Does Dental Insurance Cover Teeth Whitening?

If you’re considering a teeth whitening procedure, you’d want to know if your insurance plan can cover it. Teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure, and if you're going to feel more comfortable with your smile, it can help. But knowing if your dental coverage covers teeth whitening is crucial so you can prepare adequately for it.


Is Teeth Whitening Under Dental Insurance Coverage?

Teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure to lighten the color of your teeth and improve their overall appearance. Although it’s a popular procedure, most insurance companies won't pay for it because it's not a medical necessity.

Still, there are some exceptions. If you have tooth discoloration caused by a medical condition or as a side effect of medication, an insurance policy may cover the whitening procedure.

Also, when whitening a tooth is part of a larger treatment plan, some insurance policies might cover it. These cases, however, are quite rare and vary depending on the insurance provider. It's best to check with your insurance provider to see if they cover the cost of teeth whitening.

Types of Teeth Whitening Procedures

A dentist can perform several types of teeth whitening procedures. They include:

In-Office Bleaching

This procedure happens at your dentist’s and involves applying a bleaching gel to your teeth. Your dentist completes this procedure in one or two visits with immediate results.

Take-Home Bleaching

This involves taking impressions of the teeth and making custom-fitted trays. The patient gets a bleaching gel for use at home. This method usually takes two to four weeks.

Over-the-Counter Products

Various over-the-counter products are also available for teeth whitening. They include whitening toothpaste, gels, and strips. These products are generally less effective than professional whitening procedures.

Non-Vital Whitening

When a tooth is non-vital (dead) due to a previous root canal treatment, the whitening procedure involves placing the whitening agent inside the tooth through the opening of the root canal.

Laser Whitening

This type of whitening procedure uses a laser to activate the bleaching gel. It results in faster and more effective results.

It's essential to consult with your dentist to determine the best teeth whitening option for you.

What Treatments Are Under Dental Insurance Coverage?

Regular Cleanings and Exams

You will typically incur little to no out-of-pocket expense for cleaning your teeth and routine exams. Most dentists recommend these visits twice a year, and they can help find and stop problems with oral health.


Dental X-rays diagnose issues such as cavities, bone loss, and tumors. Depending on the conditions of your coverage, the insurance company may cover it in whole or part.


This procedure repairs a tooth damaged by decay. Most dental insurance plans cover fillings, but the coverage can vary.


This procedure removes a damaged or decayed tooth. Your insurance company may cover a tooth extraction, but it's best to check with them to be sure.

Root Canal Treatment

Your dentist may recommend a root canal treatment to save an infected or decayed tooth. Root canal treatment is typically more expensive than basic procedures, which is why most insurance companies limit their coverage for it.


A crown is a protective cover for a damaged tooth. Note that the coverage for crowns may have its limits in your locality. Also, you may have to pay a higher copay or coinsurance.


Dental insurance plans may cover a portion of the cost of getting braces, but often with a higher out-of-pocket expense.

Average Cost for Teeth Whitening

The cost of teeth whitening depends on the method you opt for and where you live. Some over-the-counter products, like whitening toothpaste and strips, can be as low as $20-30.

On the other hand, professional in-office teeth whitening treatments can cost between $500 and $1,000, while at-home teeth whitening kits prescribed by a dentist can cost between $300 and $600.

It's best to consult with a dentist to determine the best option for you and to get an accurate cost estimate.

4 Ways to Reduce the Cost of Teeth Whitening

Dental Insurance

Dental insurance plans can vary, but some may cover the cost of teeth whitening as part of their preventative care benefits. It's essential to check with your dental insurance provider to see what your insurance plan covers.

Financing Options

Some dental offices offer financing plans to help patients pay for teeth whitening. These plans may include interest-free financing or low monthly payments. This can be a good option if you want to get your teeth whitened but can’t afford to pay for it at once.

Discounts and Promotions

Some dental offices offer special promotions or discounts on teeth whitening procedures. For example, they may have a promotion where you can get a discounted whitening treatment when you purchase a dental cleaning package.

Also, many dental offices have loyalty programs where you can get points for every visit and use them to get discounts on teeth whitening.

Opt for At-Home Whitening Kits

Over-the-counter whitening products like toothpaste and at-home whitening kits may be more affordable than professional teeth whitening treatments. 

These products are accessible at most drugstores and supermarkets. They are usually less expensive than professional treatments, but the results may be less effective. 

If you choose to get at-home whitening kits, read the instructions carefully, use the products as directed, and get advice from your dentist about which product is safe.

How Long Does Teeth Whitening Last?

How long your teeth whitening effect lasts depends on the method you use, how well you take care of your teeth, and what kinds of foods and drinks you take.

In general, professional in-office whitening treatments can last for several months to a year. However, whitening trays or strips used at home may need reapplication more often, usually every three to six months.

To make your whitening effect last longer, maintain good oral hygiene and avoid foods and drinks that stain the teeth.

Get a Teeth Whitening Procedure Without Insurance

A sparkling white smile is always an asset, whether you're trying to make a good impression at a job interview, social gathering, or date. So, you shouldn’t stop yourself from getting a teeth whitening procedure done with or without insurance. Thankfully, Carefree Dental saves you 15 - 50%* per visit in most instances when you visit a participating dentist.

If you sign up for the Carefree Dental program, you can save anywhere from 15% - 50%* per visit in most instances of dental visits. And you only need to pay a monthly fee of $15.95 if you’re single or $19.95 for your family.

Get a Carefree Dental Card and save money on your dental visits.


*Actual costs and savings vary by provider, service, and geographical area.

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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