In Office Teeth Whitening Costs: What Affects the Price of Bleaching?

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You’ve decided on teeth whitening to brighten your smile, but are you looking for an over-the-counter, take-home or in-office whitening solution? Evaluating teeth whitening costs can help you narrow down your many bleaching options.

The cost of teeth bleaching ranges in accordance with the level of effectiveness. Teeth whitening charts (or shade guides) are used to help patients determine the level of white they wish to achieve. It is a delicate balance because one form of whitening may not be enough of a change to produce the results you are seeking, while another form of whitening may yield results that are too drastic, for an unnaturally whitened smile.

Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening Costs

The simplest whitening option also happens to be the most affordable. Over-the-counter do-it-yourself whitening products are available at most supermarkets, pharmacies and health food stores. They range in effectiveness, and include everything from whitening strips and trays, to toothpaste and chewing gum.

One of the appeals of over-the-counter teeth whitening is the affordability. The cost of over-the-counter teeth whitening ranges from $20 to $100. Although the results often are less esthetically-appealing than your other options, it can be a tenth of the cost.

Take-Home Teeth Whitening Costs

Take-home teeth whitening (also referred to as at-home whitening) refers to professionally-dispensed kits that you get at your dentist’s office, then take home to use yourself. Capable of yielding the same sort of results as in-office care provided by a cosmetic dentist, take-home whiteners incorporate peroxide gel (the likes of which your dentist uses) in a lower dose that is safer for at-home use. The gel is applied with custom-made bleaching trays.

Take-home whitening costs fall between the cost of over-the-counter whitening and in-office professional whitening. However, there are professional grade take-home whiteners that can be as effective as in-office treatment, and therefore cost as much. In general, the cost of take-home teeth whitening ranges from $100 to $400.

In Office Teeth Whitening Costs

In-office bleaching performed at the skilled hands of an experienced professional is the most expensive whitening option available. In addition to the professional care provided, the main benefit afforded by in-office whitening is the potential for significant color change over a brief period of time. This is the result of a higher-concentration peroxide gel used over a short period of time to avoid over-saturation of the teeth. Treatment involves several 15 to 20 minute application intervals that may incorporate a lighting system.

There are various in-office teeth whitening options to choose from (Zoom whitening, Britesmile, Lumibrite, Opalescence, etc.), each of which ranges somewhat in price. Costs for in-office treatment may also depend on the dentist performing the treatment. That said, the national average cost of in-office teeth whitening is approximately $650.

Teeth Whitening Costs and Insurance, and Maintaining Results

It is uncommon for teeth whitening to be covered by any sort of dental insurance policy. This is because it is a purely cosmetic treatment that serves no functional or health benefit. Elective procedures, such as whitening and tooth veneers, are rarely covered by dental insurance. However, in certain instances, insurance may provide partial coverage if there is a functional necessity for a cosmetic treatment. For example, the cost of mini implants or the cost of dentures may be aided by certain insurance plans.

Maintaining your whitening results is important should you elect one of the more expensive bleaching options. Given the cost of in-office teeth whitening, your priority should be doing anything needed to extend the effects. This is more than brushing and flossing. There are take-home kits available to help maintain the results of your treatment, and it is highly advised that you avoid certain types of foods and drinks. For instance, drinking red wine, coffee and soda can lessen your whitening results.