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How Much Does Teeth Whitening Cost With and Without Insurance?

Discover the main factors that impact teeth whitening costs and how to find affordable teeth whitening services with or without insurance.

Last updated on

July 16, 2024

Katharine Hall

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How Much Does Teeth Whitening Cost With and Without Insurance?

Teeth whitening is a simple and effective way to improve the look of your smile through cosmetic treatment. The costs for teeth whitening treatments vary, depending on the amount of damage, yellowing, and staining on the patient’s teeth. No matter your reasoning for getting a teeth whitening procedure, it’s important to learn how much this treatment can affect your bank account with or without insurance. 

Avoiding cavities and gum disease is the first order of business when it comes to your oral health. The next step is making sure they look pearly white and shiny. While certain foods and drinks will inevitably stain your teeth, there are ways you can fight back against tooth discoloration to improve the appearance of your teeth. And whitening is one of the easiest, most effective methods to do so. 

Because teeth whitening is a cosmetic process, the procedure and appointments can get expensive and most dental insurance providers will not cover it. This post will cover everything that impacts teeth whitening costs and how to find affordable teeth whitening services–with or without insurance.

What Is Teeth Whitening?


Teeth whitening is an effective way to lighten the color of your natural teeth without removing any of the tooth’s surface like you would with veneers. It won’t completely change the color of your teeth, but it can definitely lighten the existing shade.

It’s also important to note that teeth whitening is strictly a cosmetic procedure. While some procedures, like dental bonding and dental bridges, are more necessary, teeth whitening procedures often cost more because insurance rarely covers cosmetic operations. 

The teeth whitening process is done through a process called tooth bleaching, which involves using chemicals to change the shade of the outer layer of your tooth, called the enamel. 

The natural ivory color of your teeth can be affected by all sorts of things, mainly the foods and drinks you consume.

Coffee and wine are the main culprits of tooth stains, but other causes include:

  • Tobacco use
  • Use of antibiotics
  • High levels of fluoride during tooth development
  • Natural enamel corrosion with age
  • Genetics
  • Teeth Grinding 
  • Corrosion from silver fillings

How Much Does Teeth Whitening Cost?

Teeth whitening costs vary from patient to patient. Some people’s teeth might actually be damaged, rather than just discolored. In that case, you might need to invest in dental implants. Other patients might battle cavities and difficult-to-remove stains. And many patients just need an occasional polishing. 

Because of the range of potential problems, it can be difficult to target exactly how much a teeth whitening appointment costs, but the typical process usually costs between $500 - $1,000 on average. 

Thankfully, Flossy helps people find the best prices for teeth whitening, whether or not they have insurance. Flossy is a free-to-use service that only charges you for the services you receive, helping you save money on common dental treatments. There are no membership fees, no annual premiums, and no waiting period. Once you’re a member, you can easily book your appointment with a provider in-network.

Flossy’s providers are rigorously vetted against a set of criteria from degrees of accredited dental programs, excellent patient reviews, and expertise. Whether or not you have insurance, Flossy saves you money at the dentist.

Types of Teeth Whitening

There are many different ways to get your teeth whitened, but the three most common are chairside bleaching, at-home prescribed bleaching, and over-the-counter bleaching.

Chairside Professional Teeth Whitening

This is the most effective and safe method for whitening because it takes place within a dentist’s office under the care and practice of a professional. Here, a dentist will place a hydrogen peroxide solution over the teeth.

The stains on your teeth occur because of dark pigmentation from the food or drink that caused it. Hydrogen peroxide creates a chemical reaction with these pigments that neutralizes the color and makes the tooth’s shade appear whiter. After the peroxide is placed on the teeth, a light is usually used to speed up this chemical reaction.

It usually takes a few visits for chairside bleaching to get your teeth to the exact color that you want, though newer methods can allow you to get visibly whiter teeth in just one visit. Either way, this is a temporary procedure, and your teeth will darken again within one to three years.

Dentist-Prescribed Home Bleaching

Whitening your teeth from home with a dentist-prescribed kit is also an option. A dentist can prescribe a custom-filled mouthpiece–typically upper and lower trays that snap in like retainers–with bleaching chemicals to use right at home.

