Having whiter teeth can make you more attractive and likable. Appearance matters in countless ways, and getting your teeth a lot whiter makes a big difference. You might even find it easier to get a higher-paying job if you look better and feel more confident from a brilliant smile. Appearance affects everything.
Since having perfect teeth is such an advantage, whitening is a huge industry. People spent more than 11 billion dollars on getting their teeth whitened in 2015. In 2018, more than 40 million Americans used whitening products. As of 2019 Americans have spent $1.4 Billion on teeth whitening.
Some teeth whitening techniques are more effective than others. If you go with the first or the cheapest method you can find, you might not get good results. However, you do not always have to go to the dentist to get your teeth whitened. Sometimes, at-home treatments work if you pick the right ones.
What treatment you need depends on how discolored your teeth are and why they are discolored. Slight discoloration caused by tea or coffee might only take cheap whitening strips to fix. More severe discoloration caused by illness, side effects of antibiotics, or tooth decay is more complex and more expensive to fix.
How Much Does Teeth Whitening Cost?
Dentists may charge you about $650 for typical teeth whitening, with more expensive treatments costing significantly more. Just as prescription medications are often stronger than over-the-counter medications, teeth whitening at the dentist’s office is more powerful.
The whitening strips you can get for at-home use are significantly weaker. The dentist’s office uses 25% or 40% hydrogen peroxide, compared to 10% for at-home strips. At-home treatments can still work, but what the dentist’s office does will usually work faster and better.
If you don’t want to spend $500 to more than $1000 on in-office treatments, you can get at-home kits that vary in price and effectiveness. Whitening strips might cost between $20 to $40, while whitening trays may cost $100 or more.
The best at-home treatments are higher-end whitening trays you get from your dentist. These are relatively expensive but usually cost less than $400. A benefit to a dental tray is that you won’t have to have the dentist work on your teeth if appointments cause an inconvenience.
If you treat your teeth at home, you can whiten them on your schedule and cheaply. However, treatment at the dentist is more effective.
Dentist treatments are not limited to chemicals since laser technology is now available to whiten your teeth. Even if you pay for expensive treatment, it might take more than one visit to get your teeth as white as you want them to be.
Examples of Treatments And Their Prices
There is a vast range of prices. You might spend as little as $20 if you are using whitening strips. If you want an expensive professional cleaning, you might pay upwards of $1300 to have both your upper and lower teeth cleaned, depending on how many sessions are needed and the severity of discoloration.
Usually, it will not cost close to $1,300, and your dental provider should provide you with a reasonable estimate of the price range before the service begins. External cleaning for your entire mouth will only cost about $600 or $300 per arch.
While professional whitening does not cost thousands of dollars, it is not something everyone can afford right away. You might have to work extra hours or cut costs for a little while to pay for dental work without having to borrow money.
Internal tooth whitening is more expensive than external whitening, but it can be more effective. If your discoloration comes from an internal problem and not merely from staining, you might have some luck with an internal whitening treatment. Internal treatment is expensive (as much as $300 per tooth), but it can whiten even damaged teeth.
If you only need a few of your teeth whitened, it will cost you about $70 per tooth for professional cleaning. Some over-the-counter products are very cheap, but most are not, and over-the-counter teeth whitening kits usually cost about $150.
Suppose you choose to get a whitening kit from the dentist rather than an over-the-counter kit; this may cost as much as $250 per arch on average. However, these kits are more effective than cheap whitening strips.
You May Need Other Treatments First
Before you get your teeth whitened, you may need to fix some other problems with your teeth. You might need to treat gum infections or cavities before you get any whitening treatments, and this can make it more expensive to treat your teeth.
You might need to get your teeth examined first, especially if you haven’t been to the dentist for longer than usual. A dental exam can cost anywhere from $50 to $250, with the average cost around $100. so add that to whatever you expect your professional whitening treatment to cost. You might also need X-rays, which can cost you another $35.
If you have had your teeth cleaned in the last six months, you might be able to go straight to whitening. However, if you are not getting your teeth cleaned regularly, you will need to get them cleaned first, costing you about $100.
Another thing you might pay for when getting your teeth whitened is a fluoride gel carrier. While a bleaching tray whitens your teeth, a fluoride gel carrier strengthens them. You might use a fluoride gel carrier after you get your teeth whitened to keep them strong, and it will cost about $150.
If you use a fluoride gel carrier, only use it for the recommended five minutes per day and don’t swallow any of the fluoride. While fluoride prevents tooth decay, it also turns your teeth brown, so your teeth might end up looking worse than they did before the whitening. Swallowing fluoride can hurt your health in many ways. Don’t eat or drink anything for the recommended amount of time after using the tray.
Will Insurance Pay For These Treatments?
Unfortunately, insurance usually won’t pay for cosmetic treatments, including whitening. You might be able to get your insurance to pay for some or all of it in some cases, but you will probably have to pay for it yourself. Insurance companies only want to pay for dental treatments that affect your health, not including stained teeth.
