When you are looking for a whiter brighter smile and let the new you shine, you probably think about teeth whitening. The next thing that might come to mind is the cost. There are roughly three ways to whiten your smile without veneers. For the in-office whitening, it is about $400-$700, for the take home tray it is about $300-$500, and under $100 for over the counter whitening. Teeth whitening is considered a cosmetic procedure; therefore, insurance does not cover these treatments.
Bleaching gel used during these procedures is the same, but different percentage depending on the purpose and the situation. Usually, you can get a whiter smile with any of these methods. The main differences are only between over-the-counter whitening and others. One of the disadvantages of the over-the-counter whitening is the whitening gel does not stay on the teeth surface long enough because the tray does not fit perfectly to your teeth. The gel gets out and touches the gum. This could cause sensitivity to some people. However, excellent results can be expected, especially for younger people. So, it might be a good idea to try before considering other options.
The advantage for the take home tray whitening is that the trays are made individually from your impressions and fit exactly and much less whitening gel leak, meaning more efficient and less sensitivity. Depending on the percent of the whitening gel, or your expectations, you could see the results in 1-2 weeks. Even with the custom trays, sensitivity may still occur, and you might want to skip a day, which may delay the process a bit. When you are bleaching your teeth, your teeth are very susceptible to stain. We suggest you stay away from colored foods or drinks, while you are whitening your teeth. However, most of the time, it is impossible to do so for two weeks.
In-office whitening, on the other hand, is only a one-time visit. Usually, dentists use a blue light to accelerate the process. The gel stays on the teeth the entire time. For example, Zoom in-office whitening, is up to 4 sessions of 15 minutes each, not including the preparation and cleaning afterward. The total appointment time is about 2 hours. With this treatment, the results will show the same day. As long as you stay away from colored foods and drinks for 24-48 hours, results will last for a long time. If sensitivity occurs during the process of in-office whitening, we have the option to adjust the blue light intensity to accommodate our patients. So, most of the time, sensitivity is not an issue, keeping in mind that it is a one-time visit process.
Bleaching results can vary depending on the factors such as age, heredity, and the type of stain that is present. Any teeth whitening or bleaching results are not permanent but usually will last a couple of months to a couple of years: you have to apply the bleaching gel regularly to keep your teeth whiter and brighter. That is why our in-office whitening comes with the custom bleaching tray and the bleaching gel for touch up. There are some situations where whitening does not whiten your teeth, for example, grayish teeth that have a banded color, root canaled teeth, non-vital teeth from trauma, tetracycline stain, or fluorosis. The process can give you the whitest color that you had before and not give you an unnatural super white color. If you smoke, drink dark sodas, coffee, tea, or red wine, and eat colored foods more often, that can stain your teeth quicker. Oral hygiene is also essential.