The Costs of Teeth Whitening

Teeth_whiteningWhen a patient considers the potential impact of teeth whitening, he or she tends to focus on two factors – whether it will make their teeth look better, and what it will cost. In the case of the first question, it’s typical for a patient to experience a two- to seven-shade improvement from teeth whitening. And what will it cost to get that improvement? Well, that can be a trickier question to answer.

Whitening costs by the numbers

  • Monetary costs: In-office whitening, $399+; take-home whitening kits prescribed by your dentist, $100+; over-the-counter (OTC) whitening kits, $20-100.
  • Time involved: Often, a single in-office visit of 60-90 minutes will provide the whitening results a patient is seeking. By contrast, over-the-counter products can take weeks of daily application to achieve a similar result.

The hidden costs of whitening

  • Age matters: Because our teeth darken over the years due to wear and tear and stain accumulation, if you are over 40, it may require additional treatment, compared to a teenager or young adult, to achieve the same teeth whitening
  • Just say whoa: People with sensitive teeth or gums may want to reconsider their intention to whiten, since it may aggravate those conditions and cause considerable discomfort, which may take time and money to resolve.
  • Again and again: To maintain the benefits of your whitening method, you’ll have to continue a maintenance regimen. This is something you’ll want to account for when planning the costs of your treatment.

Regardless of what method you choose to whiten your teeth, the American Dental Association recommends a consultation with your dentist first. He or she can do a thorough examination of your teeth and gums and ensure that you’re not attempting to use teeth whitening to correct a tooth discoloration issue that may need a more permanent solution, such as veneers.

“Teeth whitening can transform your smile, and your dentist can help you understand precisely the level of investment you’ll need to make to maintain its beauty,” says Dr. Carol Ford, a cosmetic dentist practicing in central Phoenix.

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