Wanting to have an attractive smile is not simply an exercise in vanity. In fact, many studies conducted over the past several years have shown that people with beautiful smiles generally have a higher sense of self-esteem and more self-confidence. They’re also usually viewed in a more positive light by other people. So it makes sense to do whatever you can to improve the appearance of your smile. And one of the easiest, least expensive ways to accomplish that is by whitening your teeth. While there are a variety of tooth-whitening over-the-counter products available, nothing works as well as professional teeth whitening services provided by a dentist. In this article, we have collected helpful information about why it’s best to have a dentist whiten your teeth, the steps involved in the process, as well as an estimate of teeth whitening prices in Cedar Park, Texas.
Advantages of Professional Teeth Whitening
Go to virtually any drug store or supermarket and you’ll find a wide variety of over-the-counter whitening products – from strips to pens to whitening toothpaste and much more. A lot of these products are reasonably priced and promise to whiten your teeth within a few weeks or even a few hours. And while it’s true that some of these products can improve the appearance of your smile if you use them on a regular basis, none of them work nearly as well as having your teeth professionally whitened by a dentist. There are two reasons why:
- The whitening solution used in dentists’ offices is typically much stronger than anything you can buy over-the-counter.
- Your dentist can create custom-made whitening trays for you. These trays allow much more of the whitening solution to be evenly spread across your upper and lower teeth, as opposed to OTC products, which only distribute a weaker whitening solution across some of your teeth.
The result is a much whiter, brighter smile with professional whitening services than you could ever hope to attain with any over-the-counter product.
The Professional Whitening Process
Although the exact procedure involved in having your teeth professionally whitened in a dentist’s office may vary depending on the whitening product used by the dentist, most whitening services include the following steps:
- An impression is made of the patient’s teeth. Using that impression, a dental lab creates a set of custom-made whitening trays for the patients. Unlike the “one-size-fits-all” trays available with some over-the-counter whitening products, custom-made trays created by a dental lab fit the patient’s teeth securely, allowing the whitening solution to completely cover the surface of each tooth and preventing solution from leaking out into the patient’s mouth. These trays are the property of the patient, and that means that each patient can use the trays and whitening solution (typically for sale in the dentist office) to whiten his or her teeth whenever it’s convenient in the privacy of their own home. The custom-made trays and whitening solution are usually what’s included in a “take-home whitening kit.”
- Most dentists recommend that a patient’s first whitening takes place in the dentist’s office for a very good reason – this initial professional whitening session can change the shade of the patient’s teeth significantly, usually by as much as 6 or even 8 shades! The dentist accomplishes this by filling the custom-made trays with strong whitening solution and allowing that solution to remain in contact with the patient’s teeth for a period of time. Once that initial whitening procedure is completed in the dentist’s office, the patient can take home the custom-made tray along with whitening solution provided by the dentist to use at home whenever it’s convenient.
Teeth Whitening Prices
Although teeth whitening prices can vary a lot depending on the whitening system used and the dentist’s fees for the service, typically you can expect to pay between $300 and $800 for the initial whitening procedure.
That includes custom-made trays created by your dentist, which are yours to keep. After your initial whitening procedure, at-home whitening will be much less expensive since all you’ll need is the whitening solution provided by your dentist.
Reminders About Teeth Whitening
Although there’s no doubt that professional whitening services can make a huge improvement in your smile, it’s important to remember that teeth whitening may not be the right choice for everyone. If you fall into any of the following categories, teeth whitening may not work for you:
- You have a lot of dental restorations that are visible when you smile. The shade of dental restorations (like crowns and tooth-colored fillings, for example) can’t be altered with teeth-whitening products.
- You have poor oral health. Generally speaking, you should be in good oral health before you have your teeth whitened.
- You have extremely sensitive teeth and gums. People who regularly experience sensitivity might feel a certain amount of discomfort when having their teeth whitened. Although this discomfort quickly goes away after the whitening procedure is done, it can be uncomfortable during the process.
- You have eroded enamel. If the enamel layer of your teeth has been compromised, whitening products won’t restore your teeth to a whiter shade. Eroded enamel often creates a yellowish hue. Typically, the only way to restore these teeth to a white shade is with bonding or dental veneers.
If you want to feel better about the appearance of your smile, having your teeth professionally whitened is a quick, easy, relatively inexpensive way to do it. Although the initial procedure will probably cost you a few hundred dollars, following up on your own at home afterwards is surprisingly affordable. The first time you have your teeth whitening in a dentist office, you can expect that whitening to last from between 6 months to 2 years. After that, you can simply whiten your teeth yourself thanks to take-home kits provided by your dentist. For more information about teeth whitening prices, and to determine whether or not you would be a good candidate for these services, schedule an appointment with your Cedar Park, TX dentist today.