There are a variety of reasons you may be asking yourself, “Should I seek out services for teeth whitening near me?” Perhaps you are a prolific coffee drinker and looking to combat the effects of staining, or you are simply looking for a boost to your confidence that a whiter, healthier looking smile can bring. Regardless of your reasons for seeking out professional teeth whitening services, there are a number of things that you may consider before undergoing this popular non-surgical dental procedure.
At-home alternatives to professional teeth whitening services
As you may know, there are a number of alternatives to professional teeth whitening services that can be performed by the individual in his or her own home. These range from whitening toothpastes, which use abrasives or chemicals to give the teeth a whiter appearance, to home whitening kits which may be purchased at drug stores, online or at your dental office.
Whitening toothpaste is undoubtedly not as effective in giving the appearance of whiter teeth than both home kits and professional services, reflected in the far smaller price tag. If you opt for a home whitening kit, you might want to consider that the process usually takes far longer than it would at a professional dental office. Home kits require moulds to be worn for a few hours each day for a number of days, while a trip to the dentist for whitening will take only one to two hours.
Moreover, you are likely to notice a less transformative result in the whiteness of your teeth than if you were to have visited a dentist for professional teeth whitening services, due to the difference in the strengths of chemicals and bleaching agents used in both methods. While the options for home whitening may be more appealing due to the difference in cost, you should take these factors into account when considering the results you are aiming for in your teeth whitening procedure.
The cost of professional teeth whitening
This brings us to cost – just how expensive is professional teeth whitening, anyway? This of course is dependent on your dentist and where you live, but dental whitening in the US tends to range from around $300-$1000, with $650 being the purported national average.
This is evidently far more expensive than a tube of whitening toothpaste or even a home kit, mentioned previously, which tend to cost from around $50 to $100. The inflated price tag is reflective of the increase in the quality of your teeth whitening and personal convenience, however, so this is worth bearing in mind when considering cheaper alternatives.
The procedure itself – what does it involve?
As mentioned, the process is far quicker than with home teeth whitening kits, around 1 hour on average, according to the Journal of the American Dental Association. It involves a gel containing peroxide, or bleach, being applied to your teeth, after which a lamp is shone on your teeth to begin the whitening process. Guards will be used to keep your tongue out of the way and protect the rest of your mouth, so you don’t have to worry about the safety of the procedure – your dentist is a professional and will look after you. The bleach used in the dental office is far stronger than those in home whitening kits, and as such you can expect faster, and more noticeable, results.
The upkeep and maintenance of professionally whitened teeth
Sadly, professional teeth whitening is not a permanent procedure. There are, however, steps you can take to maintain the effects of your procedure for as long as possible. Scheduling regular professional tooth cleaning appointments with your dentist will help combat the effects of staining, which can still affect your newly treated teeth. On this point, you should avoid or limit your intake of foods and drinks which are known to stain teeth, including curries, coffee and red wine, where possible. Ask your dentist about dental products, such as toothpastes and mouthwashes, which can help to retain the whitening effect. Finally (and this should go without saying), make sure to regularly brush and floss your teeth to keep them clean, stain-free and healthy – just because your smile is brighter, doesn’t mean you can skip out on the oral hygiene from now on!
Things to ask your dentist
There are a number of reasons you should talk to your dentist regarding options for teeth whitening, according to the American Dental Association. Whitening does not work for all types of discoloration, for example; your dentist should be able to identify the cause of your staining and recommend whether professional teeth whitening services are suitable for you. You may have particularly sensitive teeth, in which case you may require a desensitization procedure prior to the whitening; or receding gums, which teeth whitening procedures might irritate, causing you some pain. Whitening also will not work on cavities or crowns, if you have them. It is best to consult your dentist for a solution that works best for you and your teeth.
‘So, is professional teeth whitening right for me?’
There are a number of considerations you should take on board opting for professional teeth whitening, only some of which are covered here. This treatment isn’t for everyone, so talk to your dentist or oral hygienist before making any decisions; everyone wants a brighter smile, but the health of your teeth and gums comes first.
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