So you’re considering teeth whitening? With so much emphasis these days on having a white, bright smile, you’re certainly not alone. You probably already know that the cost of professional teeth whitening is relatively high – considerably more than whitening teeth at home. Which is why it’s so important for you to decide the best way to whiten your teeth before parting with your hard-earned cash.
However, before we get to discussing teeth whitening costs, let’s take a look at why your pearly whites have turned a dull(ish) yellow and the benefits to be gained from teeth whitening.
Reasons for teeth discolouration and staining
Did you know that it’s perfectly natural for teeth to turn more yellow with age? It’s true! Over time, the translucent protective enamel starts to thin, revealing the inner dentin which is several shades darker. Other reasons for stained teeth are lifestyle choices such as smoking, and drinking stain-inducing drinks, such as coffee, tea, red wine, and cola.
Why Teeth Whitening?
Have you ever noticed how people with a sparkly white smile seem to attract other people to them – almost like bees to a honey pot? Why is this?
Simply because many people perceive a person with lovely white teeth to be
- More attractive
- More confident, and even
- More trustworthy
Other benefits of teeth whitening include
- A great looking smile which can create a good first impression
- Whiter teeth that make you want to smile more – Did you know for example that when you crack a smile, mood-enhancing endorphins are released making you feel better?
- Smiling boosts confidence which in turn can improve self-esteem
- … it makes you look younger!
All of these are perfectly sound reasons for wanting whiter teeth, that’s for sure!
So now you understand the reasons for stained or discoloured teeth and the benefits of having a beautiful white smile, you’re probably itching to rush out and buy a teeth whitening treatment from the chemist. After all, it won’t make such a big dent in your wallet!
But hang on a minute …..
There’s got to be a reason why shop bought teeth whitening products are cheaper than professional teeth whitening treatments.
Cheap doesn’t always mean inferior or dangerous, but when it comes to something as important and visible as your teeth, can you afford to take the risk?
First of all, what’s used in the products?
The majority of teeth whitening treatments intended for whitening teeth at home, (including over the counter products and some dentist-supervised at home products) contain carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide, which can lighten your teeth. Generally speaking these have a hydrogen peroxide content of around 3%. However this is a drop in the ocean when compared to professionally applied tooth whitening products which contain a percentage of between 15% to 40%, and sometimes higher.
Surely this is a good thing, isn’t it?
Well yes and no……
From a safety aspect, it’s not allowed for teeth whitening products to be used at home to contain
high levels of bleach, for obvious reasons. On the flip side of this, it means that the most these products can lighten your teeth by is around 1-3 shades. Furthermore, it can take weeks or even months before you see any noticeable results. Not ideal if you were hoping to whiten your teeth in time for a date or a job interview.
Frustrating, isn’t it.
So low levels of peroxide are partly the reason that store-bought teeth whitening kits are cheaper, but you’re probably still trying to get your head around why professional teeth whitening treatments are significantly higher in cost.
Could it be your dentist just wants to make a big fat profit?
Ha, we thought you might think that!
No. The real reason that professional teeth whitening costs more is because it’s one of the safest and most effective methods of teeth whitening available. So what you’ve really got to consider is what cost do you put on your smile? How much is yours worth?
Understand that we’re not just talking about the monetary costs of professional teeth whitening. We’re comparing the not so obvious differences between getting your teeth whitened by a dental professional, and whitening your teeth at home using over-the-counter teeth whitening products.
What makes professional teeth whitening different?
We’ve already mentioned that over the counter teeth whitening kits and strips can take several weeks to lighten your teeth noticeably, but with professionally applied teeth whitening treatments such as Zoom whitening, you can expect to see noticeable results within an hour. Just imagine, you could fit this treatment into your lunch hour and dazzle your date with your smile later that evening. Pretty impressive, right?
