get it done in a dentist office face some potential side effects which may be mild or serious depending on your overall health condition. Bad breath after teeth bleaching is also possible but temporary and less common than other side effects like tooth sensitivity, gum tissue irritation or light jaw pain. And finally, this list of potential side effects includes white stains on teeth like your gums, lips and other tissues in your mouth. These are usually caused by a very concentrated bleaching agent used during the procedure but also can be prevented if you closely follow instructions provided by the dentist after treatment.

What Is The Application Of Teeth Whitening Gels?

The use of hydrogen peroxide is so widespread that most people think it’s only applicable in ways they see every day – bleach for clothes or hair dye to change color. However, there are applications for this chemical which go beyond these common uses; using a gel-type formulation is one of them and one of the most effective too. These gels are applied directly to teeth enamel surface under custom-made bleaching trays and the high concentration of hydrogen peroxide then deep penetrates enamel to kill bacteria. Here is one more difference between DIY kits and treatments at dentist’s office: people who use over-the-counter products have to do it on their own; they can’t be assisted by a dentist because most of the time bleaching agents used are too low in concentration, not strong enough to kill bad bacteria effectively or even just ineffective because there is no way for them to reach bacteria hiding inside teeth pits and grooves.

How Much Does Teeth Whitening Cost: It Depends!

Yes, the cost of teeth whitening will depend on what is the solution that will be used. Teeth whitening alternatives vary in terms of their costs, as well as their effectiveness. Make sure to first determine the amount of money that you are willing to spend before finally choosing any alternative.

  • Over-the-counter and at-home-use products

These are the cheapest ways by which it will be possible for you to get whiter teeth. For as low as $20, you can already buy kits that promise to make your teeth whiter with continued use. However, you should be careful when using these products as some of them may have adverse effects, and hence, can cause more problems rather than being the solution. Here are some things to remember:

o   Buy only those that are recommended by professionals. This makes it important to first consult with your dentist to know if one product is effective or not.

o   Make sure that the ingredients are safe and that they will not have negative effects on dentures and other restorative dental procedures that you might have undergone in the past.

o   Do not use more than the amount or duration that is recommended.

  • Professional whitening 

This is asserted to be the most effective but also the most expensive. The price will generally depend on the dentist you will visit and the procedure that will be administered. Some of the treatments that are available include power bleaching and power whitening, which can be anywhere from $300 to $1,000, depending on the extent of the treatment. This can even be more expensive because of the need for follow-up treatments.

The Cheapest and Best Way to Whiten Teeth

How Much Does Teeth Whitening Cost? Dentist vs At Home

Teeth whitening should not be costly. This is the case if you will prevent having stained or discolored teeth in the first place. This simply proves how prevention is not only better than cure, but also cheaper in significant proportions.

The cheapest and most probably the best way to whiten teeth is to maintain proper oral hygiene. This means that you should brush your teeth regularlyfloss, and use an effective mouthwash. You should also change your lifestyle, such as quitting from smoking and avoid drinking beverages that can possibly be the cause of discoloration.

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Conclusion

The cost of whitening your teeth will generally depend on the solution that will be chosen. If you want to spend low and to enjoy a high level of effectiveness, proper oral hygiene is the way to go. This has been proven by many people in the past and there is no way that this will prove to be not effective on you as well.