Keeping your teeth free of cavities and tooth decay is important for ensuring that you’re without any pain or soreness in your mouth. But your teeth can also play a major role in your overall physical appearance.
Your teeth are the only bones you can see on the outside of your body, and they’re meant to be white and pristine to make a great first impression every time you show your smile. Over time, however, the outside layer of teeth can erode, causing your pearly whites to look a little bit less ideal.
While teeth whitening doesn’t typically work to improve injuries or underlying conditions, whitening is a cosmetic procedure that can restore your confidence and make you gain a newfound love for your mouth. The problem is that these types of procedures can be costly.
You shouldn’t need to worry about the cost being a barrier between you and the dental care you want. The good news is that there’s a new solution. Here’s everything you need to know about affordable teeth whitening.
What Is Teeth Whitening?
Teeth whitening is the natural process of lightening the color of your teeth without actually removing any of the tooth’s surface. It’s a way to make your smile look more radiant and beautiful without the need for moving or adjusting its position in your mouth.
Tooth whitening can sometimes be done from home with several home remedies like whitening toothpaste, whitening strips, hydrogen peroxide gel, or another whitening gel, but the best and safest way to get it done is by a professional to ensure that you don’t strip away your enamel with harsh bleach.
How Does Teeth Whitening Work?
Professional whitening can provide optimal results in just a short amount of time with minimal gum irritation. Most at-home kits, take-home whitening trays, or another whitening system usually take weeks or even months before you notice results, and some can be unsafe. Professional teeth whitening can provide optimal results in just a short amount of time.
Teeth whitening is not a complicated procedure, and it’s pretty quick and painless. You can expect to be in the dentist’s office for about 60 to 90 minutes from start to finish.
First, your dentist will record the current shade of your teeth before polishing the surface of your teeth with a substance called pumice. It’s a grainy material used to remove plaque and tartar from the surface.
Then, gauze or pads will be used to isolate your teeth from the gum line, as whitening can damage the gums if done incorrectly. You may also need to wear retractors to keep your lips and cheeks from touching the teeth during the process.
The teeth are then coated with the whitening formula on the tooth's front surface only. Essentially, only the parts of the teeth that are visible will be coated.
Most in-office whitening products require a curing LED light or laser to activate some of the ingredients. The solution must be left on the teeth for around 30 minutes to an hour. It may also need to be reapplied depending on the type.
Once the desired shade has been achieved, the teeth are rinsed, and you’re all set! You may be given fluoride to help with tooth sensitivity.
What Is Whitening Solution Made Of?
Most whitening solutions are made of a high concentration of hydrogen peroxide. This is a highly effective chemical for lightening the teeth on a chemical level, but it should never be used without professional guidance.
This is because brushing with excessive amounts of hydrogen peroxide can erode tooth enamel if used improperly. Enamel is the outer layer of your tooth that protects the inner structures from damage. Not to mention, peroxide can irritate your gums if used without care.
Since dentists can isolate your teeth from the gumline and other parts of your mouth, they’re able to use more concentrated chemicals as opposed to the products you’d find at your local drugstore, like at-home teeth whitening pens or mouthwash.
There are many reasons why teeth become yellow or discolored. It’s typically due to the enamel being worn away on the tooth’s surface.
Enamel naturally wears away as you age, but certain factors, like tobacco use, can speed up the process or worsen the appearance of your teeth. Poor oral hygiene is the main cause if you don’t brush your teeth or floss regularly.
However, certain foods and beverages may just discolor your teeth due to staining. Coffee is one of the most infamous examples, but other staining foods and drinks include sodas, wines, pasta, and potatoes.
Are Yellow Teeth Dangerous?
Yellowing teeth may make you feel self-conscious about your appearance, but by themselves, they pose no harm to your health. With that said, yellowing teeth may be a sign of worn away enamel or dentin, which may leave the tooth more susceptible to decay or cavities. Likewise, severely discolored teeth may represent a dead or dying tooth that might need to be extracted.
Is Teeth Whitening Safe?
Teeth whitening in a dentist’s office is safe, especially because a dentist can easily isolate the teeth from other parts of your mouth. Many people experience added tooth sensitivity to cold drinks and foods during or after the procedure. A dentist might recommend a special toothpaste for sensitive teeth if this happens.
Whitening your teeth at home can be safe if you work with your dentist. Professional at-home whitening kits and mouthpieces are tested and approved. As long as you follow your provider’s instructions, you should be able to see whiter teeth without any unwanted side effects.
