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How Much Does It Cost to Whiten Teeth in 2021?

Posted on Nov 17, 2021 1:36 pm

As the year draws to a close, are you wondering, “How much does it cost to whiten teeth in 2021?” The price ranges from $20 to $1,800 depending on the system you use. There are also do-it-yourself methods that will help but may not yield the results you desire.

Maybe you want a little touch-up before the holiday season. Perhaps you’re thinking about the aftermath of blueberry pie. Whatever your reasoning, we have the information on whitening your smile that you’re looking for.

How Much Does It Cost to Whiten Teeth in 2021?

The ultimate cost to whiten teeth depends on the method you choose to accomplish your goals.

While over-the-counter in-home whitening strips and gels can be rather inexpensive, their reliability suffers. These are the systems in that $20 price range. One consideration is that you may have to purchase several packages to reach your goal.

In-home systems prescribed by your dentist or orthodontist do work better, but they can take several weeks. They cost more than OTC systems, but not as much as professional in-office whitening services. These systems range in the $200–400 area, depending on the brand your dentist prefers.

In-office professional LED and laser whitening can range from $300 and $1,800. The wide variance is based on how many sessions are necessary to brighten your teeth to the level you desire. Slight staining may be finished in one session while tougher staining may take several sessions.

In-Home OTC Whitening Systems

Most teeth-whitening systems are peroxide-based. With OTC systems, the level of active whitening agents is lower, so these systems are not as effective as those you can get from your dentist.

Home whitening kits are available at most retail outlets that sell toothpaste. Pharmacies, department stores, and even some convenience stores. Pricing has a wide range, from $20 to as high as $300 and sometimes more.

Some systems include moldable trays that you heat in warm water then bite into to form-fit the tray to your teeth. Other, more expensive kits, include a goopy tray that you use to make an impression that is sent to a lab. In the lab, they make you a custom-fit tray to use.

Some at-home kits include a whitening gel, strips, trays, and may even have an LED light to activate the whitening agents. Questions to ask about them include:

  • How long does it take?
  • Do you notice instant results?
  • Does it cause tooth sensitivity?
  • Is the procedure ADA recommended and safe?
  • How long will the results last?
  • Are there any risks?

The stronger the whitening agents, the better the system will be at brightening your smile. However, with the increase in active whitening agents, the risks of sensitivity also increase.

In-Home, Dentist-Prescribed Whitening Systems

Your dentist or orthodontist may offer a take-home solution to teeth whitening. While very similar to the OTC systems available, the active whitening agent in a prescribed system is generally higher. Although more expensive than OTC kits, the results will be better.

With this type of system, your dentist will often supply you with a custom tray. Pricing can range from $200 to $750 depending on the type of system and the amount of bleaching product necessary to accomplish the task.

Because this type of whitening system is performed under the supervision of a dentist or orthodontist, it is safer than OTC kits. Your dentist will monitor your teeth at regular appointments during the treatment.

As with most teeth whitening systems, these are not a one-and-done thing. Patients will need to wear the trays with the whitening gel on their teeth for several hours per day. Treatment can take several weeks depending on the level of initial staining.

The same questions for at-home OTC kits should be asked about dentist-supplied kits. Your doctor will include directions and answer all your questions about the treatment. Patients also have the added benefit of having a professional to call if they come up with additional questions during treatment.

Professional In-Office Whitening

There are two types of in-office whitening in use currently. LED Whitening and Laser Whitening. Both are effective and may yield instant results after one treatment. The cost of these treatments can range from $300 for one treatment to $1,800 or more if multiple treatments are necessary.

LED Whitening

With LED Whitening, a gel is placed on the teeth, then exposed to an LED light source that activates the gel. The entire process takes about 20 to 30 minutes per session. Although you may notice results after one session, it often takes several sessions to achieve optimal results.

There are two types of whitening agents that can be used with LED systems. A bleach-based agent and non-bleach products. The difference is in the level of penetration. If you have primarily surface stains, the non-bleach agent will work. Bleaching agents penetrate deeper to remove deeper staining.

Although some LED teeth whitening systems are available through OTC sources, it is recommended that care be prescribed and provided by a dental professional.

Laser Whitening

Laser teeth whitening is always an in-office procedure. To begin the procedure, the doctor will discuss what shade, or how bright, you want your smile. They will take pictures for before and after representations.

To protect your lips, the doctor will apply an SPF lotion with moisturizers. The doctor will insert a cheek retractor. The doctor may also use cotton balls to keep soft tissue clear of the laser for your protection. Before beginning, the doctor will apply a protective coating over your gums also.

The doctor will apply a gel containing hydrogen peroxide and thickeners to your teeth. The laser shines onto the teeth to activate the bleaching agent. Depending on the degree of whitening desired and the whitening agent used, as many as three 15-minute sessions may occur during one appointment.

During the treatment, the doctor will monitor the protections in place for your soft tissue areas. If necessary, additional moisturizer, gauze, or other protections may need reapplication.

After Care for Any Teeth-Whitening Procedure

No matter which way you select to whiten your smile, following the procedure, you should avoid certain food and drink for several days after a treatment:

  • Coffee, soda, teas, and other dark liquids
  • Ice cream and cold beverages (your teeth might be sensitive)
  • Foods such as blueberry pie

Women should avoid wearing lipstick also. Teeth are more susceptible to easy staining immediately following treatment.

The Bottom Line — Getting the White You Want

In and around the Alexandria, MN area, Dr. Joseph Haack at 320 Dental/Orthod Studio is your teeth-whitening expert. You can discuss the cost to whiten teeth with Dr. Haack or his awesome staff.

Arrange an appointment using the online Appointment Widget. Patients may speak directly to our Appointment Coordinator by calling (320) 763-7485.

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