Dental Care

Cost of Teeth Whitening and Bright Results

If you want to know more about the cost of teeth whitening, you have to know first that two major categories of teeth whitening systems predominate in the market.

The first and most expensive category of teeth whitening systems includes whitening products and procedures applied by a dental professional in his or her office.

These techniques, which are sometimes referred to "chair side" systems, can be very effective but they are also quite expensive.

The other main category of teeth whitening systems consists of products that can be purchased by individuals over the counter. The cost of teeth whitening for these products are much less expensive although probably not quite as effective as chair side whitening systems.

Fortunately, a type of compromise exists between the cost of teeth whitening for chair side treatment and products that can be purchased over the counter (OTC). This compromise involves teeth whitening gel systems and are sometimes called "dentist supervised" teeth whitening procedures.

Dentist supervised gel systems combine the expertise and guidance of a licensed dental professional with the convenience and ease provided by OTC gel products. In a sense, they offer the best aspects of each of the two major categories of whitening systems.

Typically, the cost of teeth whitening for this solution is less expensive than chair side whitening procedures but more costly than OTC products. Dental supervised teeth whitening gel systems usually range in cost from $200 to $500 per dental arch, or a total of $400 to $1000 for both dental arches (upper and lower). At the end of this article you'll find a suggestion for lowering this expense.

The supervision your dentist will provide when you opt for this type of teeth whitening procedure typically begins with a dental examination and evaluation. Your dentist will then take impressions of your teeth. These impressions will be used to fabricate a custom-made mouth guard designed specifically for you.

The mouth guard must fit almost perfectly, which is why it is fabricated based on impressions of your own teeth. A properly-fitted mouth guard will help the whitening gel stay in contact with your teeth without causing gum irritation.

One of the main advantages of this dentist supervised whitening system is that most of the process takes place in the comfort and convenience of your home, not in your dentist's office.

As with many other teeth whitening systems, the active ingredient in these gel systems is carbamide peroxide, a bleaching agent that whitens the tooth enamel. Your dentist will give you a set of plastic syringes which contain the actual whitening gel. The concentration of carbamide peroxide in the gel can vary from 10% to 16% to as high as 22%. Your dentist will work with you to determine the most appropriate concentration for your particular situation.

The object is to fill your mouth guard with whitening gel and then wear it in your mouth for a period of time. Typically, you follow this procedure once a day, but your dentist will give you specific instructions regarding the proper frequency and duration for wearing your mouth guard. Remember to always wipe away any excess gel when inserting your mouth guard. This step is necessary to prevent or decrease possible gum irritation caused by the bleaching agent. The total time frame for this procedure varies from one to four weeks, depending on the degree of discoloration of your teeth and the level of whiteness you wish to achieve.

Dental supervised teeth whitening gel systems can achieve results that feature the same longevity as any chair side teeth whitening procedure, but as with any whitening procedure, the effect will fade over time and your teeth will gradually begin to revert to their original color.

Despite the inevitability of this eventual reversion, it is easy to maintain the whiter color of your teeth by purchasing additional gel from your dentist. You can then re-apply the gel based on a tooth whitening maintenance schedule established by your dentist.

Unless something about your mouth or teeth has changed significantly since it was fabricated, your custom-made mouth guard should continue to work fine for purposes of this ongoing maintenance. You might also consider asking your dentist if some other teeth whitening product would be suitable for your situation.

You might be interested in one final suggestion about the cost of teeth whitening and supervision: although this procedure is much less expensive than chair side teeth whitening, its cost can be a significant investment.

To save some money, consider obtaining dental supervised teeth whitening through a dental school rather than your private dentist. The procedure is not highly invasive and its risks are minimal, so there's no reason to be overly concerned about being treated by a dental student.

In addition, the work performed by dental students is always supervised by highly qualified dental practitioners.


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