Flashing a bright, beautiful smile is one of the most powerful forms of self-expression. The positive impact your smile has is far-reaching, from elevating mood and boosting self-confidence, to helping you build healthier and happier relationships. If your smile isn’t quite where you want it to be, and you’re wondering how much does teeth whitening cost; don’t fret – there’s an affordable option for every budget! Let’s jump in and discuss staining, causes, and the cost of teeth whitening options.
Knowing The Difference Between Bleaching & Whitening
We often call all procedures that lighten our teeth, teeth whitening treatments, but if you’re choosing an option that uses hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, this is called bleaching. Bleaching refers to whitening your teeth beyond their natural color, by penetrating beneath your enamel to directly lighten your teeth. Whitening refers to restoring the surface of your teeth by removing dirt and debris that has accumulated in your enamel’s micro-cracks. Why is knowing the difference important? While both processes can be used to enhance your smile, the ingredients and techniques used are unique, and can make a big difference in what treatment you choose based on your desired goals and budget.
Micro-cracks In My Enamel?
If the sound of micro-cracks in your enamel has you worried; don’t be. It’s a natural occurrence that happens over time as your enamel gets worn down from all the chewing, gnashing, and sugar consumption (acid attacks). Eventually, the yellow color of your tooth dentin will show through, and the micro-cracks (and spaces between) will fill up with debris, causing staining and a dull appearance. That’s not to say you’re walking around with millions of micro-cracks, though, as your saliva does re-mineralize some of them!
What Causes Staining Other Than Organic Debris?
The cost of teeth whitening can fluctuate depending on the root cause of the staining, for example:
- As you age, your teeth are subject to more wear and tear and heavier staining. By the time you hit 40-50, yellow stains will give way to brown stains, and these may become more stubborn to remove, but not impossible! While individuals in their 15-20’s will see dramatic results from teeth whitening services with only a little effort.
- We all have a starting color that ranges from yellow-brown to green-gray. Those within the yellow-brown range will respond better to bleaching treatments, but that doesn’t mean you won’t see results if you’re in the blue-gray range.
- Biting edges darken from grinding your teeth, and trauma causes large cracks to fill up more readily.
- Genetic traits like how transparent or opaque your teeth appear affect how well teeth whitening options work on you. Those with thinner, more transparent teeth will have a harder time bleaching their teeth, while those with thick and opaque teeth will have an easier time.
Of course, things like eating habits, nicotine use, and chemical/drug use can also affect the type of staining you get on your teeth, which can influence how much the teeth whitening treatments cost. For example, eating often causes extrinsic staining, which are stains that appear on the surface of your teeth (superficial) and can be removed easily with dental cleanings, and teeth whitening. Whereas, nicotine, for example, causes intrinsic discoloration which forms on the interior of your teeth, and can be difficult to remove or require multiple treatments at a higher strength to get desired results.
What Whitening Options Are Available & How Much Do They Cost?
There are a variety of teeth whitening options available, ranging from over-the-counter products to in-office professional treatments.
1. In-Office Whitening Treatments. An in-office teeth whitening treatment involves the use of high-concentration hydrogen or carbamide peroxide gel to safely bleach your teeth to a stunning white. To protect your gums, our dentists will apply a paint-on rubber dam, and then apply the peroxide gel directly to your teeth, which will sit there for 15-minutes at a time, up to 1-hour. The advantage of in-office dental whitening treatments is that you can gain a significant color change in a short period of time, as the oxygen within the bleaching agent weakens and fades the stains in your teeth at the molecular level.
Cost: This is the most expensive option, but it’s also the most powerful, taking care of intrinsic, stubborn stains, and giving you several shades lighter. The price range for this is between $500-1,000, but averages out to $650.
2. Dentist Dispensed Take-Home Kits. An at-home, supervised teeth whitening process is done through dispensed take-home kits. These come with custom-fitted trays that are designed to fit your mouth, and contain a high-medium concentration of bleaching gel. These are to be worn for a few hours every night, over the course of a few weeks, and are the best option for gradual whitening of stubborn stains.
Cost: This is the middle ground when it comes to expense, being weaker concentration than in-office treatments, but a great option for producing long-haul results on stains that need more than one in-office visit. The price range for this is between $100-4,00 and can deliver similar results as in-office visits, just over a much longer time period.
3. Over-the-Counter Products. These are the least expensive option, which commonly come in thin, flexible, and hydrogen-peroxide coated strips. These are meant to be quick and easy to use, being placed on your teeth and worn 1-2 times a day for upwards of 60-minutes over the course of a few weeks. These do not produce as dramatic of a result like the in-office or at-home supervised options, as they contain lower concentrations of bleaching agents.
Cost: This is the cheapest option available, making them an excellent option for those on a tight budget who still want to enhance their smile. It’s important to note here that these strips will only whiten the upper/lower 6 front teeth. The price range for this is between $20-100, and can deliver varying results depending on how often you use them, and how well you follow the given instructions.
Overall, how much teeth whitening costs depends on what treatment method you’d prefer and what your budget is like. While the least expensive options are great for tighter budgets, we highly recommend an in-office teeth whitening treatment, as it relieves you from the hassle of continuous treatment, and it provides longer-lasting results. If you’re ready to say goodbye to those pesky stains and reveal a brighter, whiter smile, contact Spring Haven Dental in Odessa , FL today and get back the confidence that comes with a perfect pearly white grin.