Safe Teeth Whitening: How Much Does it Cost and How Does it Work?

Many individuals around the world are faced with the challenge of how to whiten teeth, especially due to certain factors and lifestyle habits, like smoking. This problem, however, can be solved, and the industry now offers several methods for making teeth whiter. It must be noted, however, that not all these methods are equally effective. In fact, some methods are more harmful than helpful, and some can induce an unfavorable effect on the patient’s teeth. Moreover, because teeth whitening is still in the process of being perfected, the best products or treatments can come at quite a high price.

Therefore, it’s essential to understand what teeth whitening is all about. It’s also crucial to know about the most effective options, along with the prices for each. Here are a few other questions you should know the answers to before you proceed with a particular treatment:

  • What are the main causes of tooth discoloration?
  • How much does teeth whitening cost?
  • Safe teeth whitening – what are the least harmful methods?
  • How can you make your results last as long as possible?
  • Where are the best places to visit to get your teeth whitened?

What Causes Teeth Staining?

Before we can identify the various methods for teeth whitening, we have to understand the causes of discoloration. There are many factors that play a role in tooth staining, ranging from simple lifestyle choices and the types of food we eat to genetics, the environment around us, and the natural process of aging.

Food and drink

There is a wide array of food and drink options that can lead to staining, including natural foods like fruits and vegetables that have staining abilities. Other sweet foods like chocolate and many other candies play a big role, as well. Beverages like carbonated drinks, coffee, tea, and wine can also lead to tooth discoloration.

Smoking

Tobacco is the main component of cigarettes, and easily stains teeth. It should also be noted that chewing tobacco also has the same effect on teeth. Therefore, staying away from tobacco, overall, is advised to ensure good condition of teeth.

Dental hygiene

This point is pretty obvious – maintaining a good dental hygiene routine will prevent tooth discoloration. There are many ways you can ensure your teeth are kept healthy and look good, as well, including brushing your teeth an adequate number of times per day, using dental floss and mouthwash, etc.

Making sure you book regular visits to the dentist, like Dr. Lana Rozenberg, is another way of keeping your teeth from staining.

Various diseases

Certain diseases may also play a role in teeth staining. These diseases usually affect the  hard outer structure of the tooth (enamel), and the tissue that lies right underneath the enamel, called dentine.

Medication

Certain medications also play a role in teeth discoloration. Some of the more common offenders are anti-bacteria medications (antibiotics), like tetracycline. Children are more susceptible to tooth staining by these kinds of medication.

There are certain mouthwash brands known to cause teeth staining, as well.

Certain treatment regimens like chemotherapy and radiation treatment of the neck can also contribute to tooth discoloration.

Dental materials

This one might sound a little ironic; however, there are various materials applied in dentistry that can lead to teeth changing their color. For example, materials containing silver sulphide usually lead to the development of grey-black stains on the teeth.

Environment

Environment can be a source of fluoride, which is usually a very important element in maintaining good dental health. On the other hand, when this element is taken in excess amounts, either from the environment or from other secondary sources, like food and drinks, it leads to the development of stains on the teeth.

Genetics

Due to genetic variation, some individuals will have whiter teeth than others. In addition to this, the process of aging may contribute to teeth staining. This is usually due to the thinning of enamel, which reveals more yellow-colored dentin.

It is important to note that the effects brought about by aging are irreversible. This will come in handy when individuals who need to whiten their teeth look for examples of what to expect after a procedure.

Safe Methods of Teeth Whitening

What is the best way to get your teeth whiter? There are various methods that have been invented to make teeth whiter, with some being safer than others. Let’s explore these safe teeth whitening methods and identify the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Teeth whitening at a clinic

In-clinic teeth whitening has become very popular in many countries, worldwide. This cosmetic procedure is carried out under high supervision and has a very high chance of producing a positive result.

The gel used during this procedure is always highly concentrated. Teeth bleaching dentistry has the following advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages:

  • This procedure produces amazing results in a relatively short period of time. For this reason, most in-clinic appointments are made for individuals preparing for an event that is a few days away. They can schedule a last-minute visit and still get their teeth looking whiter, in no time.
  • This is a relatively safe procedure, mainly due to the presence of a medical professional throughout the whole process. This is unlike other methods done at home.
  • Another benefit that makes this procedure a top teeth whitening method is the use of a gel that does not make the teeth overly sensitive.

Disadvantages:

  • This specific teeth whitening procedure can come at a high price. Unlike the cheaper options of teeth whitening trays and toothpastes, the average price of teeth whitening at a clinic starts from around $650.
  • Sometimes, the results can be very unpredictable. There are certain factors that can determine whether a particular treatment will be effective or not. These may include the nature of the stain on the teeth and genetics, as well. That’s why it’s essential to have an initial consultation with your dentist, before any procedure is commenced.
  • The results achieved from in-clinic teeth whitening only last a few days. Therefore, many dentists advise their patients to take additional measures, in order to prolong the results of the procedure.

