Your teeth are pretty good, but they’ve become discolored. You like wine, coffee, and other notorious discoloring culprits. Maybe you’re taking enamel-damaging medication. Over time they’ve all contributed to the dulling of your once bright white smile. Well, take heart. Today’s modern technology can turn the most dismal smile into the bright, beautiful one you once had—the one that got you so many compliments.
We’re not going to lie. Certain teeth whitening over-the-counter products seem to work. From whitening pens to whitening multi-step systems, reviews range from 0 to 10. Just know that most reviews you read are either fake or come from people whose teeth are a couple of shades off. If your teeth have dulled over time, you’re likely the victim of enamel loss. If so, home-grown teeth whiteners won’t work. Of course, you’re welcome to try them, but if it’s a truly bright smile you’re after, expect to be disappointed.
The whitening process involves the dentist applying a gel made of 15% to 35% hydrogen peroxide to your front teeth. Hydrogen peroxide penetrates the porous outer layer of your teeth and breaks apart stain compounds using a chemical reaction called oxidation. The application of the whitening gel is followed by a high-powered light that speeds up the whitening process. Dental whitening costs between $300 to $500. Be advised:
- Bleaching is less effective on brown or gray discolored teeth, especially when the discoloration results from exposure to tetracycline antibiotics while the teeth were developing.
- If you have large fillings or crowns (caps) on your front teeth, chemicals will bleach your natural teeth but not your dental restorations made from ceramic, porcelain, or composite material. In this case, whitening will be uneven.
- Tooth or gum sensitivity has been reported.
Alternatives to Whitening
Some people whose teeth are chipped, damaged, or stained beyond repair may not be candidates for whitening. In this case, dentists will likely recommend veneers. Veneers fall into four categories:
- Porcelain is the most esthetic and least harmful material available for dental restorations. It is also the strongest and longest lasting of all veneer materials. The cost is around $1200 each.
- Composite veneers are made of composite resin, a mixture of inorganic and organic materials. They are less durable than porcelain and tend to yellow over time. The cost is around $700 to $900 each.
- Lumineersare a brand of ultra-thin porcelain veneers. Unlike porcelain veneers, less natural tooth structure is removed before placing a Lumineer over your tooth enamel. Lumineers correct discolored and irregularly shaped teeth. The cost is around $800 to $2000 per tooth.
- Instant veneers are a temporary brightening fix from companies such as Instant Smile. Available online, you fit them to your mouth by placing them in hot water and pressing your teeth into the soft fitting material. Instant veneers cost $20-$50. They are not recommended for long-term use.
The Douglas Family Dentistry Experience
If you live in Phoenix, Scottsdale, or the surrounding communities, Douglas Family Dentistry offers a full range of whitening products and systems—get the bright smile you’ve been thinking about. Call us at 480-948-3680 or go to our website to schedule an appointment.