Q: How much does whitening cost?
A: Because of the wide variety of products and procedures, whitening prices have a wide range. Most OTC products are considered quite affordable - often less than $30. In-office treatments can range from $100-$500 and laser whitening can get quite pricey - being as little as $600 or as much as $2000. Dentists also charge different prices for different procedures in different regions of the country.
Q: Does whitening hurt?
A: Overall, no. Very few people complain of full-blown pain when undergoing a whitening procedure. That said, your teeth know their own pain tolerance. And if you have sensitive teeth, a little more research on your end is probably in order to find the right procedure for you.
Some procedures require your face to maintain a position for lengthy periods of time - sometimes up to an hour. An apparatus may hold your lips and tounge into place, which can cause some discomfort. But very few patients complain of any prolonged pain associated with these instruments.
Q: I have sensitive teeth. Should I pursue a whitening procedure?
A: Laser? Probably not. The intensity of the light used is going to make you feel the effects even more than a regular whitening. The oxidation process of intense whitening systems are literally putting oxygen molecules into the pores of your teeth. This is a funny feeling, to say the least, and if you have sensitive teeth to start, the sensation may be more than you want to bear.
That being said, consult with your dentist. He or she may offer a bleaching gel specially designed for sensitive teeth that won't give the same sensation as the sped-up process of laser-whitening.
Q: Which bleaching technique works the best?
A: Ah, the ever-lingering question. Unfortunately, if this had a clear cut answer, you probably would already know which procedure to use. Case studies and market research continuously shows that laser-whitening procedures get your teeth the most dramatic results. Moreover, they work in the least amount of time. That being said, the darker your teeth are, the whiter they will get. So if you're teeth are not considered yellow to begin with, you may disappointed in your results.
In-office systems and take home trays work wonderfully, or dentists would not continue using them. Additionally, whitening your teeth under the supervision of a trained dental professional will almost always yield better results than a procedure attempted on your own.
As mentioned before, if you're looking for just an extra sparkle to your already white teeth, there is no need to spend hundreds of dollars on expensive systems. OTC products will give you the results you're looking for.
Q: My teeth are not yellow, but more grayish. Will whitening work on my teeth?
A: To a degree, yes. But understand you will probably not see the same kind of results as someone with yellowish teeth. The biggest cause of grayish colored teeth is the use of tetracycline, an antibiotic, as a child. In early years, a child's enamel is still forming, and the use of this medication causes a bluish-gray stain embedded deep in the dentin of the teeth. Whitening may improve the look of your smile, but the oxidation process of bleaching works best on food and tobacco induced stains.
Q: had my teeth bleached, but they're not as white as I want! Why not?
A: Everyone has a sort of "predisposed" whiteness that their teeth can achieve. Without damaging your teeth, you can only get your teeth about as white as they would be had you never ingested a particle of food in your life. That said, there are many many celebrities out there with whiter-than-white smiles, and society is now striving for that shade of white.
Unfortunately, as your dentist will probably tell you, that kind of white can be very damaging to the enamel and dentin in your teeth. Most dental professionals will not expose you to that kind of bleaching gel, and OTC product have to maintain a certain percentage of whitening gel in their mixtures.
Q: I have white calcium stains on my teeth from orthodontic work. Will bleaching my teeth make those blend in?
A: Probably not. White stains on teeth are likely to become more white with a bleaching procedure. Obviously, however, white stains are far less noticeable than darker stains, so don't let the possibility of whitening your discolorations deter you from getting the bleaching done. Check with your dentist about what he or she recommends in getting the calcium stains to blend in with your new shade more.
Q: How long will my results last?
A: With most whitening procedures, results typically last anywhere from a few months to a few years. Dentists will usually recommend a minor touch-up every few months to maintain the shade, but you shouldn't need another complete whitening procedure for years after the original.
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