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  • Writer's pictureAhsan Malyk

Does Insurance Cover Teeth Whiten?

Whitening your teeth is a cosmetic procedure. This indicates that it is an optional procedure rather than one that the patient's health requires. Sadly, most insurance plans—including dental insurance—do not cover cosmetic dentistry.

Due to insurance coverage, whiter teeth do not have to be out of the question. You can take steps to reduce the price of teeth whitening.

Avoiding Stains Before They Happen

While maintaining good dental hygiene reduces stains, occasionally, they cannot be avoided. The discolouration is divided into two categories by dentists: intrinsic and extrinsic. Because inherent stains are a natural component of the tooth's composition, bleaching will not remove them. The causes of intrinsic stains are inheritance and ageing.

A high fever during a critical moment when tooth enamel is developing, or an excessive amount of fluoride in drinking water is another potential cause. Fluoride causes white spots on the teeth. Little can be done to eliminate these intrinsic stains because they are a natural component of the tooth.

Food, drink, or smoke stains are examples of extrinsic stains. For instance, cigarettes and coffee might discolour your teeth. Additionally, microorganisms from improper oral hygiene might result in stains. Extrinsic stains are bad news, but the good news is that people can avoid them by maintaining good oral hygiene, which can usually be eradicated.

The two primary categories of stain-removal items are. Over-the-counter solutions, known as at-home products, range in price from cheap (tooth whitening toothpaste, rinses, and gel strips) to more expensive (home whitening kits). Dentists are also able to whiten discoloured teeth.

Although their solutions are frequently more expensive, they produce outcomes that last for a shorter period of time.

Over the Counter Items

woman using whitening toothpaste to brush her teeth

Many people experiment with at-home whitening products while saving money for the more effective whitening procedures provided by a dentist. Before using any at-home whitening products, people should speak with a dentist.

Patients with sensitive teeth or who have had dental work done, such as fillings, crowns, dental bridges, or implants, should be aware of this in particular. They can advise what items might function best without harming already completed dental work.

Among the over-the-counter whitening products are:

Toothpaste: These clean and whiten teeth using whitening agents and abrasives.

Mouthwash: Stains can be removed by gargling with mouthwash or a whitening rinse.

Whitening strips and gels: Typically twice daily for up to two weeks, gels are placed directly to the teeth. Prices often fall between $10 and $50.

The ingredient whitening teeth, 10–20% peroxide, is included in most household goods. These have momentary advantages, and the final outcomes change from brand to brand.

Dentists utilise solutions with stronger peroxide concentrations and professional-strength formulations because they whiten teeth better and last longer.

Kits for at-home whitening

Another well-liked alternative is using at-home whitening products. These are whitening substances placed in a tray that conforms to a person's teeth. These typically demand more time per day for application than other DIY alternatives. For the top and bottom teeth, kits come with two trays. Many need to be used at night.

These whitening kits should be used exactly as instructed, as with these over-the-counter whitening solutions, as excessive usage may harm teeth. Costs for home kits typically range from $40 to $100.

Some dentists offer professional at-home kits, which can cost up to $400. Professional at-home kits include stronger peroxide concentrations than store-bought kits and use mouthpieces customised for each person's mouth.

Dentist Office

The dentist's office offers further whitening choices. These function faster and last longer, but they cost more. Average dental whitening operations cost $650, however, many people believe the outcomes are worth the investment.

Patients could require more than one treatment, and procedures typically last 60 to 90 minutes in total. With good dental hygiene, dentists employ stronger peroxide solutions to ensure that teeth remain white for anywhere between six months and three years.

To achieve long-lasting brightness, a standard process is used during professional in-office whitening:

1. The dentist starts by measuring the shade. Patients can see how discoloured their teeth are now and how much brighter they will be after treatment thanks to this. This gives the procedure a benchmark.

2. The dentist then uses pumice to polish the teeth.

3. To expose teeth to the bleaching gel, he or she next inserts a cheek retractor.

4. The dentist then covers the patient's lips, gums, and eyes to shield these facial features from the bleaching gel.

5. The gums are then covered with resin, leaving only the teeth to be whitened and exposed.

6. Finally, the teeth are treated with fast-acting gel.

Dentists repeat this process for a total of three 15-20 minute bleaching sessions.

Dentists can also use UV light to activate the gel. This strengthens the connection and increases the gel's efficiency.

After the operation is finished, the teeth will become completely white.

Dentists typically complete all of this in a single appointment, though they may also advise patients to use at-home bleaching trays. Since each patient's circumstances are slightly unique, this fundamental technique could change, and further visits might be required to attain the desired teeth whitening.

Bonding or veneers

For persistent intrinsic stains or extrinsic stains, there are further possibilities. The most expensive choices are dental veneers and bonding. Although they won't restore a whiter smile, they are also not covered by dental insurance.

Dental veneers are thin, tooth-coloured shells bonded right onto discoloured teeth. Typically, they are constructed of porcelain or resin, which firmly adheres to patients' teeth. They are also an excellent choice if you have smaller-than-average or chipped teeth. The price decreases with the number of veneers.

Veneers typically range in price from $925 to $2,500 per tooth. Veneers often cost between $10,000 and $40,000 for a whole set. Veneers are more expensive than any other whitening option, but they last 10 to 15 years on average.

Another aesthetic alternative is dental bonding, typically applied to fix teeth that have been fractured or chipped. Additionally, the treatment may result in whiter-looking teeth. It is an excellent choice for small repairs and typically costs between $300 and $600 per tooth.

Consider getting whiter teeth.

Unfortunately, since teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure, insurance rarely pays for it. That does not imply that you cannot have it; nevertheless, you might have to put money aside or explore less expensive choices, provided they are secure.

The best place to begin is by speaking with your dentist in the interim. They may describe the kinds of stains you have and the best methods for lightening them, if that is possible.

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