How Much Does Teeth Whitening Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 8, 2018

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Even if you floss and brush daily, it doesn’t mean your smile is going to sparkle 24/7.  If you’re noticing a slight discoloration or are simply unhappy with the color of your smile, then you may be considering a teeth whitening procedure.  Teeth whitening, often referred to as bleaching, is a procedure done to simply whiten your smile.

The price for teeth whitening depends on the type of procedure that will be performed, the dentist and geographical location.

Teeth Whitening with Groupon by Groupon, on Flickr
Teeth Whitening with Groupon” (CC BY 2.0) by Groupon

How much does teeth whitening cost?

A visit to the dentist to whiten the teeth usually costs anywhere from $25 for an at-home whitening product to as much as $1,000 at the local dentist office.  However, according to our research, we have found that the average dentist in the United States charges an average of $450 to $700 for a two-hour professional session.

Take home customized kits that can’t be purchased over the counter can cost $150 to $400, depending on the brand.

At-home kits that can be used in the comfort of your own home can cost anywhere from $15 to $150.  These kits will need to be used for 15 to 30 days consecutively, and most of the at-jome kits will include tiny white strips that need to be applied to the teeth for up to 15 minutes.  For example, the popular Crest 3D White Whitestrips retails for $25 to $55 for a box of 28.

Your Dentistry Guide says, on average, it can cost about $650, when compared to $400 for take-home trays or less than $100 for over-the-counter bleaching trays.

Animated Teeth says the price estimate for a bleaching session will be about $390 to $920, and this fee will usually include your upper and lower teeth.

At Aspen Dental, a popular dentist chain, their teeth whitening procedures, according to our research, cost close to $500; however, we were able to find a Groupon for $179 for a Zoom! whitening special.  Western Dental, another popular chain, had similar offerings, but we were able to find a Groupon for as little as $139.

Type of Teeth Whitening ProcedureAverage Price
Whitening Toothpaste or Mouthwash$3 to $5
Whitening Pen$20 to $35 per pen
Retail At Home Kits$25 to $45 for 30-day supply
Laser Whitening$200 to $300 per visit (will need four visits to see desirable results)
ZOOM$250 to $750 per session, depending on system and needs. Average patient may need three sessions.
Bleaching Tray Teeth Whitening + Gel Syringes$300 to $950
DaVinci Teeth Whitening$350 to $500
BriteSmile$400 to $650
Opalescence Boost$450 to $600
Sapphire Professional by Den-Mat Holding$450 to $600
KoR$550 to $750

The types of teeth whitening procedures

At-home kits

At-home kits can produce great results over the long run if used properly.  At-home kits will often be easy to use:  You simply apply the gel strips to the teeth and allow the strip to sit there for about 10 to 15 minutes.  These products often use peroxide, which actually bleaches the tooth enamel, and according to Dr. Arocha, this mixture can come in several concentrations.  At-home kits are typically designed to be used for two weeks.

Dentist office

If done at a dentist office, it can be done in a variety of ways.  A bleaching agent, for example, will contain a much higher concentration of peroxide than found in most whitening gels.  During this procedure, the belching gel will be applied to the teeth, while the gums are protected with a gel.  Depending on this procedure, a laser may be used to activate the bleaching gel to increase the brightness of the teeth.  This type of procedure, for example, would take about 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the amount of staining.  If the staining is extreme, then the dentist may ask you to come back for a follow-up appointment for additional sessions.  The two most common procedures you will find at most dentist offices will include ZOOM and LUMIBRITE.

BriteSmile

BriteSmile, a common name seen in dentist offices, will be a single one-hour operation that can make your teeth close to nine times brighter, with results lasting up to four years.

ZOOM

ZOOM, another popular brand, like BriteSmile, is an in-office procedure that uses a light-activated whitening gel.  This treatment commonly requires three 15-minute sessions, and according to ZOOM, it can make the teeth eight times lighter.  To help maintain your color, you will be given a home-use touch-up kit with custom-fitted trays. The product is composed of 25 percent hydrogen peroxide, which is 10 percent more than BriteSmile.

Sapphire Professional by Den-Mat Holding

The Sapphire Professional by Den-Mat Holding combines 25 percent hydrogen peroxide with a desensitizing enhancer.  When these two ingredients are mixed and painted onto your teeth, a light, known as the Whitening Crystal, will be positioned in front of the teeth for about 30 minutes.  After, the gel and desensitizer will be removed, and if necessary, your teeth may be bleached for another 30 minutes.

Tray

Another option is the tray tooth whitening procedure.  During this procedure, the dentist will take impressions of your teeth and will create a plaster case to create a flexible plastic tray. Once the tray is created, you will simply place the trays over your teeth over the course of two weeks for a few hours per day.

Laser

Laser teeth whitening, in general, won’t do the whitening itself, but rather, it will heat up the paste to quicken the oxidation process, according to Smile Brilliant.  Laser sessions can last 15 minutes two hours and patients often need up to four sessions to see desirable results.

Opalescence Boost

Opalescence Boost, a bleaching gel, will not use a light activator and is a 38 percent solution of hydrogen peroxide that also has a patented component known as PF, a mix of potassium nitrate and fluoride.  This process can take up to two hours to complete.

Whitening toothpaste

The simplest option, a whitening toothpaste and/or mouthwash, will help remove any stains on the tooth’s surface as you brush your teeth.  These whiteners will be the gentlest option and work by polishing instead of using harsh chemicals.  However, due to no chemicals, the teeth may not become as light as you want them to be.

What are the extra costs?

The effects of whitening and/or bleaching can last more than six months if done properly; however, it won’t last forever.  Becuase of this, you may want to plan to visit the dentist again or repurchase an at-home kit to keep your teeth looking white.  Some dentists may require you use an at-home whitener at home to keep the teeth lighter.

Tips to know:

In most cases, only one in-office session will be required; however, if you’re not satisfied with the initial results, then you may need two to three more sessions, on average.  In some cases, it could take three sessions to see a “maximum whiteness” effect.

The ADA recommends having a dentist check your teeth before you consider any whitening procedure.  A dentist should clean the outer teeth surface before the product is applied to make sure the agent penetrates enough of the surface to become effective.

The term “bleaching” often refers to when the teeth are whitened beyond the natural color and will use bleach, typically carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide.  The term “whitening,” on the other hand, will refer to removing the dirt, stains and debris on the surface of the teeth.

Make sure that you follow the dentist’s orders.  For instance, there are certain foods and drinks that can make the color of the teeth darken, which can lessen the effect of the teeth whitening procedure.

Regular brushing with a whitening toothpaste can help the effects of teeth whitening last longer.

Avoid mall kiosks and teeth whitening pens and these tend to be massive scams.  What you will find with kiosks is that the people running them have no medical experience at all.

Teeth often become discolored due to the following reasons:  aging, genetics, injuries, illness, medicine and tobacco use.

Teeth with certain stains may not respond well to treatment, sometimes even causing your teeth to become darker.

Before you pay, see how many teeth will be whitened.  You may find it’s limited to the front six or eight, not the whole mouth.

How can I save money?

Consider using an at-home kit before talking with a dentist as many at-home kits can do just as good of a job if done properly.

Groupon often has coupons available to have your teeth whitened.  Before choosing this option, however, make sure the process and dentist/professional offering is reputable.

Some dentists may offer free teeth whitening to new customers; however, be sure to read the fine print as this could be one of the cheaper options available, not offering the results you think you’re going to receive.


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