For Dr. Kami Hoss, DDS, MS, each patient has a unique set of needs when it comes to dental procedures, including aesthetic dentistry. This is why he doesn’t advise anyone to apply anything on their teeth or use products they have never used before without consulting their dentist first. No matter how a product is advertised, it could do more harm than good if you use them without seeking the professional advice of your trusted family dentist.
For your reference, below are the top three things that Dr. Kami Hoss thinks you should know about teeth whitening.
Teeth whitening treatments
There are basically three teeth whitening treatments that you can choose from, but these can be broken down into two categories: DIY and professional, or home teeth whitening and in-office treatment. For the DIY treatment, you have several options: whitening gels that you can apply to your teeth, whitening strips, and mouth trays with bleach or whitening gels. You also have your regular whitening toothpaste. These may whiten your teeth to some degree, but they won’t give you the desired ‘pearly white’ results especially if the discoloration on your teeth is moderate to severe. For this type of discoloration, Dr. Kami Hoss suggests that you schedule an appointment with your dentist for professional teeth whitening, which is the second category of treatment. Professional teeth whitening usually means in-office teeth bleaching.
With in-office bleaching, the dentist will work on the extrinsic stains, or the stains on the surface of the teeth (usually yellow or brown in color). The dentist may also be able to work on the intrinsic stains, which are the grayish or darker discolorations on the underlying layers of the teeth. DIY teeth whitening products will not work on intrinsic stains.
Additionally, veneers or crowns will not be whitened through any of the treatments mentioned above. To have them blend with the natural color of your whitened teeth, they may need to be replaced, which can only be done by your dentist, according to Dr. Kami Hoss.
Risks that are generally involved cover DIY treatments. With DIY teeth whitening products, especially those that contain bleaching agents, you may damage the enamel of the teeth, which will result in tooth sensitivity. When administered incorrectly, you may also develop infections or swollen gums.
For the common DIY teeth whitening products (toothpaste, apply-on gels, or strips), the cost will generally be anywhere between $5 to $50. For the mouth tray with gel or bleaching agent, this could set you back by as much as $400. For professional teeth whitening, this could cost anywhere from $300 to $1,000. While an in-office treatment is the most expensive of all your options, it is by far the safest and most effective. It is also one that gives you longer-lasting results, which makes it the more cost-effective solution despite the price.