Some contraindications can include pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Teeth whitening strips

Another solution to the question ‘how to make your teeth really white?’ is the whitening strip. Teeth whitening strips are usually made out of flexible plastic and, when inserted into the mouth, this strip molds itself according to the teeth of the individual using it. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages associated with teeth whitening strips, as well as a sense of average price:

Advantages:

  • Teeth whitening strips are always available and easy to find in any drug store. Because of their popularity, they are also sold through some of the most popular online businesses.
  • It is not complicated to use whitening strips; however, it is very important to strictly follow the directions given.
  • Results can be seen in a few days or weeks, which makes the method reliable for those individuals looking for quick results.

Disadvantages:

  • Whitening strips can have very adverse effects on soft tissue, if they are not used properly and as directed. When the bleaching gel comes into contact with any soft tissue, a series of reactions take place that may lead to rapid aging.
  • Because whitening strips are very popular and can be sold online, there are many products that are a scam. Therefore, make sure you do your research before proceeding to buy such products from an online store or smaller shop.
  • Whitening strips cannot whiten the whole surface of the tooth, as they are created to be two-dimensional. This means that some curved surfaces may not be whitened, leading to a non-uniform appearance.

Teeth whitening strips are relatively cheap. The most expensive ones are still under $100. Some contraindications of this procedure include:

  • Crack or fillings;
  • Patients with allergies to peroxides; and,
  • Individuals with very sensitive teeth.

Teeth whitening toothpastes

Whitening toothpaste is, primarily, an abrasive substance, which makes it a good option for individuals looking for solutions on how to whiten stained teeth. Teeth whitening toothpastes have a very good success rate when looking at the crown of the tooth. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of using teeth whitening toothpastes to get your teeth whiter:

Advantages:

  • Teeth whitening toothpastes have one important quality that enables them to remove superficial stains: the abrasive nature of the product. Therefore, most stains are able to be buffed away, leaving a whiter color on the surface.
  • Teeth whitening toothpastes are also very easy to use; however, it is always important to read the guidelines for use. For example, teeth whitening toothpastes should only be used once per week, in order to protect the enamel.

Disadvantages:

  • Because of their abrasive nature, whitening toothpastes can induce sensitivity. This will not only affect the teeth, but will also lead to gum recession.
  • Due to increasing popularity, many companies proceed to create products that have only one goal – to simply make money. Therefore, many individuals end up buying whitening toothpastes that do not have any positive effects at all, due to a cheap price and poor quality.

Whitening toothpastes are also relatively cheap products that can also be sold in pharmacies or the online market. The contraindications include:

  • Individuals with various oral disease;
  • Individuals with thin enamels; and,
  • Individuals with increased tooth sensitivity.

Teeth whitening trays

Using teeth whitening trays is another safe way of achieving whiter teeth. Whitening trays are usually made by a dentist, who prepares teeth molds in order to make each tray specific and unique.

This is an important component, as it ensures the harmful effect of the whitening gel does not affect the soft tissue of the individual wearing the tray. The following are some of the advantages and disadvantages of using teeth whitening trays:

Advantages:

  • The results are usually seen in a short period of time;
  • The results of this teeth whitening method are usually long lasting, depending on various factors like personal oral hygiene; and,
  • Teeth whitening trays can be cost effective.

Disadvantages:

  • Users of teeth whitening trays should always be conscious about how much whitening gel they put in their trays.
  • Time is also important. Individuals who leave their trays on for too long risk having complications from gel penetration into the tooth. This may lead to adverse effects such as damage to the pulp, and can also lead to various cases of increased sensitivity and pain.

Using custom trays may or may not be expensive. The cost of the trays depends on whether it is a take-home tray or an over the counter option. In this case, the former will be more expensive than the latter. Prices are $400 and less than $100, respectively.

The contraindications for using this method are quite similar to those described in the previous methods, including:

  • Significant loss of enamel;
  • Untreated teeth diseases; and,
  • Caries, and many more.

What You Should Know Before You Start

Many individuals usually have very high expectations before undergoing a teeth whitening process. Of course, this is completely natural and understandable, and it is very important to know the facts before undergoing a procedure of this nature.

Here are a few things to keep in mind before getting your teeth whitened.

Make sure you have healthy teeth to begin the procedure

A professional dentist knows that unhealthy teeth cannot be whitened. Unhealthy teeth or an unhealthy mouth will cause complications for the whole process.

In order to prevent a painful process, teeth whitening should not be performed on unhealthy teeth. Doing so would diminish the chances of having a positive result from a whitening procedure, as well.

Decide on the kind of whitening you would like

There are basically two forms: intrinsic teeth whitening and extrinsic teeth whitening. Intrinsic teeth whitening refers to a process that involves the major parts of the tooth, such as the enamel and the dentin. With intrinsic whitening, the gel containing the bleaching agent usually soaks through the enamel into the dentine. Extrinsic teeth whitening only involves the outer part of the tooth (fixing external discoloration).

