A bright white smile is considered a widespread beauty ideal, but many people are dissatisfied with the color, shape or position of their teeth. For this reason, various forms of therapy in aesthetic dentistry are being used more and more often and the range of these is constantly expanding. In this way, uncertainty often arises as to which procedure is best suited to one's own ideas. Both bleaching and the use of so-called veneers are popular methods of dental aesthetics. Below you will find out how the forms of therapy differ and what advantages and disadvantages they bring with them.
How does bleaching work?
During bleaching, the natural tooth color is lightened to the desired color using the bleaching agent hydrogen peroxide. Teeth whitening can be carried out either at the dentist or at home using bleaching sets available from drugstores and specialist retailers. Since the products used by the dentist contain a higher concentration of the active ingredient, the desired color can usually be achieved in a few short sessions during professional teeth whitening in the practice. In addition, sensitive areas such as gums and tooth sockets are specially protected so that the risk of irritation or damage is minimized. Due to the lower concentration of active ingredients, home bleaching requires a longer period of use to achieve the desired result. The advantages here are the convenience of being able to carry out the whitening at home, as well as the cost factor.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of bleaching?
Bleaching is a procedure that can achieve very satisfactory results with comparatively little effort. It has the advantage that the teeth retain their natural appearance and only change their color. No direct intervention is necessary and the teeth themselves remain undamaged, especially when carried out professionally by the dentist. In addition, even professional bleaching at the dentist is cost-effective compared to other methods of dental aesthetics. Due to increasing demand, the price has fallen sharply over the last few years.
However, performing bleaching also has some disadvantages and limitations. For the initial whitening, several short sessions are usually necessary to achieve the desired tooth shade. The whitening effect of the teeth does not last forever, so the treatment must be refreshed after 6-24 months to achieve a consistent result. Another factor that plays a role is current dental health. Bleaching cannot be carried out if the teeth are affected by tooth decay. It should also be borne in mind that crowns and fillings retain their color. If necessary, these may need to be replaced and adjusted to the lighter shade of the teeth.
What are veneers?
Veneers are translucent caps for the teeth and are usually made of extremely thin ceramic. They are attached directly to the individual teeth using an adhesive. The veneers are manufactured directly in the desired tooth color and are also able to correct slight misalignments or damage to the teeth, such as broken edges. A distinction is made between prep veneers and non-prep veneers. In order to attach the prep veneers, it is necessary to remove part of the tooth enamel (approx. 0.3 to 0.9 mm) beforehand. The non-prep veneers, on the other hand, are attached directly to the outer tooth enamel. Non-prep veneers are preferable because the tooth enamel remains undamaged with this non-invasive procedure, but the initial situation required for this is rare. In the case of misaligned teeth, damage to the teeth or fillings, an invasive procedure with prep veneers is necessary to compensate for these.
What advantages and disadvantages do veneers bring with them?
The big advantage over bleaching is the longevity of the procedure. High-quality, well-maintained veneers can maintain their appearance for up to 20 years. In addition to the color, the shape and position of the teeth can also be corrected. The veneers can be adapted exactly to your own wishes in terms of color and shape.
The disadvantages of this form of treatment are that it often requires an invasive procedure in which parts of the natural tooth enamel have to be removed. This remains undamaged during bleaching. Another point that should be considered is the cost factor. Due to the individual adjustment of the veneers and the complex production by a dental technician, the price is significantly higher than for bleaching.
The initial whitening through professional bleaching at the dentist costs between 300 and 700 euros and usually includes several short sessions until the desired whitening effect is achieved. Subsequent whitening sessions are necessary every 6-24 months and cost between 100 and 300 euros. Home bleaching kits are available in drugstores, pharmacies and specialist retailers starting at around 30 euros.
Veneers are priced very differently and can range between 400 and 1,300 euros per veneer. However, several veneers are often necessary. For an optimal result, 10 veneers are usually recommended to cover all the teeth that are visible when smiling. However, the price per veneer is often significantly reduced if several are needed at the same time.
Which form of aesthetic dentistry therapy is best suited for you depends very much on your own wishes and initial situation. Veneers are particularly suitable for teeth with fillings, damage such as broken edges and slight tooth misalignments, as they can correct not only the shade but also the shape and position of the teeth. With appropriate care, they will ensure a radiant smile for up to 20 years. But they are priced comparatively high. Bleaching does not require any intervention in the tooth enamel and the teeth remain undamaged when carried out professionally. This procedure requires little effort and is therefore significantly cheaper, but must be repeated after 5-12 months at the latest. Bleaching is particularly suitable for healthy teeth where only the color needs to be adjusted.
A decision to have bleaching or veneers should best be accompanied by a dental consultation in which your own wishes and the health of your teeth are taken into account individually. If you are unsure or have doubts, it is often worth getting a second opinion.