Exercise caution with over-the-counter whitening products or at-home remedies that you see online. Speak with your provider before you try anything to make sure you don’t hurt yourself.
Safe Whitening From Home
Professional teeth whitening at a dentist’s office is the quickest and most effective way to get your desired results. However, you can take some steps to try to lighten your teeth at home safely.
Baking soda is one of the most discussed methods for teeth whitening. While many people argue that it’s too abrasive to use on your teeth for whitening, research shows that it’s not very abrasive at all. This is because its relative hardness is much lower than enamel or dentin, which are the outer layers of your teeth.
A solution of baking soda mixed with water will create a paste that you can apply to your toothbrush and gently brush over your teeth to lift stains and bring about a lighter appearance. While it might not taste very good, it might be worth it!
There are different kinds of toothpaste on the market that contain baking soda as an active ingredient. While many are harmless, be sure to look at the other ingredients beforehand and speak with your dentist to make sure this method is right for you.
Native Americans used to use oil pulling as a folk remedy for whitening teeth. While there’s little research to suggest its effectiveness, there’s anecdotal evidence that it works. Plus, it won’t do any harm.
While sesame or sunflower oil is traditionally used, any oil works. Many people like to use coconut oil because it has a more pleasant taste.
Oil can lighten teeth because it removes bacteria, which can reduce plaque build-up that otherwise leads to discoloration of the teeth.
You learned earlier about some foods and drinks that can stain your teeth, but what some that can actually whiten? Coarse vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower are indirectly effective because they require a lot of chewing to swallow. As a result, your mouth produces more saliva, which naturally breaks down the bacteria and stains on your teeth.
Pineapple is also effective, as it is the only natural source of bromelain. Bromelain is a substance with tons of anti-inflammatory effects and has been found to remove stains on the teeth.
Other Considerations for Teeth Whitening
While teeth whitening by a professional is an effective procedure that can restore the vibrancy of your teeth, there are a few other aspects to consider ahead of time. For one, whitening may not be effective on dentures, veneers, crowns, or false teeth, as whitening only affects the existing tooth color.
With that said, dentures or veneers can be cleaned and polished to help bring back a more uniform color. Additionally, whitening can be done on teeth that have been discolored due to a root canal.
Cost of Teeth Whitening
Teeth whitening is a great way to improve your appearance and self-confidence. But since yellow teeth by themselves don't necessarily pose a problem to your health, many insurance policies do not cover the cost of this procedure. That means you’d need to pay a ton of money out of pocket.
The average cost for a whitening procedure is $350, which can be a hefty price to pay for most people. But price shouldn’t be a barrier between you and the dental care you want.
How To Afford Teeth Whitening
Flossy is an alternative to dental insurance that uses a pay-as-you-go model, so you only pay for the services you need. You’ll see transparent pricing upfront, so you’ll always know what you owe before you go; no deductibles, hidden fees, monthly premiums, or annual payments.
Not only can this help you access necessary dental care like root canals or routine cleanings if you don’t have insurance, but it can also save you up to 50% on cosmetic procedures like teeth whitening. In fact, the Flossy price for whitening is just $157, almost half the national average.
Flossy’s expansive list of providers is also vetted against vigorous criteria to ensure high-quality care. This includes:
- Utilization of modern techniques, devices, and technology
- Four stars or more on popular review sites like Yelp or Google
- Experience and knowledge
- Peer recommendations
- Graduates of top tier dental programs
- Excellent patient reviews
It’s high-quality care you can trust, without high prices. It’s the perfect avenue if you’re looking to save big on dental procedures from whitening to filling. Book an appointment today!
Whiten Your Teeth Today With Flossy
Teeth whitening is the process of lightening the teeth to restore their natural, white color. Yellow discoloration of the teeth may be due to worn-away enamel from aging, trauma, or abrasive foods. However, it might also be caused by stains from food or drinks like coffee, tea, and pasta.
The teeth whitening process involves a dentist isolating the teeth from your gums and then applying a hydrogen peroxide solution, which chemically lifts stains from the tooth’s surface. While at-home whitening solutions are popular, you should take caution and speak with a dentist before using them, as some can be too abrasive for most teeth.
Practicing oral hygiene, eating foods that enhance saliva production, or using a baking soda paste can help to brighten teeth without the need for a special procedure.
While teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure rarely covered under most insurance policies, you don’t need to pay huge amounts out of pocket. Flossy can save you up to 50% on dental services, from emergency procedures like root canals to cosmetic procedures like teeth whitening. Book an appointment with top dentists in your area today.