What is Teeth Whitening?

Teeth whitening is a relatively self-explanatory service. Literally, teeth whitening is designed to remove discoloration from your teeth. While tooth discoloration is perfectly normal and can happen to anyone over time, it is often associated with a sort of stigma in modern society. Pursuing teeth whitening solutions can help reverse the change and restore clean beauty to a smile.

An important thing to remember is that discoloration of the teeth can happen to anyone. Changes in pigmentation can have a variety of causes, including:


  • Food and drink: Some types of food and drinks contain chemicals that naturally stain the teeth (eg: coffee, tea, red wine, blueberries, tomatoes). Brushing your teeth immediately after eating or drinking can help alleviate some of the effects, but pigmentation can still build up over time.
  • Some medications: Some chemicals used in medicine (eg: tetracycline) can also affect the coloring of teeth.
  • Tobacco use: Most people know that smokers tend to have yellow or even brown teeth.
  • Silver fillings: An amalgam or silver filling, for example, can cause grayish-silver tinges to linger in the area after the procedure.
  • Genetics: Unfortunately, some people have teeth that are just more prone to changing color. There’s not much anyone can do to fight the power of genetics, which is why teeth whitening exists as an option for everyone.
  • Aging: Finally, tooth discoloration sometimes just comes from aging, which we can’t avoid, either. As you can see, as you age almost everyone will run into something that will eventually cause some slightly discoloration in their teeth. Because of this, it is important to know your options when it comes to teeth whitening. Up next we’ll look at some common methods.

Types of Teeth Whitening


Thanks to the importance most people place on a nice smile and the fact so many things can stain your teeth as you age, tooth whitening products have developed into a very large market. For the most part, tooth whitening products fall into two major categories, at-home whitening or professional dental whitening.


Over the counter teeth whitening


At-home whitening is convenient and often results in slightly whiter teeth. Even with at home solutions, you have a wide variety of options that range greatly in cost and effectiveness.


Whitening Toothpaste and Mouthwash


No doubt, last time you were at your local store looking for toothpaste you saw a wide variety of options for whitening toothpaste a mouthwash. In fact, it’s one of the most overused catch words in dental marketing today.

From an effectiveness standpoint, these products are normally sufficient in removing surface stains from teeth, but they cannot actually whiten the shade of teeth.

Overall, these are the cheapest option you can find, and a good option to maintain a smile that doesn’t already have significant coloring to it.


“Paint-On” Solutions and strips


As the name implies, these whiteners use a gel that hardens on the teeth after being applied and is then dissolved by rinsing the mouth or over time naturally.

You can also try whitening strips. These are normally a bit more expensive than their paint-on counterparts but are generally more effective too.

With both methods you may want to consult your dentist for recommendations. These products can potentially contain chemicals that will make your teeth more sensitive in some situations.


Professional teeth whitening at dentists office


Professional teeth whitening can range from laser treatments to custom made trays with high end gels. Each patient is different so the best solution for each will be different. We also factor in things like time and budget into consideration before making any recommendations.

The custom fit trays we use are like the paint-on solutions and strips but are guaranteed to clean and fit better than anything bought over the counter. These trays will normally take 10-14 days to finish, but can often show results as early as three days into the process.

At Mint Dental Alaska we also practice a laser teeth whitening that is complete in just under an hour. Laser teeth whitening amplifies the effects of bleaching solutions with a laser, accelerating and increasing the amount of whitening that can occur. Because the process can be dangerous if handled incorrectly, only dentists are able to perform these laser whitening services.


How much Does Teeth Whitening Cost?


One of the most important questions for many is the price of any whitening procedure. Many of the over the counter solutions will cost you under $20. Professional teeth whitening can range anywhere from $300 to $1000 depending on the procedure. Because tooth whitening procedures are mostly considered cosmetic, most dental insurance plans will not cover them.


Questions about Tooth Whitening?


You can visit our practice at any time to get recommendations for at home whitening or to get a professional treatment done.

Mint Dental Alaska in Anchorage is dedicated to helping you preserve your smile, and visiting our office is the first step to jump-starting that process. Call our office today at (907) 646-8670 to set up an appointment with one of our cosmetic dentists!

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