Unlike most dental procedures, teeth whitening is a luxury. Having white teeth is a cosmetic preference and not something that’s vital to your oral health. This is why you may have a hard time finding an insurance plan that covers elective cosmetic procedures like bleaching for yellow teeth.
But a sparkling white smile is a sign of health, youth, and attractiveness, so it’s natural to want one even if it isn’t a medical necessity.
What this means is that if you want to whiten your teeth, you’re probably going to be paying out of your own pocket for treatment.
So the question now is: how much is teeth whitening going to cost you?
Once you have a good idea of the cost of teeth whitening, you can take your time to shop around for the treatment that offers the best value for your money.
How Much Does Whitening Cost?
The strange thing about the cost of teeth whitening is that it’s immensely variable.
Lightening your tooth color could be almost free or it could cost you upwards of four figures. That might not sound very helpful, but it truly all depends on which method you choose to whiten your teeth with.
The amount you ultimately pay out for a brighter smile will be affected by factors like:
When you compare all of these factors, you can decide on a teeth whitening technique that works for you. We’re going to break down the main types to give you an idea of your options so that you can shop for the best deal.
Teeth Whitening Cost (By Method)
Here’s a rough estimate of the amount you’re likely to spend on each type of teeth whitening.
Professional Teeth Whitening Cost
Dentists’ teeth whitening costs tend to be the most expensive. This is because the materials used are of the highest quality and can even include regulated substances which only a dentist can administer. Additionally, your professional whitening treatment would be a carefully planned process recommended and guided by a dental professional so it’s more likely to be your safest and most effective option.
The cost of professional teeth whitening tends to be wide-ranging because it’s often up to each individual dentist. Dentists purchase bleaching materials from other companies and then charge their patients a little more than the cost of the materials. Pricing dental procedures this way allows dentists to earn some profits that go to running their practice and paying their staff.
So it makes sense that dentists will charge different rates for teeth whitening depending on what it costs for them to run a business. Professional teeth whitening will cost more in areas where it’s more expensive to live and practice dentistry.
The cost may also be determined by demand and competition in the area. You might find better deals on whitening in places where there is a high concentration of dentists that offer teeth bleaching.
One last thing to keep in mind about professional whitening is that your total treatment cost will also be affected by the severity of your case. If you have very little staining, then one brief session might be all you need. If you have very dark teeth, on the other hand, then you might need multiple in-office sessions or supplementation with take-home treatments.
Here is the average cost of some popular in-office treatments:
At-Home Teeth Bleaching Cost
At-home teeth bleaching refers to treatments that you can apply yourself at home. Since the take-home teeth whitening market has exploded in recent years, there’s quite a variety of options to choose from. We’ll divide these up into separate categories below for you to compare prices.
Take-Home Bleaching Kits from the Dentist
As referenced above, take-home kits provided by your dentist actually fall under the category of professional whitening treatment. But we wanted to mention them here too since the take-home option is usually a bit more affordable than in-office treatments that include activating lights and lasers and other special equipment.
Companies like Zoom! and KöR both offer at-home bleaching solutions that your dentist can prescribe for you.
Online Whitening Kits
Your options are almost endless when it comes to the ever-growing number of at-home whitening kits that you can order online.
One kit you can order online (complete with LED light accelerator) is the TrueWhite system. Another celebrity-fave is the HiSmile system.
Over-the-Counter Whitening Trays
You can easily pick up an at-home teeth whitening gel and tray set at a supermarket or drugstore or order one online to have it sent right to your home. The cost of an online
Dozens of drugstore toothpastes that claim to whiten teeth simply contain an abrasive grit like baking soda which helps buff out surface stains. These aren’t usually too pricey, but there is at least one excellent whitening toothpaste on the market that contains teeth-bleaching ingredients and that’s Supersmile. This toothpaste can be used with an accelerator formula that increases the whitening power. A whitening toothpaste like this one is a good option if you want to lighten your tooth color gradually over time instead of shocking them with an intense bleaching treatment all at once.
Over-the-Counter Whitening Strips
Whitening strips are a convenient and mess-free way to whiten your teeth at home. There are dozens of brands out there to choose from.
DIY Teeth Whitening Cost
How much DIY teeth whitening costs you depends on your definition of it.
If you just want a basic bleaching tray kit that you can apply yourself, then see the section above on the costs of at-home whitening treatments.
But if your idea of DIY whitening involves whipping up whitening solutions from scratch, then you can save a lot of money.
You can very easily lighten your tooth color by using affordable and common items such as:
DIY teeth whitening is practically free if you already have one or more of these items on hand.
Teeth Whitening Cost: UK vs. US
Americans have famously been more interested in having white teeth than Britons, but the trend is catching on in the UK, as well.
Are you thinking about getting your teeth whitened abroad?
There are now many options for bleaching your teeth in the United Kingdom and we’ve compared the average price range for three main categories of teeth whitening: in-office treatments, professionally-administered take-home trays, and kits that you can order online.
As you can see below, the prices really don’t differ too much. In both nations, teeth whitening can be a costly and elective cosmetic procedure.
|U.S. Cost||U.K. Cost (with USD approximation)|
|In-Office Professional Bleaching||$500-1000||£500 ($626) and up|
|Take-Home Whitening Trays||$200-500||£150-700 ($188-877)|
|Online Whitening Tray Kits||$50-200||£50-150 ($63-188)|
Which Method Should You Choose?
As with anything else that relates to your dental health, you shouldn’t let your treatment choice be determined by the cost alone.
With so many different teeth whitening methods to choose from, how do you narrow down your selection?
Follow these steps.
- Speed. How fast do you want to see results? Do you need a treatment that works gradually or do you want instant results?
- Naturalness. Would you prefer traditional tooth bleach or something less harsh and free of chemicals?
- Convenience. Do you have to whiten on-the-go or can you take twenty minutes out of your day to apply a bleaching gel?
- Ease of access. Are you willing to visit a dentist for advice or would you prefer to order a kit online?
Generally speaking, the cheaper a teeth whitening method is, the less effective it will be. Not all stained teeth respond well to DIY whitening hacks or drugstore whitening strips. You may need the help of a dentist to get your teeth as white as you want them to be.
But what if you can’t see your dentist at this time because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic? Call them anyway for advice, product recommendations, and oral hygiene instructions.
In the end, you want to choose a teeth whitening method that strikes a perfect balance between price and quality.
Once you finally find the best teeth whitening kit or professional treatment, both your smile and your wallet will agree it’s worth it!