Teeth Whitening: Is It for You?

You want to get your teeth whitened, but you aren't sure if spending the money is worth it. After all, it is a cosmetic dental procedure that your dental insurance isn't likely to cover. So is teeth whitening right for you? Learn if the procedure — which can take years off your smile and improve your confidence about your mouth — is right for you.

Can you afford it?

Professional teeth whitening in the dentist's chair costs an average of $650. If you can afford the expense, your dentist sees no reason why you shouldn't do it, and your overall dental health is good, then you can go ahead with the procedure.

If you cannot afford up front to get your teeth whitened, then talk to your dentist about a payment plan. Some dentists are willing to let you pay for expensive procedures on a payment plan as long as you have no debt with them currently and are able to put a down payment on the requested treatment.

Do you take care of your smile?

Certain things, like smoking, drinking dark drinks, and chewing tobacco, will naturally stain teeth. It's important to brush regularly and make sure to rinse your mouth with water after eating or drinking dark foods and beverages. If you do these things and your tooth enamel is strong, then professional teeth whitening may be right for you. To keep your teeth white after treatment, follow the advice given to you by your dentist, and make sure to have your teeth whitened again when recommended.

Do you have realistic expectations?

Getting your teeth whitened will improve your smile, but it won't erase the color any dark or metallic fillings. It's also possible that it may make your teeth look discolored if you have a porcelain veneer or other replacement dental work.

It's also not wise to whiten your teeth too much: if you opt for a bright white or nearly blue whitening treatment, your teeth may look unnatural and become distracting. When whitening your teeth, your dentist will show you a diagram of different shades of white so you can get an idea of what the finished work will look like.

You can get your teeth whitened through teeth whitening services at any time so long as your oral health is good. If you have cavities or need other dental work done, it's wise to get your oral health issues taken care of before whitening your teeth.