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Studies have shown that when people feel better about their overall appearance, they exhibit more confidence and self esteem. A healthy, beautiful smile is part of that equation.
So what happens when you're smile is no longer pleasant to share? Maybe years of coffee drinking have taken their toll on your pearly whites. Perhaps you're among the 43.8 million people who smoke or use chewing tobacco. If you are, then you're aware of the devastating effects tobacco usage can have on your teeth.
Or maybe your less than pearly whites are simply the result of the aging process. As we age, teeth naturally take on a yellowish-hue, even if we brush and floss daily.
No matter what the reason, more and more people are turning to teeth-whitening products and procedures to improve the overall look of their smiles. Tooth whitening is the number-one requested cosmetic procedure in the nation today. Americans reportedly spent over a million dollars on over-the-counter teeth-whitening products within the last year alone. Those figures do not take into account the number of people who seek teeth whitening from a dental professional.
Tooth whitening is the process by which bleach, or another chemical agent, is applied to a person's teeth in order to help remove stains and discoloration, making them appear brighter. This is a procedure which can be done in a dentist's office, or at home using special over-the-counter whitening kits.
So how much does it cost to whiten your teeth? The answer depends on the process by which you choose to whiten them.
Most dental professionals are able to perform tooth-whitening procedures. There even are dentists who specialize solely in tooth whitening. Dental offices use either a bleach or hydrogen peroxide based agent to clean patients' teeth, which is more concentrated than the products available over-the-counter. Patients should notice a lightening from their current tooth coloring of four to five shades after just one professionally-administered procedure.
While in-office procedures are the most effective, they also are the most expensive. The average cost for a whitening procedure performed by a dental professional is $650. Some procedures, however, can cost as much as $1,000 if patients choose a combination of an in-office procedure, coupled with at-home tray bleaching that is supervised by a dental professional.
In contrast, at-home whitening kits can cost between $10 and $50, and they do not require an appointment with a dentist. The procedure can be done in the comfort and convenience of your own home. However, the risk with at-home procedures is overuse of the product, which can damage the enamel on teeth.
Another option for tooth whitening is the vast array of toothpastes on the market today which claim to help whiten teeth. While all toothpastes are designed to help remove surface stains and plaque from teeth, ones containing baking soda or hydrogen peroxide can help to brighten teeth more than regular toothpaste. However, none of the whitening toothpastes on the market today can produce the same level of whitening as a professional dental whitening procedure.
No matter which option is chosen, keep in mind that tooth-whitening is not a one-time procedure. For the best results, it should be repeated at least once annually.
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