How Much Does Teeth Whitening Cost?

Everybody wants a perfectly white smile. But, is the cost of teeth whitening worth it? Find out everything you need to know about the teeth whitening options you have, what it costs on average, and how you can get pearly whites for cheaper.


What Is Teeth Whitening?

The usual color of your teeth isn’t white. They usually have a yellowish tint to them. This is thanks to staining that our everyday activities, eating, and drinking cause.

Teeth whitening is the procedure to restore the original whiteness of your teeth. This is a cosmetic procedure, and it doesn’t improve or affect the usability of your teeth. But, it can be beneficial in a lot of other ways.

Many people see white teeth as a sign of health and status. A pearly white smile can influence your image, self-confidence, and mental health. These are reasons enough to invest in whitening your teeth.

What Causes Teeth Staining?

Your teeth are naturally white. However, there are certain foods or activities that can discolor your teeth. You can avoid some of these to maintain the whiteness of your teeth for longer.

The most common reasons for tooth staining are:

  • Eating habits: Some foods and drinks, such as coffee, wine, and tea include tannins. These chemicals settle on your teeth and attach color compounds to themselves. If you regularly drink coffee, you’re more at risk of yellow teeth.
  • Smoking: Smoking is bad for your health in many ways. And you can add the discoloration of your teeth to that list too. The nicotine in cigarettes leaves brown deposits on your teeth.
  • Drugs or medication: Some chemicals found in certain medication can also discolor your teeth.
  • Grinding: If you grind your teeth, you wear the enamel on your teeth. The enamel is the hard white substance that protects your teeth. The next layer of the tooth is the yellow dentin. If you grind the enamel away, you’re bound to weaken your teeth and reveal the yellow layer underneath.
  • Old age: There’s a direct correlation between aging and staining teeth. That’s why older patients who want their teeth whitened won’t get the same results as a teenager.

Home Remedies vs. Professional Dental Procedures

There are various ways you can whiten your teeth. The cost of home teeth whitening kits and professional procedures differs based on the brand and practice. But, if you’re looking to have your teeth whitened, these are the best options for you:

Home Teeth Whitening Kits

These are the cheapest and most convenient ways to whiten your teeth. But, their effectiveness and safety isn’t guaranteed. 

Usually, over-the-counter teeth whitening kits include a bleaching gel. This bleaching agent isn’t as concentrated as what you’d find at a dentist. It usually comes in the form of strips or as a gel with a one-size-fits-all tray.

Take Home Teeth Whitening Kits

If you want a compromise between effectiveness and cost, a take home teeth whitening kit may be your best choice. The dentist provides you with the necessary materials and guidance to whiten your teeth at home. However, this method takes a lot of time.

The dentist gives you a low-concentration peroxide gel. You’ll have to apply this on your teeth with the help of a custom-made tray.

Professional Teeth Whitening at a Dentist

This is the most effective way to whiten your teeth. But, it’s also the teeth whitening method with the highest cost. You’ll achieve significant color change quickly with the help of a dentist.

During a teeth whitening appointment, the dentist places a high-concentration peroxide bleaching agent on your teeth. Usually, this stays on your teeth for 15-20 minute long intervals.

If your teeth aren’t badly stained, you can walk out of the dentist within an hour with a shiny white smile.

Some dentists also use a laser teeth whitening treatment. While laser teeth whitening comes with a higher cost, it’s less harmful to your enamel.

How Much Does Teeth Whitening Cost?

The cost of the teeth whitening procedure depends on a lot of factors. The method you use is crucial to calculating your budget for whiter teeth. While at-home kits are cheaper, they’re not as effective and don’t give you lasting results. And professional teeth whitening costs more, but it lasts longer too. You may save more money with it in the long run.

Over-the-counter teeth whitening kits usually cost between $20-100. But, it depends on the brand. You can find these in drug stores or pharmacies as they’re very popular.

Every dental practice prices their teeth whitening procedures individually. However, you’ll probably find the average cost of a take home kit in the $100-400 price range. Whereas an appointment with the dentist can be anywhere between $300-1500 on average.

The final cost will depend on how many whitening sessions you have and what kind of equipment the dentist uses to perform them. For example, laser whitening is usually a more expensive option. 

The above figures are estimates, based on current market prices. But you should remember that the cost of products and treatments will vary according to location, brand, and surgery rates.

Is Professional Teeth Whitening Worth the Cost?

Looking at the price tag, professional teeth whitening seems like a lot more expensive than just a simple at-home kit. But is the price difference justified? Is professional teeth whitening worth the cost?

Whitening your teeth isn’t without risk. Trusting a trained professional to do it for you isn’t just faster and more effective. It’s also safer. 

They’ll know how to whiten your teeth without damaging your enamel or gums. And they’ll use medical-grade materials and tools to restore the whiteness of your teeth.

If you’re looking for a quick, effective, and safe way to whiten your teeth, the cost of the procedure is definitely worth it.

The Risks of Teeth Whitening

Just like every medical procedure, teeth whitening comes with a few risks. Especially if you’re resorting to home remedies. If you’re not careful, teeth whitening can cost you more than money. It can also cost you your health.

  • Tooth sensitivity: Bleach is a ruthless material. So, you may feel increased sensitivity after you had your teeth bleached. Hot or cold temperatures, pressure, or touch can cause you pain. Some people even experience spontaneous pains called zingers. Luckily, this sensitivity usually only lasts a few days. And a dentist can recommend products or medication to alleviate the pain.
  • Gum irritation: Peroxide can irritate your gums. That’s why dentists put a guard on your gums when they’re working with highly concentrated peroxide to bleach your teeth. However, over-the-counter kits don’t provide this safety measure.
  • Technicolor teeth: If you have implants, dental crowns, or veneers, the results of teeth whitening may be different than you expect. Bleach doesn’t affect these restorative tools. So, your surrounding teeth may become whiter after bleaching than the fake teeth. This phenomenon is called “technicolor teeth”.

Teeth Whitening Cost in Time

Money isn’t the only thing you spend on a procedure like this. Teeth whitening also costs your time. How long you can see results depends on which method you chose, and what level of shade difference you want to achieve.

On average, the time cost of teeth whitening is 1-2 months with over-the-counter kits. That’s if you diligently apply the gel or strip to your teeth every day.

If you get a take home teeth whitening kit from the dentist, expect to spend a longer time on it. You’ll need to apply the bleaching gel for 2 hours every day. Paired with a teeth whitening toothpaste, you can expect to see results in 2-3 weeks. But, the results last longer than most methods.

The fastest way to whiten your teeth is to go to a dentist. They can brighten your teeth by several shades in less than two hours. However, if you have some severe staining, they’ll ask you to return for a second appointment to complete the procedure. And they also may ask you to continue with take-home whitening to achieve the best results.

The Carefree Dental blog is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The text and pictures within the content are intended for information purposes only. Readers should consult with a licensed dentist or healthcare professional before seeking treatment.

The Carefree Dental Card is not insurance and Carefree Dental is not an insurance provider.

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