What Is Teeth Whitening?
Teeth whitening, also referred to as tooth bleaching, is a process in which your teeth are lightened to appear brighter and more attractive. This is used to reverse staining that occurs over time from foods and drinks we consume.
Staining is one of the primary reasons why your teeth might be changing colors. Certain drinks like coffee or tea contain pigments called chromogens which attach to the outer, white layer of your teeth (enamel) and cause staining. However, age, tobacco use, trauma, and medications can also affect the color of your teeth.
How Does Teeth Whitening Work?
Teeth whitening is a fairly simple process, and most whitening products contain either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These whitening agents break stains into smaller pieces, making the color less concentrated so your mouth can look brighter.
A dentist can work to whiten your teeth in a few different ways. Chairside bleaching is an option when you visit a dentist’s office and only requires one trip. The dentist will coat your gums with a protective gel before applying bleach to the teeth. This choice is often preferred because it can be monitored from start to finish by a professional.
However, if you like to whiten at home, a dentist can give you a custom-made tray for at-home whitening. Your dentist will instruct you on how to place the bleaching solution in the tray. This option can take a few days or up to a week.
You might come across over-the-counter bleaching products at your local supermarket or drugstore. These products are not as concentrated as the whitening agents your dentist has, so you should discuss options with your dentist before you spend the money on these.
Is Teeth Whitening Safe?
There’s a lot of controversy surrounding teeth whitening products and their safety. Many people claim that they might strip enamel or make teeth more sensitive. There’s good and bad news when it comes to the safety of these products.
The good news is that hydrogen peroxide bleaching products have been around for decades. The American Dental Association (ADA) has also deemed that hydrogen peroxide whiteners are safe and effective — at least when you use them properly.
When you choose whitening products, look for the ADA seal of approval. You can find this on most whitening toothpastes or teeth bleaching products. Additionally, follow the instructions carefully to ensure that you aren’t using too much tooth bleach at any given time.
Some people develop temporary sensitivity as they use whitening products. It’s not a sign of long-term damage, but it can be uncomfortable. Consider taking a break or switching to a milder product if you experience discomfort.
Does Insurance Cover Teeth Whitening?
Dental insurance can cover some or most of the cost of many common dental procedures like root canals, exams, and routine cleanings. However, insurance only covers procedures that are used to prevent or treat disease. For that reason, most insurance companies will not cover the cost of teeth whitening.
Teeth whitening is considered a cosmetic procedure since it only serves to improve the aesthetics of your mouth. Having stained teeth does not necessarily affect your overall health, and whitening your teeth does not fix a disease.
With that said, teeth whitening can vastly improve your confidence and make you feel more comfortable with your own smile. So there’s no reason to pay full price to work towards the smile of your dreams.
This is where Flossy can swoop in to save the day. We’re a pay-as-you-go service that can save you up to 50% on common dental procedures. No insurance is necessary, and there are no monthly premiums or annual fees. That means you can have easy access to some of the dental procedures you may have been avoiding simply due to the cost.
The average price of teeth whitening is $703, but with Flossy, you’ll pay around half that. Our dentists are vetted against rigorous criteria, so you can have full faith that you’re getting high-quality care from start to finish.
There’s no waiting period, so find a dentist in the Santa Fe area today and get the whitening treatment you’ve been wanting right away.
How Do You Avoid Tooth Staining?
The easiest path to whiter teeth is to avoid the habits that lead to discoloration in the first place. A few hygiene practices can boost your glow and enhance your smile:
There are two types of teeth staining: intrinsic and extrinsic. Extrinsic discoloration is limited to the surface of the tooth and can usually be fixed with a whitening agent. However, intrinsic discoloration is usually due to something relating to the structure of the teeth itself. For that reason, it cannot be reversed in many cases.
One of the most effective methods is to limit drinks and foods that have a tendency to stain teeth. This includes things like coffee drinks, sodas, wines, and teas. If you do choose to drink these beverages, consider using a straw so you can avoid discoloration on the surface of the tooth itself.
Additionally, brushing your teeth twice daily for two minutes can help to neutralize acids. Flossing daily can also remove particles between your teeth to prevent plaque build-up and keep your teeth looking as fresh as ever.
Does Teeth Whitening Work on Veneers or Dental Implants?
Taking care of your veneers, implants, or other artificial teeth is imperative to keeping them looking as new as ever. This is especially true because teeth whitening agents only work on natural teeth.
While veneers can vastly improve your smile and make your teeth appear whiter in general, they are not recommended as a cosmetic treatment because they can lead to problems down the line.
You should consult your dentist about whitening options before you go through with them, especially when there might be a more appropriate option for your specific situation.
Teeth whitening is a process in which your teeth are whitened or brightened to enhance their appearance. This works by applying a tooth bleaching agent to your teeth to break down stain particles and make your smile appear brighter.
Teeth whitening in the dentist’s office is usually recommended over at-home treatments because their whitening agents are more powerful and effective. However, teeth whitening is not covered by most insurance plans because it is considered a cosmetic procedure.
That said, whitening is one of many procedures offered by Flossy. We can help you save up to 50% on common dental treatments without insurance. There’s no waiting period, so you can sign up and gain access to care right away.
Click here to find a dentist in the Santa Fe area who’s ready to make your smile shine brighter than ever.
Tooth Whitening | From MouthHealthy.org
Is Teeth Whitening Safe? | Cleveland Clinic
What Causes Discolored Teeth and Is There Any Way To Cure or Prevent Staining? | Tufts Now