It is not uncommon to find most people paying handsomely to have whiter, sparkling teeth. In actuality, the market offers a wide range of teeth whitening kits and products. Unfortunately, not all of them guarantee safe treatments. A more viable option would be to seek the professional services of a teeth whitening dentist.
Understanding Teeth Whitening
Teeth whitening is a dental technique dentists use to brighten a patient’s teeth, by making them lighter. In other words, dull-coloured or stained teeth can undergo bleaching to become whiter. Either a certified dentist or a regulated dental practitioner can perform this dental treatment on an individual. Such dental professionals may include a dental therapist or hygienist. Nevertheless, they carry out such procedures based on a dentist’s prescription.
It is no surprise that some people whiten their teeth at various beauty salons. However, this type of service is illegal as there is no certified backing by a professional dental organization. As such, these customers are at a high risk of contracting oral infections and diseases. Additionally, the DIY whitening products come with their potential oral risks. Besides, they may not have the active ingredient required to whiten one’s teeth. The best way to undergo teeth whitening while maintaining optimum oral health is to see a dentist who is registered with a professional dental organization, an example being the General Dental Council.
Teeth Whitening Procedure
People who have had their teeth whitened would have to see their dentists several times over a specific period. During such appointments, the dental specialist will take a dental impression of the patient’s teeth, which is then used to create a mouth guard. At the same time, the professional provides instruction on how to use the impression with a bleaching gel. In some cases, patients can apply the gel for a space of two to four weeks. To shorten the time-frame, they can use prescribed whitening gels with each application lasting up to eight hours per time.
A dentist can also treat a patient’s teeth using laser whitening or power whitening. This treatment works by administering a bleaching compound on the teeth and using a laser to activate it. The average time to complete the procedure is an hour. A dental professional can tell if teeth whitening is ideal for a patient. Whereby the individual has dental issues like crowns or gum diseases, such a person may not be eligible to undergo this procedure.
Accessing Teeth Whitening Procedure on the NHIS
People with medical backing can undergo teeth whitening on the NHIS; this may include those with discolored teeth resulting from dead nerves. Other than that, individuals can have this dental procedure privately, as it is grouped under cosmetic treatments.
Getting an over-the-counter (OTC) teeth whitener (including gels and strips) can range from $20 to $40 per pack, which should last about a couple of weeks. There are OTC trays that fall under the $100 price point as well.
Consulting a Dentist for a Long-Lasting Option
Teeth whitening under a professional dental practitioner may be expensive, but the results are effective and durable. The dental hygienist provides a custom-fitted whitening tray, that may set a patient back by $400 or less. However, in-office dental treatment can increase to $1,000 or even more – although, this depends on what product the dentist uses and the dental fee. But on average, expect to pay around $650.
A lot of people experience successful outcomes with in-office teeth whitening. There is always a significant difference in seeking the professional help of a dental clinic, as compared to home treatments. Dentists use stronger bleaching agents that are highly effective in brightening one’s teeth. Most whitening strips are not as effective as these bleaching agents, as they merely contain 10% hydrogen peroxide, while their counterparts contain 25% to 40% hydrogen peroxide.
Maintaining Whitened Teeth
Having whitened teeth come with its costs. Professional dental procedures provide a faster way to acquire whiter and brighter teeth. Besides, a patient spends an average time of an hour undergoing teeth whitening, which is usually a single treatment. On the other hand, such an individual may have to use several whitening strips for a longer time-frame before seeing results.
It is worth noting that there is no permanent solution to teeth whitening. There can only be sustainable treatment options. Hence, taking good care of one’s teeth is an ideal way to prolong the effect of teeth whitening, which may last for about a year. Avoid teeth-staining meals and drinks, like red wine and coffee.
What to Do Before Undergoing Teeth Whitening
It is vital to ask the right questions to get the best whitening treatment from a dental clinic. Ideally, a whitening dental procedure should be effective for a long time. Also, find out if there are any dental risks involved. It is not uncommon for some patients to experience increased tooth sensitivity after this dental treatment. Talking to other people who have undergone this procedure as well may shed more light on what to expect and also reinforce confidence or create re-evaluation of choices. Get a written note containing the treatment plan and dental costs before proceeding.
Other Things to Note About Teeth Whitening
As stated before, teeth whitening does not proffer a permanent solution. Depending on the level of dental care, its effect may last up to three years. Smoking, drinking, and other unhealthy habits may affect the long-lasting effect of this dental procedure, including excessive intake of chocolate and red wine. Unfortunately, this dental treatment does not work on fillings, crowns, dentures, or veneers.
There are also risks of teeth whitening, a major one being gum sensitivity, as there are chemicals used in brightening the teeth. People with tooth sensitivity are more likely to experience this condition. Other effects may include burning gums. Avoid undergoing teeth whitening from an uncertified dentist, as there are chances of being hurt during the procedure. There are independent dental organizations that attend to complaints associated with unprofessional dental services. These dental associations handle cases of illegal teeth whitening procedures.