How does teeth whitening work? How long does it last? Is it expensive?
Today there are different options in terms of teeth whitening. This process can be performed at home, with the use of several brands of bleaching agents that can be purchased in stores or, for a better and more professional result, at your dental office.
In general terms, teeth whitening is based on a relatively simple process: a gel containing a bleaching agent penetrates the enamel reaching the dentin of the tooth. At this point, the oxygen molecules contained in the bleaching agent “hit” the discolored or stained particles that are latched onto the tooth, destroying them and therefore showing the teeth’s natural color.
So, in essence, teeth whitening actually changes the color of the internal part of your teeth (through what is called intrinsic whitening) and/or removes stains on the outer part of your teeth (through what is defined as extrinsic whitening).
One thing that is especially important to remember is that natural teeth are never snow-white: their color oscillates between different grades of yellow. And although yellowing teeth are a normal part of natural aging for everyone, there are also good habits that allow us to keep our teeth as white as they can despite – or in addition – to any teeth whitening treatment: an excellent oral hygiene, the lack of (or limited) exposure to acidic drinks and foods, getting rid of bad habits such as smoking or chewing tobacco are all effective means to keep your smile as white as possible.
That said, even though genetics can also be a factor in the natural yellowish color of your teeth, a session of professional teeth whitening can help you achieve much better results. And even though teeth whitening doesn’t last forever (its effects can last from 6 months up to 2 years), asking your dentist for advice will allow you to define the best solution for your needs.
Usually, professional teeth whitening can take a few hour-long sessions, during each of which a high concentration of peroxide will be applied to your teeth. After that, the dentist will use a specific tool to accelerate the whitening process, which will happen through a chemical reaction. The dentist will also make sure that the soft tissue in your mouth (gums and tongue) won’t be impacted by the chemicals, therefore reducing the risk of any damage.
An even more evolved version of professional teeth whitening involves the use of custom whitening trays that are made after your dentist has taken an impression of your teeth. This method is currently considered one of the most effective in terms of precision and results: a hydrogen peroxide gel is inserted into the trays, which are then placed into your mouth in a way that adequately covers your teeth on all surfaces. The treatment can be repeated through time to make the whitening result last way longer than the usual 2 years.
In term of costs, teeth whitening treatments can, of course, vary according to the method used and the conditions of your mouth.
Here at IMI Clinic, the prices might range from £275 to £495.
However, we strongly suggest you book an appointment with our doctors to define the best whitening strategy for you.