Is it Worth it to Have Teeth Whitening?
When you’re considering any dental procedure, you need to know the risks, and weigh them against the benefits. The choice of whether or not to have a dental procedure is very personal, and every person will make their choice differently. Here, we’ll discuss the major risks and benefits of having teeth whitening. If you want to learn more about what the procedure and the recovery are like, please visit Teeth Whitening: the Procedure and Recovery.
Please note that this page is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for qualified, individualized medical advice. You should discuss your potential dental procedure with your own dentist.
Any procedure has risks, and they should be carefully weighed before you decide to proceed. With teeth whitening, the main risk is the development of tooth and/or gum sensitivity following the procedure. Teeth may become sensitive to hot and cold, or to certain substances (such as acidic foods). If you’ve experienced tooth sensitivity in the past, the risk of this happening is greater. The risk of tooth sensitivity after teeth whitening is greatly increased if the whitening agent is left on for too long; therefore, having the procedure performed by a qualified professional, rather than doing it yourself, decreases the risk. Similarly, gums may become irritated and sensitive after teeth whitening. This happens if the gum tissue is exposed to the whitening agent, or if the trays that hold the agent don’t fit well and rub against the gums. If you have teeth whitening in a dentist’s office, the dentist will often place a protective barrier over your gums to protect them.
There’s also the risk that you won’t be happy with your results. While the whitening agents are powerful and can remove many stains, some stains and discoloration may not be removed by your teeth whitening. Any discoloration of the enamel itself, which is not on the surface, will not be affected by teeth whitening. If you have intrinsic discoloration (in the enamel itself), you might want to consider dental veneers rather than teeth whitening. Composite resin is also not affected by whitening agents, so if you have composite fillings or bonding that’s matched to your discolored teeth, then it may look darker than your teeth after whitening.
Additionally, your teeth whitening won’t last forever. If you continue to consume the substances that stained your teeth (such as cigarette smoke, coffee, tea, or wine), then your teeth are very likely to become stained again.
If you have discolored teeth or teeth with many stains on them, then you may feel bad about your smile. You may suffer a loss of self-esteem, and may choose to hide your teeth when you talk or smile. Teeth whitening can bring back your confidence and allow you to smile freely. If you’re in a job that requires a lot of social contact, you may find that teeth whitening gives you a professional advantage by improving your image.
The cost of an in-office professional teeth whitening is around $500 to $700; take-home professional kits cost less. The cost varies between dentists and in different regions, so check with the dentist you’re considering to find out the exact price. You can get an over-the-counter teeth whitening it for $25 to $100, but it will contain less effective whitening agents and may also be difficult for you to use safely (without damaging your gums or causing tooth sensitivity). For more detail, please visit our Teeth Whitening Cost page.