Tooth sensitivity is a common occurrence

A well known side effect of teeth whitening is increased sensitivity, which is usually apparent within 24 hours after contact with gel.

Many dentist advise their patients to take pain suppressants if the sensitivity becomes too much to bear.

Results are never permanent

Earlier, we identified that aging is one of the reasons why teeth become stained. Therefore, unless we can stop the natural process of aging, we won’t be able to achieve permanent results. In most cases, whitened teeth maintain their appearance for about six months to less than two years.

Some individuals stop treatments once they reach their goal. In such cases, the teeth may develop a darker shade. Continuing treatment for a longer period is advisable, in order to see and maintain better results.

Tray sizes are unique

It is important to remember that everyone has a unique set of teeth. Therefore, sharing trays is not a good idea. In order to prevent any problems that can be caused when gel comes into contact with the gums, custom trays are made.

Ensure soft tissue does not come into contact with gel

Keeping whitening gel away from soft tissue is also important. The gel can easily irritate soft tissue of the mouth like the gums, and other areas of the upper digestive tract (if swallowed).

Treatment procedures do not guarantee perfect results

Teeth whitening depends largely on the health of the teeth, which means that your final result will be determined by how good your dental hygiene is.

The best results are always seen in individuals with impeccable oral hygiene. So, it is important to always follow the teeth whitening guide provided with the option you select, in order to achieve the best results.

Take all aspects into account

There are some procedures out there that may be very risky to undergo. A good example of this is the use of laser technology to remove stains from the surface of teeth. In New York City, this approach is made common by Zoom whitening, which claims to offer some of the best results in teeth whitening. Some patients feel comfortable with such procedure, however, with some complaining about a great deal of pain after undergoing the treatment.

Zoom is, mainly, a great bleaching method that helps to whiten the teeth, and helps to lighten discoloration of enamel and dentin. Most teeth whitening centers offer Zoom teeth whitening, with costs starting at $350.

There is a limit

Too much of something is never a good thing. This also applies to teeth whitening. Some individuals believe they can achieve the result they are looking for by overusing the whitening gels; however, this is highly advised against. Overuse leads to the degeneration of enamel and increased sensitivity of teeth.

How to Maintain Your Results

For many individuals, getting whiter teeth is the easy part. The real problem arises after the procedure and the individual has to maintain the whiteness of their teeth.

There are many ways to ensure that your teeth do not become a shade darker. Here are some of the ways to make your results last for a longer period of time:

Limit liquids that lead to staining

As stated above, some liquids can lead to staining when taken in excessive amounts. The best example is coffee, or any sweet carbonated drink. After teeth whitening procedures, cutting down on the amount of these drinks is important to preserve the white appearance of teeth for a longer period of time.

For example, if you usually drink a large mug of coffee each day, try to reduce the cup size which will, ultimately, reduce the amount of coffee you drink on a daily basis and, as a consequence, reduce the chances of teeth staining.

Another trick that can be used when drinking these high-staining beverages is to use a straw. Straws prevent any contact between the drink and your teeth, lessening the chances for staining.

Quit tobacco

Tobacco, taken in any form, has a staining effect on the teeth. Therefore, cutting tobacco consumption is advised for individuals who have undergone a teeth whitening procedure.  

Tobacco consumption has also been connected to many other oral health problems like discoloration of the tongue, gum disease, repressed taste, and many other complications.

Cut down on sweets

Certain foods, like chocolate and candies, have very negative effects on the health of the teeth. They also contribute to discoloration of teeth and, more commonly, to tooth decay and the formation of cavities. Such foods should either be completely removed from your diet, or taken in very small amounts.

Use a whitening toothpaste

It is important to brush with a whitening toothpaste after a teeth whitening procedure. This is done to prolong the achieved results, and patients are encouraged to use the whitening toothpastes regularly.

Brush very gently to make sure every stain that might likely developed is eliminated. It is important to be very consistent. This is the best way to keep your teeth white for a longer period of time.

Brush your teeth twice a day

When it comes to maintaining good dental hygiene, not many things are more effective than the simple art of brushing your teeth. The advised amount of time you should spend on brushing your teeth is no less than two minutes.

Brushing should be done at least two times per day. Make sure you use a toothbrush with soft bristles, to ensure the enamel is kept intact. Flossing is also encouraged to maintain good dental hygiene.  

Where is The Best Place to Get Your Teeth Whitened?

Now that we have provided some answers to the popular question “how to make yellow teeth white?” and explained some of the best teeth whitening methods out there, you’ll want to find the best place to have the service performed.

Rozenberg Dental NYC offers some of the best possible dental care in the country If you are looking for the best dentistry, complete an application on our site, today, to get started.