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How Much Does Teeth Whitening Cost?

10/22/20

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A beautiful smile has the potential to make you and those around you happy. Whether you're an avid coffee and tea drinker or a red wine connoisseur, your teeth will endure wear and tear over the course of your life. If you’re unhappy with your current smile, you’re not alone.

Teeth whitening products have the ability to enhance your smile. However, one of the biggest deterrents to getting your teeth whitened is the cost. Typically teeth whitening costs can range anywhere from $10 to $1,500 depending on the solution and method you go with. 

To help you determine if the cost of teeth whitening is worth it, we’ve outlined each teeth whitening method below — including the associated procedure and cost of each.

What Determines the Cost of Teeth Whitening?

The amount you’ll spend on teeth whitening will depend on the method you choose. There are options to get your teeth whitened by a dental professional or do it yourself at home. If you choose to see a professional, the costs can vary depending on the type of whitening you get and the specific professional you go to. It’s typically more expensive than using an at-home method.

If you choose to use an at-home solution, the costs will depend on the type of whitening you choose and the specific manufacturer you purchase from. We’ve outlined the general cost of each in the chart below.

In-Office Professional Teeth Whitening Cost

Whether it’s laser treatment or another type of professional procedure, the steps for in-office whitening procedures are generally the same.

  1. You’ll have a cheek retractor put into your mouth (a piece of plastic that opens your lips really wide).
  2. They’ll paint a liquid or resin onto your teeth to help protect them against irritation from the bleaching gel.
  3. The bleaching gel that has hydrogen peroxide in it goes into your teeth and stays there for 15–30 minutes.
  4. After that, the gel is washed or suctioned off and a new coat of gel gets painted on for another 15–30 minutes.
  5. If you’re doing a laser whitening treatment, this is when they will use an intense light on your teeth to enhance the bleaching process.
  6. Once done, they’ll remove the cheek retractor and you’ll rinse your mouth. Then they’ll compare the color of your teeth with how they were previously.

Once your procedure is done, you may notice your teeth look white initially, but the long-term color will emerge over the following days.

Typical In-Office Whitening Cost

If you choose to get your teeth professionally whitened, you may end up spending between $200 and $1,000 — roughly $600 on average before insurance. The bleaching gel a dentist uses is considerably stronger than the bleaching products you will try at home. You will see quicker results, but with a higher cost.

Often, dental insurance can cover the expense if it’s categorized as preventative. One way to lessen this cost is to look for new dentists in the area. They’re typically looking for new clientele and will often offer a discounted rate.

Laser Teeth Whitening Cost

Laser teeth whitening is a type of office treatment that has become increasingly popular because it is quick, painless, and convenient. The biggest downside is that it’s the most expensive teeth whitening option and most insurance options don’t cover the procedure.

Cost: A typical laser whitening procedure can run about $1,500 on average.

To get this procedure, you’ll want to first check with your insurance company to see if any of it can be covered. If they won’t cover it, you can speak with your dentist about a payment plan, or look at other financing options.

Home Teeth Whitening Kit Options

At-home teeth whitening kits are typically the least expensive option. They can range from $10 to $700, averaging on the less expensive side.

At-home kits can be recommended by your dentist, or you can buy a kit on your own. Sometimes, your dentist will send you home with a teeth whitening option the day you visit them. However, dentist-provided kits are generally more expensive.

You can buy teeth whitening online kits at the store or online. They can involve whitening stripswhitening gelswhitening trays, and/or whitening pens

The Cost of Whitening Strips

If you’re concerned about the cost of teeth whitening, whitening strips are a great option. Whitening strips work like bleach, but they’re actually safe. They use a variety of cleaning agents, including peroxide. The peroxide in the strips gets beneath the surface of your teeth to clean and bring out the whitest part.  

Cost: $45–$70

The Cost of Whitening Gels and Trays 

To avoid an expensive in-office visit, try out whitening gels and trays. Most whitening treatments use a bleaching gel. This helps remove stains and yellowness from teeth. The trays are used to hold the gel in place. 

Dentist cost: $250–$700 

Procedure: If you choose to get your trays and gel from the dentist, they will be more expensive. This is because the dentist will provide trays that are custom-molded to fit your teeth. If you’re looking to save money, there are several options to buy these products online at a discounted price. 

Over-the-counter cost: under $100

Procedure: The procedures for both dentist-provided and over-the-counter products are typically the same. To use whitening trays and gels, fill the trays with the gel and place them on your teeth. Then, leave them on for the specified amount of time (typically one to three hours).

If you’re looking for the cheaper whitening tray and gel option, we recommend buying one online. The AuraGlow home teeth whitening kit is a powerful system that includes whitening gel and LED light technology. You can get professional-level results from the comfort of your home. Plus, it comes with complete instructions (so it’s easy to use).

The Cost of Whitening Pens

Whitening pens are just as they sound — they are pens that whiten your teeth! These are popular among users with only a few discolored teeth as you can apply it directly to the affected tooth. When it comes to saving money on teeth whitening kits, whitening pens are going to be one of your cheapest options.  

Cost: $10–$60 

Natural Teeth Whitening Remedies Cost 

If saving money is the most important thing for you, going with a natural teeth whitening solution might be your best option. While natural teeth whitening remedies are the least expensive, you won’t see as strong of results and it may take months for you to notice a difference.

The most common natural teeth whitening solutions include:

  • Brushing with activated charcoal: You can brush your teeth with activated charcoal powder or a charcoal toothpaste to help with whitening. You can buy each of these products at your local drug store.
  • Oil pulling: To use oil pulling to whiten teeth, swish oil inside your mouth daily. The best oils to use are sunflower, sesame, or coconut oil.
  • Rinsing with baking soda: Baking soda has natural whitening properties that can scrub off plaque and stain buildup. To use baking soda to whiten teeth, mix one teaspoon of baking soda with two teaspoons of water and brush a few times a week. 
  • Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar has an antibacterial property that is useful for oral cleaning. When brushing with apple cider vinegar, make sure to dilute it with water and only brush a few times a week. 
  • Eating or not eating certain foods: Certain foods — such as strawberries and pineapple — can help whiten teeth. Changing your diet to include more calcium-rich foods and less sugar can also help whiten your teeth.

Cost: Typically, natural teeth whitening remedies cost $25 or less.

Going the natural teeth whitening route is the cheapest option — plus you probably have several ingredients in your cupboard right now. The activated charcoal may be the only method where you’d need to buy a specific product, but they’re typically not much more than $20.

Does Insurance Cover Teeth Whitening?

Will your dental insurance cover the cost of your teeth whitening? The short answer is: maybe.

If the procedure is for preventative reasons, then it’s more likely that your insurance company will help out. If not, it’s very likely you won’t get any financing help from them. However, it doesn’t hurt to call and ask before you schedule an appointment.

There are other financing options, like a personal loan or a dental discount plan. With the former, you’d borrow a lump sum of cash and pay it back over a certain amount of time. With the latter, you don’t borrow anything — you’d apply online and get approved in minutes. Then you’d pay a low annual fee and get discounts of up to 60% on every single dental visit, regardless of the reason.

The Average Cost of Teeth Whitening: The Bottom Line

As you can see, whitening your teeth can be quite expensive. Let us remind you, in-office professional procedures can range from $600–$1,500 if you choose to get a laser procedure.

Contrast that with professional take-home teeth whitening kits. Options like AuraGlow cost well under $100 — and you get professional-level whitening without the hassle of scheduling an appointment, leaving the house, and footing the bill. Plus, professional whitenings take hours to complete while home teeth whitening kits take far less time.