You’ll just place the mouthpiece into your mouth and keep it there for the recommended period of time every day for about a week or two. Keep in mind that while this option can save you a few trips to the dentist, the most effective method to get white teeth is chairside professional teeth whitening from a dentist’s office.

Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening

You can get whitening products from your local drugstore. While these are considered effective, they are usually not nearly as effective as prescribed treatments because they contain a lower concentration of active ingredients.

A few popular at-home whitening kits include:

  • Smile Direct Club 
  • Opalescence 
  • Moon Oral Care
  • Crest 3-D Whitestrips
  • ComfortFit LED Teeth Whitening Kit

Whitening kits work on the same principle as dentist-prescribed whitening kits, but you can also get whitening toothpaste and gels. These will not work as quickly or effectively as procedures within a dentist's office, but they can be more cost-effective.

Is Teeth Whitening Safe?

Teeth bleaching has been around for decades, and the American Dental Association has said that hydrogen peroxide whiteners are safe and effective for whitening your teeth. When using whitening products over the counter, just be sure to look for that ADA seal of approval.

With that said, many people experience increased tooth sensitivity to hot and cold sensations after starting a whitening regimen. This is usually temporary, but if you experience prolonged sensitivity, let your dental provider know.

If you are considering an at-home whitening solution, it is always a good idea to check with your dentist first to see if they have any product recommendations or reservations. If your teeth are too damaged, they won’t take to whitening. If your tooth staining is caused by intrinsic, rather than extrinsic causes, an at-home solution will not only damage the tooth further, but it will also not yield the lasting effects you desire. 

For the safest teeth whitening experience, it’s best to work with a reputable dentist.

Breaking Down Teeth Whitening Costs

Depending on the teeth whitening service you’re looking for, the costs may vary. Here is a quick breakdown of all the teeth whitening costs you can expect and prepare for if you’re considering getting this procedure done.

In-Office Teeth Whitening Costs With or Without Insurance 

Teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure, meaning it only serves to improve the appearance of your smile. Since it does not cure or prevent a disease, dental insurance companies will not cover the cost of whitening treatments, as they might with other dental procedures

This means you’ll be stuck paying out of pocket for your procedure. On average, teeth whitening in-office can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,000 per session. 

At-Home Teeth Whitening Costs 

Since it often takes many sessions, this can rack up a high price. At-home bleaching kits tend to be less expensive at around $100 to $400 for the entire treatment, but the results are usually less noticeable. Or you can opt for over-the-counter treatments, which fall anywhere between $20 to $100. 

Although a professional teeth whitening appointment will cost more up-front, it’s usually worth the investment to avoid further tooth damage.

Factors Impacting Teeth Whitening Costs

Several factors can affect the cost of your teeth whitening services, from your location, to how many appointments you need to attend. Here are all the factors that impact your teeth whitening costs.

Your Location

Your location can impact the cost of your dental treatments, with some states offering more expensive health and dental care. In fact, a study conducted by the National Library of Medicine found one of the biggest causes of inflated dental services was needing to travel for dental treatments. 

If you live far away from a dentist’s office or your state’s dental insurance prices are more expensive than the average cost, it might cost more to whiten your teeth professionally. 

Type of Whitening Procedure 

Another factor that greatly impacts how much your teeth whitening costs is what type of treatment you’re getting. At-home solutions like whitening toothpaste, whitening strips, and dental kits cost you somewhere between $3 to $60, with most options averaging below $30. 

If your teeth need more attention, or you’re interested in investing in a professional teeth whitening appointment, the cost for these often ranges from $500 to $1,000, depending on the operation. 

Most dentists offer several teeth whitening procedures. The most popular include:

  • In-office bleaching
  • Custom dental whitening trays
  • KöR whitening
  • Laser whitening

Teeth Discoloration

One of the biggest factors that determines how much your teeth whitening procedure costs is how yellow your teeth are. If your teeth are mildly off-white, they can usually be restored to their pearly white colors after a basic cleaning and possibly one bleaching session. 