You will have better luck paying for some other treatments you get with the whitening. If you have to get cavities filled or get your teeth cleaned before the whitening, your insurance should pay for that.
Is Teeth Whitening Effective?
Yes, teeth whitening does work and can be easily worth what it costs when it works. Even over-the-counter strips can work if you make sure to use them every day for weeks or months. Professional treatment can work even better and doesn’t require you to create a new habit.
How Long Does The Procedure Take?
It should be over in only an hour or so. You won’t have to be in the office for long. If you use whitening strips, they will have to be in your mouth for a lot longer, but they don’t take long to apply.
Does The Procedure Hurt at All?
Some people experience some discomfort or pain. Usually, it won’t hurt at all. If your mouth is sensitive, the chemical might hurt you. Talk to your dentist first if you have sensitive teeth. They might use a gentler whitening treatment.
What Causes Teeth To Become Discolored?
Merely having decent oral hygiene or limiting sugar is not always enough to have white teeth. If you take good care of your teeth, don’t have gum disease, and rarely have cavities, your teeth might still get yellow over time. Many of the things people eat and drink can stain their teeth.
Tea, berries, wine, and even tomatoes can stain your teeth. Even things that are not very bad for you or are good for you can make your teeth yellow. Tomatoes and berries, and not merely cigarettes, can make your teeth appear yellow.
Thankfully, tooth discoloration caused by exposure to substances you eat/drink/smoke is possible to correct. If your teeth are reasonably healthy even though they are yellow, you can make them very white.
Even discoloration from smoking is usually possible to fix. Whitening strips and in-office treatments can clean the enamel and restore your white teeth.
Not all tooth discoloration is caused by staining. Tooth discoloration from other causes is often harder to treat, though whitening treatments may still have an effect. Discoloration due to tooth decay is not the same as discoloration from staining, so treatment may be much less effective.
If someone was ever sick for a long time, this might discolor their teeth, and it might not be possible to fix it. Give whitening treatments a chance even if you aren’t sure they will work – you might be able to fix most or all of the discoloration.
Whitening won’t work for everyone. You might have used antibiotics that made your teeth darker, that might not be treatable. Some drugs and medications can darken your tooth enamel, and you might not be able to correct it fully.
How much you will have to spend to whiten your teeth may depend on how discolored your teeth are and why they are discolored. If your teeth are imperfect but not very yellow, you can treat them with at-home strips – this may take a few months, but the strips do work for many people.
Badly discolored teeth might take more than one trip to the dentist to get white, and you might not be able to correct all of the damage. The more serious the problem, the harder it is to fix entirely. Give treatments a chance – even if you can’t fully correct the discoloration, you can partly fix it.
Is Teeth Whitening Ever Harmful?
Yes, a poorly done whitening treatment can have adverse effects, although they are usually minor. This is why at-home whitening treatments use softer chemicals than in-office treatments do. It is easier for someone who has never used whitening chemicals before to do any harm than for a trained dentist to do so.
Teeth whitening is relatively safe, so don’t be paranoid. Usually, there won’t be any side effects. If there are side effects, they are generally minor. You won’t damage your teeth by doing teeth whitening the wrong way; you will only irritate your mouth.
Tooth whitening is disadvised if you have any pre-existing conditions that tooth whitening might worsen. If your enamel is healthy, whitening treatments aren’t going to weaken it. Even the more potent chemicals that dentists use are very safe for healthy enamel.
A bit of damage is not a reason to avoid whitening your teeth. However, if your enamel is weak, it might not help you to get your teeth whitened. People with untreated erosion or cavities might have to stay away from whitening treatment until they can fix these problems. If you aren’t sure, talk to your dentist first. Again, whitening is usually harmless.
Whitening can sometimes irritate your gums and the rest of your mouth. The chemicals are reasonably strong, and the soft tissue in your mouth might react badly to it. A dentist can prevent this problem by using a substance that protects your sensitive tissue from the chemicals.
At worst, you might get a chemical burn from the whitening treatment. This is not likely – it will only happen if your dentist makes a mistake and uses way too much of the chemical. These burns are not expected to happen and are not likely to be very serious, but it is a possibility.
Talk to your dentist if you have sensitive teeth because whitening might make the problem worse. Sometimes, the bleaching solution can reach the sensitive inside of your teeth and irritate them. The less healthy your teeth are, the more likely this is to happen.
If you need to get your teeth cleaned, worked on. or whitened, you should do it sooner rather than later. Dentistry can be expensive, but it will cost you money in the long run if you don’t get your teeth treated. If you leave treatments for too long, you will have to spend a lot more when you get around to it.
Suppose you aren’t sure whether or not you can afford a professional cleaning right now. Start with whitening strips. You can find these strips in any pharmacy, and they are affordable on a budget. If you are still disappointed in the results you are getting after a few months, you might have to save some money for an in-office cleaning.