Teeth whitening is a popular cosmetic dentistry service for many reasons – most, if not all, people want whiter teeth that they can proudly show off in a smile or a grin. But before undergoing the process, it pays to know its basics – what to expect, what happens, and what the results are, among others. Plus, information about the teeth whitening cost is a must since the procedure is usually not covered by dental insurance providers in Australia.
Teeth whitening procedures work in a similar manner albeit there are differences between the two main types, namely, in-office (performed by dentist) and in-home (performed by the consumer) procedures. Both require a bleaching agent usually hydrogen peroxide with various strengths to whiten the teeth’s enamel without destroying it. As such, teeth whitening cost as well as safety, efficacy, and duration of efficacy will vary between the two methods.
Dentist-supervised teeth whitening is considered the best option because of its high degree of safety and efficacy. Your cosmetic dentist will use products approved for use by the government as well as the private sector governing agencies like the Australian Dental Association; these products include the protective rubber or gel shield, the bleaching solution, and the device (e.g., laser) used in the teeth whitening process.
You can also enjoy better results from in-office teeth whitening sessions. Your dentist can whiten teeth anywhere from 1 to 14 degrees in one or several sessions depending on the original condition of your teeth.
In-office teeth whitening sessions involve the controlled use of a strong bleaching agent like hydrogen peroxide and/or carbamide peroxide gels usually 15% to 35%. You will receive a tailored teeth whitening solution according to the physical condition of your teeth; the solution is applied directly to your teeth while your gums are protected by a rubber shield applied beforehand.
In most cases, a high-intensity light like laser is shone on your solution-covered teeth for better results. After the appropriate exposure time, the shield and solution are removed from your mouth and you will be asked to thoroughly rinse it and voila! Your first teeth whitening session is finished in 40-60 minutes.
Obviously, the teeth whitening cost for a single in-office session will be higher than several in-home procedures. The actual bill will be different but the average cost is $300 for the basic package but it can rise to as much as $1,000 for more elaborate work.
Over-the-counter teeth whitening products are aplenty – toothpastes, gels, strips, trays, and rinses. With regular and proper use, you can enjoy whiter teeth after several sessions but keep your expectations in check. Keep in mind that the bleaching agent use in over-the-counter teeth whitening products are weaker in strength in comparison with professional products, thus, the modest results.
Like in-office teeth whitening products, nonetheless, in-home teeth whitening products work on the same principle – bleaching the tooth enamel to remove its surface discolorations (i.e., yellowish stains). Since the solutions have weaker strengths, protective shields are usually not used in in-home treatments.
For a long term teeth whitening approach, it is best to consult your local dentist before trying off-the-counter products.