Personalised for you
Alternatively, If you opt to use professional at-home teeth whitening kits you’ll be given custom-made trays that are designed to fit your mouth. Your dentist will take an impression of your teeth and send it off to the dental lab where your custom trays will be fabricated, guaranteeing an exact fit. You’ll be given the teeth whitening gel, shown how to fill your trays, and told how long to wear them for. While this may take longer than chairside whitening, you can still expect to see great results within 14 days. At the end of treatment, your dentist will check the results. If your teeth aren’t quite as white as you’d hoped, he may recommend a quick chairside treatment to top up the whiteness.
Consider this as an alternative to buying over the counter teeth whitening trays or strips which are designed to be a “one size fits all” model, then you can quickly see that there really is no comparison.
The trouble is we’re all different and have our own unique dental needs. Choose a mass produced teeth whitening kit for instance, and you’re likely to find that they’re not a perfect fit – if they fit at all! This can mean uneven whitening, or worse still, bleaching your gums and lips causing sensitivity or burning.
If you use whitening strips the end results can also be very hit and miss. While one person could achieve really good results others may experience only partial whitening. A patchy smile probably isn’t the glamorous look you were hoping for!
Choose your shade
When you decide to use over the counter teeth whitening kits you have no idea what the end results will be since these can vary from one person to another. With dentist applied teeth whitening treatments you have the luxury of choosing your shade.
Whether you’re looking to lighten your teeth by one or two shades or you want an all-out Hollywood smile, it’s up to you. Your dentist uses a shade guide to help you decide which colour to choose. He’ll also determine whether your teeth are actually capable of achieving the level of whiteness you desire.
Longer lasting results
Unlike shop-bought teeth whitening products, a professional chair-side whitening treatment produces results that last for a long time, six months and more. To keep your smile ‘topped up’ your dentist can also provide you with a maintenance kit to take home with you.
Not only does the cost of professional teeth whitening include a powerful whitening product that guarantees speedy and outstanding results but, most important of all, it includes an initial consultation, supervision, and expert advice from a dental professional.
Before performing any teeth whitening treatment, your Chatswood dentist will begin by carrying out a thorough examination of your teeth to try and work out what has caused the staining. It may be due to your love for coffee or red wine or it could be that your stains are intrinsic – meaning they’re coming from within the teeth. These can be very difficult to remove, even with a high strength whitening formula.
If this is the case your dentist might suggest another option such as veneers for teeth. This is a great alternative because veneers can also straighten slightly crooked teeth, close gaps, and conceal chips and blemishes. They can be coloured to the shade you want for a seamless smile, and since they’re more resistant to staining, your teeth will stay looking whiter for longer. Result!
Sometimes this examination reveals dental problems which must be addressed before undergoing teeth whitening. Poor oral hygiene can mean your gums are inflamed and sensitive and your dentist will want to help you clear this up before lightening your teeth. Darkened teeth can also be the result of a problematic root canal or tooth decay, and again it’s vital that this type of dental work is carried out and your mouth made healthy, before undergoing any cosmetic procedures.
While professional teeth whitening treatment doesn’t normally present any safety problems for patients, whether carried out here or at your home, our chairside teeth whitening treatment gives you added peace of mind that we’re on hand and can help right away should you experience extreme sensitivity or some other discomfort.
So, back to the million dollar question:
IS THE COST OF PROFESSIONAL TEETH WHITENING, WORTH IT FOR YOU?
Once you’ve been confirmed as a suitable candidate for teeth whitening, you can decide which method to use depending on your budget and preference. We use the popular Zoom method of teeth whitening here at Evergreen Dental which offers a choice of chairside or whitening teeth at home. If you’re after speedy and dramatic whitening results then professional in-office whitening is best for you. However, if your teeth are super sensitive, your dentist may recommend take-home trays which are gentler but take a little longer to work.
Don’t leave your smile to chance. Call our friendly, experienced dental team today on (02) 8074 3849 to book a teeth whitening consultation.