Published On: Mon, Feb 16th, 2015

Worth the White: Is Teeth Whitening really worth it?

There are many factors to a great smile, and one of the most important is the appearance of your teeth. I know someone who would always cover his mouth with a handkerchief when he smiled. He was so ashamed of his four remaining front teeth that he covered it all the time. They were misaligned, eroded and yellow due to years of tobacco abuse and poor dental hygiene.So our family decided to sponsor his dental care, and we got him dentures. He was never the same after getting them, flashing smiles all around and he never covered his mouth again. He finally got his mojo back. Nothing was holding him back.

Our teeth play a major role in how we look and interact socially. People with whiter and brighter teeth tend to look younger as opposed to people with yellow or grey teeth. Whiter teeth also projects good health, and a recent study revealed that people go to great lengths to whiten their teeth to gain more confidence and to better fit in. As with the example above, a good set of teeth can change a person’s outlook.

Teeth Whitening

Methodsand Costs

There are two widely accepted ways to brighten your teeth. The first is to go pay your dentist a visit and get an assessment if your teeth can be whitened at all. Not everyone responds well (or at all) to tooth whitening, and you first need to get your teeth tested for it. If you are indeed a candidate, your dentist will fashion a mold of your teeth and fill it with gel or paste containing whitening formula.

These gels contain peroxide (hydrogen or carbamide peroxide) that are anywhere from 15% to the extra strength 43% for major stains and discolorations. You will have to sit in the dental chair for about 45 minutes (up to 2 hours) and your dentist will be using either a laser or a super bright LED light to activate the gel and maximize its potency. Some procedures can get your teeth to about 5 to 8 shades lighter in just one session. These are called in-office teeth whitening treatment, and can cost around $500 – $1,000 per session.

The second most popular method is called at-home teeth whitening treatment and is generally effective, although not as white when compared to having whitening done by a professional. They’re much cheaper, ranging from $15 – $55 for tooth whitening strips and gels. The more expensive tray-based tooth bleaching kits cost about $150 – $600, and you can either get them from your dentist or OTC at any drugstore. For both home treatments, you have to wait anywhere from 2 weeks to a month to see results. It’s not safe for your teeth to exceed the number of treatment days because the peroxide in the ingredients can weaken and dehydrate your teeth, making them more susceptible to stains.

Both treatment methods work, but having your treatment done in-office by a trained professional not only looks better -you also get results faster than doing it at home by yourself because the peroxide content that dentists use are more concentrated as compared to the home kits. If you have the resources, opt for the in-office whitening. If you don’t want to spend that much, you can always do it yourself and wait a little bit to see results. These may not be as dramatic as the brochures, so brace yourself.

Final Thoughts

Everything has a price nowadays, and the cost of teeth whitening is not only the money you shell out for treatment, but also for the psychological benefits of having it done. In a society where every little detail matters, having stained and yellow teeth can be an embarrassing and painful ordeal. The eyes maybe the windows to our soul, but our teeth are like projectors that show the world what we love to eat, drink and smoke. I have yet to meet a smoker and coffee lover with perfectly white teeth. It’s also a reflection of how meticulous we are about our dental hygiene.

So, is teeth whitening really worth it? You bet your smile it is.