If you’ve looked in the mirror recently, perhaps you’ve been greeted with a sense of dissatisfaction. People seem to be much more aware of their slight flaws now that we live in such an appearance-oriented society. One of the most difficult physical aspects to maintain is undoubtedly your smile. While dentists have continued to insist that regular brushing and flossing is enough to maintain a healthy smile, most of us want much more than that. We want to be able to flaunt our pearly whites like the celebrities do when they tread down the red carpet. It doesn’t help that few of us monitor what we consume on a daily basis, such as soda and coffee which can quickly contribute to a yellowing smile. All of these factors have created a perfect storm in the dental industry, driving up the demand for tooth whitening procedures.
The effect of this decline in societal self-confidence hasn’t stopped there. Many people have also been investing considerable amounts of money in over the counter whitening products, which contain the same active ingredients that are used by dentists during in-office treatments. The only difference is the concentration of the active ingredients. If you’ve arrived at a point where the extent of your tooth discoloration has grown far too out of hand, so much that you double think attending a social function or other event, you’ve probably seriously considered scheduling an appointment for a professional whitening treatment. At $500 or more, it may sound like a bargain, especially if it can relieve you of the aggravation which the problem has caused you. The truth of the matter is that the costs may be much more than you initially anticipated.
During a tooth whitening procedure, a cosmetic dentist applies a chemical to your teeth known as carbamide peroxide. This is a bleaching agent that can penetrate your teeth, helping to remove stains. In most instances, a high intensity light is used to speed up the whitening process. Once the procedure is complete, most patients are able to achieve a several shades of whitening. Provided that the teeth are maintained properly from the date of the whitening procedure, the results can be expected to last a year or more, with touch up treatments usually required. If you extrapolate this financial obligation over a few years or so, you will find that maintaining a white smile may cost you several thousand dollars.
What those with more chronic cases of tooth discoloration have found is that dental veneers are the better option. These porcelain wafers are adhered to your existing teeth, making them resistant to staining. Although these can cost well over $1,000 per tooth, they don’t need to be replaced for ten years or more if installed and cared for correctly. If your an anxious dental patient, Lumineers porcelain veneers are also available. Since these veneers are extremely thin, they can be adhered to the teeth with very little tooth structure removal. They also happen to be cheaper than traditional veneers, although Lumineers financing is also available. Veneers have the added advantage of being able to repair smile deformities like chips and gaps, something tooth whitening obviously can’t do. Ultimately, the decision is yours.