If your teeth are mildly yellow, but undamaged, you might be able to correct the color with a whitening strip or in one to two sessions. 

But if your teeth are extremely stained or damaged, you will likely have to go through a few sessions, and depending on the severity of the damage, your dentist might have to take extra care in the products they use, so as not to cause any more damage on a problem tooth

Teeth Whitening Products Used 

The final factor that can affect the total cost of your teeth whitening procedure is the products your dentist uses. These in-office whitening procedures may include gels in custom trays, with or without light. Another option your dentist may do is “power bleaching,” which involves using concentrated solutions of hydrogen peroxide in water, which they will apply for up to 30 minutes. 

The products and equipment your dentist uses, as well as their specific office pricing, can impact the total cost of your teeth whitening procedure. 

Other Dental Procedures Needed

If you visit a dentist and find that your teeth are more damaged than you thought, you may need additional dental procedures before you get your teeth whitened. Some of these might include: 

  • Dental Bridges: Custom-fit appliances that ‘bridge’ the gap between missing teeth.
  • Dental Crowns: A common dental treatment that corrects and stops tooth decay and other damage in the mouth.
  • Cavity Filling: Another common dental procedure that fixes the cavity and prevents it from spreading to other teeth.
  • Tooth Extraction: The removal of teeth that are riddled with cavities or irreversible damage. 
  • Dental Implants: Titanium or ceramic ‘screws’ that replace missing teeth.

You shouldn’t need to let price be a barrier between you and the dental care you want. Flossy’s mission is to connect people with top-quality dental care at an affordable price. Customers who choose Flossy’s free-to-use service can conveniently look up dentists, compare prices, and book appointments, all from Flossy’s website or app. The best part? You save on every dental procedure you book through Flossy.

Flossy’s dentists are also vetted against rigorous criteria, so you can rest assured that you’re getting quality treatments and procedures. All dentists in their network must have accreditation from top dental schools, excellent patient reviews, and more.

There’s no waiting period, so you can sign up and book your appointment right away.

How to Naturally Whiten Your Teeth

Even after your whitening treatment, you still need to make some efforts to prevent future staining and correct any problems down the road. This allows your procedure to last even longer.

While at-home remedies may not be as effective as professional treatments, there are some ways you can try to naturally whiten your teeth:

1. Baking Soda

One of the most common at-home treatments for whitening is using baking soda. Combine just enough water with a teaspoon of baking soda to make a paste, and then use a soft-bristled brush to sweep the teeth.

Baking soda is a mild abrasive that can scrub away surface stains while also preventing harmful bacteria growth in the mouth. Just note that brushing with baking soda can taste unpleasant, so we recommend doing it before brushing your teeth with fresh, minty toothpaste.

2. Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is a traditional remedy that has been around for centuries, and the idea is that swishing oil in your mouth can remove bacteria that would otherwise turn into yellowish and brownish plaque.

Coconut oil is a popular choice because it tastes the best, but you can use any type of vegetable oil. Just place some in your mouth and switch around for about 15-20 minutes. That’s a long time, but it will be worth it when your smile is pearly white at the end.

Managing Teeth Whitening Costs

Teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure to enhance the appearance of your smile. Bleaching can be done at the dentist’s office or at home, and it works by neutralizing the stains on your enamel to lighten your natural teeth.

Since teeth whitening is a cosmetic option, insurance companies will likely not cover the cost. And since out-of-pocket whitening costs can vary upwards of hundreds of dollars per treatment, it’s hard to gain access to this procedure.

The team at Flossy understands how expensive dental procedures can be, which is why they’ve dedicated themselves to helping people find the best prices for dental care, with or without insurance. 

Flossy is a free-to-use service that only charges you for the services you receive, helping you save money on common dental treatments. There are no membership fees and no waiting period, so you can easily book your appointment with a provider in-network.

Find a dentist in your area today and get started on your journey toward a brighter smile today! 


Tooth-bleaching | Harvard Health

Tooth Whitening: What We Now Know | PMC

Is Teeth Whitening Safe, and Does It Work? | Cleveland Clinic

Sodium bicarbonate: A review and its uses in dentistry | NCBI

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