Wanted: Whiter, Brighter Teeth AACD members say they expect the demand for teeth whitening to increase this year

Teeth whitening seems to be on everyone’s wish list-and this momentum is likely to continue through 2011, according to a quick poll of members at the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD).

AACD members performed an average of 77 whitening treatments last year, and 57% said they expect this number to rise.

“We are doing more whitening than ever before in our practice,” says Shannon Pace Brinker, certified dental assistant and clinical editor for CPS magazine. Pace Brinker performed more than 400 whitening treatments in the past year, and gives credit for the treatment acceptance due to the ability to offer a high quality whitening system with options to treat her patients based on bleaching strength, time, finances and patient compliance systems within her practice at Greenbrier Dental in Chesapeake, Virginia.

Pace Brinker says that her practice has reduced its whitening fees, which has not only brought in more patients seeking whitening-but it’s also opened their eyes to other cosmetic dental treatments.

“Our existing patients are saying ‘yes’ to other procedures after the whitening such as bonding, replacing amalgam fillings, and replacing porcelain restorations to match the whitening they have achieved,” she said.

While the number of patients seeking whitening treatments will likely increase this year, Pace Brinker expects that the fees for whitening will actually decrease, due to specials offered by dental practices through deal-a-day sites like Groupon and LivingSocial.

The average price for a whitening treatment is about $150 for take-home whitening and $350 for in-office, Pace Brinker says. Since her practice adjusted the fees for treatment, she sees up to 12 to 14 patients per day on Mondays and Tuesdays just for whitening.

“Our case acceptance has exceeded our expectations with these adjusted fees,” Pace Brinker said.

AACD members said their practices generated about $19,100 on average from whitening last year.

The majority of AACD members polled said they provide in-office and take-home whitening treatments. Twenty-two percent said their patients have told them they use over-the-counter or commercially available whitening treatments.

Gender-wise, it seems that women are more concerned with a white smile. Roughly 65% of dental patients seeking whitening treatment last year were female, according to the poll.

“I think women are used to paying higher fees for services to make us look and feel better,” Pace Brinker says. “Currently men are more concerned about costs; however, as the market continues to be concerned with whiter teeth, I think you will see a trend from our male patients that is more equal to our female clients’ philosophy.”

About the AACD
The AACD is the world’s largest non-profit member organization dedicated to advancing excellence in comprehensive oral care that combines art and science to optimally improve dental health, esthetics, and function. Comprised of more than 6,300 cosmetic dental professionals in 70 countries worldwide, the AACD fulfills its mission by offering superior educational opportunities, promoting and supporting a respected Accreditation credential, serving as a user-friendly and inviting forum for the creative exchange of knowledge and ideas, and providing accurate and useful information to the public and the profession.