How Much Does Teeth Whitening Cost
With even the most diligent flossing and brushing routine, some tooth staining or discoloration can occur over time. Certain foods and drinks, smoking, medications, and age, can all lead to staining or yellowing of the teeth. Fortunately, there are several ways that patients can teeth whiten either professionally at the dentist’s office or from the comfort of their home.
As is the case with most medical or dental procedures, cost is often a big factor when evaluating which treatment is suitable. This brief will examine the cost associated with some of the more popular teeth whitening options available today.
Options for Teeth Whitening and Related Cost
Patients have three primary options available for whitening their teeth. Despite all relying on whitening agents (hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide), the concentration or strength of the bleaching agent varies along with treatment time and cost.
- Professional In-Office Treatment: Whitening procedures performed in the dentist’s office, are generally the best course of action for patients looking for the fastest, most effective, and longest lasting option. During these procedures, the dentist carefully applies a high concentration peroxide gel to the patient’s teeth. The bleaching agents employed by in-office treatments are generally between 25-40 percent hydrogen peroxide whereas those available in at-home treatments are only about 10 percent. To minimize gum irritation during the procedure, a rubber dam is applied to limit contact with the bleaching agent. The whitening agent is left on the teeth in multiple 15-20 minute intervals that total, at most, an hour. If the patient has particularly stubborn stains, multiple sessions may be required or treatment continued at home to achieve results. COST: Treatments/visits cost on average $650 to $1,000.
- Professional At-Home Bleaching Kits: Considered by some dentists to offer the best long-term results, professional whitening kits that patients wear from home, are another option available to whiten teeth. With trays resembling mouthguards, these kits use low concentrations of bleaching agents. The trays are generally worn for an hour but in some cases can be worn overnight. Given the low level of peroxide, the trays can be safely worn for longer periods of time. Based on the extent of staining, the kits are typically used for one to two weeks. COST: $100 to $400 per whitening kit.
- Over-the-Counter Options: Patients that are most concerned with cost and convenience, may find one of the many over-the-counter whitening products preferable. Like the other options discussed, these products often use hydrogen peroxide based bleaching agents that are much less concentrated than professional applications. Whitening strips are one popular option that involves wearing thin plastic strips over the teeth for about 30 minutes daily for one to two weeks. Other options include gels that can be applied directly to the teeth, whitening toothpastes with mild abrasives to scrub away stains, or peroxide based whitening mouth rinses. Rather than being customized specifically for the patient, all of these options are one-size-fits-all and as such, are typically less effective than professional options and not as long lasting. COST: From $5 for whitening toothpastes or rinses to $100+ for a over-the-counter whitening kit.