By Sean Thurman
Whitening your teeth is the easiest and most economical cosmetic enhancement in dentistry. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, the main causes of darkened teeth are genetics, antibiotics and certain foods. Not only can a whiter smile make you feel more confident, the AACD also shows that 96 percent of adults believe an attractive smile makes a person more appealing.
B. Keith Blankenship, DDS, FAGD, LVIF, ICOIF of Blankenship Dentistry give us the details on what you need to know about teeth whitening and how you can achieve the smile of your dreams.
Before bleaching, there are two questions that need consideration to decide which of the three whitening systems will work best for you: how much time do you have and how much do you want to spend?
In-office Laser Bleaching
- Average Cost: $400-$500
- Average Time: 1 to 1 ½ hours.
- A laser or special light is used to activate the bleach to assist in whitening. The most common product used by dentists is Zoom! There are several other products, but Zoom! will give you the enhancement you want while including desensitizers to help protect your enamel and minimize sensitivity.
- Average Cost: $200-$300
- Average Time: 4 to 8 hours each day for 10 to 14 days.
- Bleaching trays are created specific to the patient’s teeth and there are several strengths of bleach that can be used with the trays depending on sensitivity of your teeth. The bleach is put into the tray and the tray then placed over the teeth. “The take-home bleaching system, in my opinion, has more control,” Dr. Blankenship said. “It takes longer to complete, but if you keep the specially made trays, and keep the extra bleach in the refrigerator, it typically will last up to two years. If you feel your teeth are darkening, simply let the whitening gel warm, then place into the tray and bleach for a couple of days to bring back your white smile.”
- Other effective take-home bleaching products: Zoom! take-home whitening, Pola Night tooth-whitening and for the very dark and hard-to-whiten teeth, the Kör Whitening Deep Bleaching System.
Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening
- Average Cost: $17- $50
- Average Time: 30 minutes a day for two weeks.
- Bleaching products you can buy over the counter, like whitening strips, are a very low concentration of bleach.
- “I have seen it work on a very limited patient population,” explains Dr. Blankenship. “To get the most effective whitening, prescription strength is required and you can only get that from a dentist.”
- Bleaching stands at malls and conventions where they use a light are often not prescription strength bleach because no dentist is present. This system works by drying out the teeth which makes them appear chalky and as though your teeth are whiter, but when your teeth rehydrate, the natural color returns. By the time you pay for 2 to 3 treatments of this type, you could have had a professional bleaching which will last you years.
Although teeth-whitening is safe, effective and has not been shown to cause damage to your teeth, dentists generally do not bleach the teeth of children under the age of 18. It is a great way to enhance your smile and overall appearance at a very reasonable price.
About the Source: B. Keith Blankenship, DDS, FAGD, LVIF, ICOIF has offices in Jacksonville, Ponte Vedra, Oakleaf and Orange Park and he offers his patients general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, neuromuscular dentistry and family dentistry