It may come as a surprise that almost 100% of Americans believe a smile is an important social asset, but if you think about how you would feel flashing a smile with missing or severely stained at a potential employer, you may understand where they are coming from. It will also explain the millions of dollars Americans spend on cosmetic dentistry every year.
Crowns and bridges are often used to cover up missing or discolored teeth, and studies show that adults ages 35 to 44 are missing at least one tooth. Other common restorative procedures include dental implants, teeth whitening and bonding, and veneers. These are usually a patient’s go-to fix when they are unable to save broken teeth, or ones that have been stained by drinks, such as coffee, and habits, such as smoking.
Teeth whitening is one of the most popular procedures, and in recent years, this industry has boomed into an $11 million dollar enterprise. People go to great lengths to achieve the perfect, shiny white smile.
Here are some of the most common home-based methods people use, and a professional dentistry procedure that comes through if all else fails.
- Home Bleaching Kits. CVS, Walgreens, and local grocery stores often carry whitening strips that dark-teeth sufferers can buy relatively inexpensively. A Crest 3D White Luxe Whitestrips kit offers 20 whitening strips that can be attached to upper and lower teeth, and claims that wearing these strips just half an hour a day can remove years of stains and deliver a whiter smile. These strips will set a customer back about $40, but a store brand generic whitestrip pack could potentially cut the cost down by half.
- Toothpastes. Some toothpastes also offer teeth whitening guarantees. These toothpastes often contain an abrasive, and chemicals, that help lift the stain from the surface of the enamel. Rembrandt is a well-known manufacturer of this type of toothpaste, and claims to remove the stains of red wine, coffee and other stain-instigators, while strengthening enamel. Crest and Colgate also offer whitening toothpastes, and these can be a more affordable alternative to whitening strips. The average tooth whitening toothpaste costs about $6.00, with the more expensive ones rounding out at $12.
- Dentist Aided Bleaching. Cosmetic dentistry accounts for several teeth whitening procedures every year, particularly for patients who do not experience improvement using toothpastes and whitening strips. This is an outpatient procedure that involves spreading a gel on the surface of teeth to protect the soft tissue from a strong bleaching agent. In some cases, dentists use a laser to boost the temperature of the bleaching agent in order to speed up its break down of stains on the enamel. This procedure is the most expensive of the three, and can be anywhere from $200 to $800.
With the help of these whitening methods, thousands of Americans have restored bright, white teeth to their smile. While these procedures do not come with a lifetime guarantee and require follow up treatments, they do help restore a level of self-confidence in patients who have been embarrassed by their teeth for years. More.