How Much Does Teeth Whitening Cost?
With many appearing on our TV screens and in our workplaces with new and improved teeth, more and more people are curious about the effectiveness of teeth whitening, how much it costs and whether it’s worthwhile. There is a broad price range for teeth whitening as there are several options for how to whiten your teeth; which one you should choose depends on the state of your teeth as well as how badly they’re stained, and whether it’s worthwhile or not, is ultimately up to each individual.
Let’s get into what the different methods of teeth whitening are, how much they cost, and what option is best for your teeth.
Teeth Whitening Treatments
There are many ways of turning your yellow teeth white again, with some more effective – and cost-effective – than others.
Common ways of whitening teeth include:
- Professional teeth whitening
- Home teeth whitening kits
- Teeth whitening strips
- Natural teeth whitening remedies
Each teeth whitening treatment varies greatly in cost due to the materials and work required by the dentist, as well as how long before you need your teeth whitened again, so it’s important to understand the process of each treatment before simply choosing the cheapest option and ending up unsatisfied with the results – or even in discomfort.
Professional Teeth Whitening at the Dentist
Professional teeth whitening in the UK involves visiting a registered dental practitioner for an initial consultation to ensure that it’s safe and appropriate to professionally whiten your teeth, before having your teeth coated in a special gel, either on the same day or at a second appointment. The gel contains hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, which works as a bleach to lighten the colour of your teeth, and is enhanced by a UV light or laser, so you can have a new-looking set of teeth in under 60 minutes.
This is the most effective teeth whitening treatment, as it’s speedy and lasts for around 6 months before needing to have your teeth treated again. However, if you look after your teeth well after the whitening procedure, they can stay white for up to a year.
Typically teeth whitening at the dentist costs around £300, however, it can vary from £150 to £700 depending on the practice. You can’t receive cosmetic dental care, including teeth whitening, on the NHS whether you pay for it or not, unless there is a genuine medical reason for it. So check the cost before you have the treatment to avoid any nasty surprises, as some NHS dentists also do private work, so it’s possible to get caught out.
At-Home Teeth Whitening
Whitening your teeth at home is a similar process to professional teeth whitening, as your dentist will have to check your tooth and gum health in an initial consultation, before taking an impression of your teeth for you to take home with your teeth whitening kit. Simply fill the mould of your teeth with the special gel given to you and place the mould over your teeth at times that are convenient to you.
Some people prefer to put their gel on overnight, but it can be used at any time of day; the more time your teeth are coated in the gel, the quicker you’ll see results, but you shouldn’t keep the gel on for more than 8 hours at a time. This type of treatment is slightly cheaper than professional teeth whitening, although you can still expect to pay between £50 and £300 for at-home kits.
Other Teeth Whitening Treatments
Veneers are a popular way of whitening teeth as they can last for a number of years, however, they don’t whiten your real teeth so much as cover your existing teeth with a whiter, often porcelain, shell. This can cost anywhere from £500 to more than £1000, so isn’t a viable option for everybody, and still requires excellent oral hygiene and avoiding tooth-staining food and drinks to ensure the whiteness lasts.
On the other end of the spectrum are teeth whitening strips and natural remedies, both of which can cost anything up to £30. However, they’re cheap options because they’re not as effective as other teeth whitening treatments. Teeth whitening strips don’t cover your teeth in the same way that hydrogen peroxide gel does, so it often leaves an uneven appearance, and can miss the edges of your teeth altogether.
Natural remedies may be tempting as most people will have lemon juice, coconut oil and baking soda in their kitchens, but precautions should be taken when trying these methods.
- Lemon juice has not been proven to whiten teeth and it’s very acidic which can damage teeth further
- Coconut oil has not been proven to be effective at all, although does not cause harm
- Charcoal is abrasive and can damage the enamel on your teeth
- Baking soda is effective at whitening teeth but can only safely be applied once a week and only works well on mild extrinsic stains
How Long Does Teeth Whitening Last?
Different methods of teeth whitening last different lengths of time, however, most methods last for at least three months. Professional teeth whitening lasts around 6 months, so comparing the cost, ease of application and time length, it’s the best teeth whitening treatment for most people.
You can also help your teeth stay whiter for longer by adhering to good oral hygiene practices and replacing staining foods with pale and colourless foods. For example, drink white wine instead of red wine, eat white rice instead of brown rice, and cauliflower instead of carrots. Speak to your doctor before changing your diet too drastically, however.
Does Teeth Whitening Work for Everyone?
Another factor to consider before choosing your teeth whitening option is that not everyone can have their teeth whitened.
Under-18s in the UK are advised against teeth whitening except for medical necessity, and pregnant or breastfeeding women are recommended to avoid such treatments due to a lack of evidence to suggest that teeth whitening is safe for them and their babies.
What’s more, most teeth whitening treatments require an initial appointment to check your tooth and gum health, as the chemicals used are strong and can be painful for people with little enamel on their teeth or gum disease. If cold or hot drinks cause pain in your teeth, you should avoid professional teeth whitening treatments and visit your dentist to find out how to protect your teeth and turn yellow teeth white again.
If your teeth are yellow even though you brush them every day, it’s possible that the colour is caused by intrinsic staining. This means that the inside of your tooth has changed colour, possibly as a side effect of medication, damage to your tooth from an accident or past dental treatment, or the tar from cigarettes seeping into cracks in your teeth. Professional teeth whitening is not effective at whitening teeth with intrinsic stains, so your dentist will suggest other possible procedures such as veneers.
No teeth whitening procedure is a permanent fix for yellow teeth as eating a healthy balanced diet involves eating colourful foods, so it’s completely natural for your teeth to yellow as you age. However, for permanent white teeth, you can reduce your intake of foods that are known to stain teeth, like coffee, curry, soy sauce and red wine, ensure you brush, floss and use mouthwash twice a day, every day, and have your teeth professionally whitened once a year.
Professional Teeth Whitening Procedures – Didsbury Dental Practice
At Didsbury Dental Practice, we want to ensure that everyone can get the dental care they need, which is why we’ve made our teeth whitening treatments affordable. From just £150 you can get your teeth whitened with our registered dentists. Don’t wait to fix your smile, book your teeth whitening appointment today!