In order to make an informed decision about which teeth whitening method to go forward with, one of the main questions are how much the treatments cost.
The cost of teeth whitening can vary quite a bit. It depends on a host of variables including your dentist of choice, your preferred location (for in-chair procedures), the condition of your teeth, and more importantly, the type of whitening you choose.
The three main whitening options available include: In-chair whitening; dentist-prescribed take-home whitening; and over-the-counter (OTC) whitening products.
In-chair whitening treatment is about an hour appointment with a clinician, where the whitening agent is applied directly to the teeth in a controlled and monitored environment, followed by a UV light to activate the whitening agent.
Professional whitening at your own convenience
For a more cost-effective way to achieve professional whitening results, you can ask the dentist for a take home whitening kit that includes the whitening gel and a whitening tray customised to your teeth.
The dentist-prescribed at-home kits offer flexibility in the sense that the patient can perform the whitening treatment on their own time. This method takes advantage of a custom-fitted tray which allows the gel solution to be focused on your teeth, so as to minimise any contact with the gum area and avoid causing gum irritation. This can be worn at whatever time suits you and results are estimated to appear in 7-14 days.
You may also purchase take-home kits from the local pharmacy. However, OTC whitening kits contain stock trays that aren’t designed with your specific set of teeth. Although OTC kits are cheaper, you run the risk of an ill-fitting retainer causing uneven whitening results.
Other OTC options include tooth whitening strips or gels. These are peroxide-based products that are applied directly to the teeth, usually used once or twice a day for about two weeks. The drawback of OTC products is that they vary greatly in results, typically lasting less than four months.
By comparison, professional in-chair and take-home whitening last between 6 months to several years.
Dollars and sense
Now that you have a clearer picture of each whitening option, let’s take a look at the costs.
A professional dentist-prescribed, take-home whitening tray is estimated to cost anywhere between $350-$500. The price tag of an in-chair treatment is estimated at around $600-$2000.
Depending on where they are bought and if the items are on discount, OTC products costs anywhere from around $5-$200.
While the professional options are definitely more costly than the OTC products, they offer a safe and effective route to brighter teeth. The difference in pricing between the in-clinic and professional take-home kit boils down to time.
If you can afford the time to wear the customised retainers before bed for about 1-2 weeks, the professional take-home kit will be the most cost-effective option.
It is also the most value-for-money option for achieving longer lasting whitening results.
Since teeth whitening isn’t permanent, dentists often advise their patients to ‘top up’ their whitening every 6-12 months. Whereas in-chair customers have to repeat the same procedure every year – paying the same price for every subsequent procedure – some professional home-kits allow savings for returning customers.
At North Sydney Dental Practice, returning teeth whitening customers only need to purchase the ‘top-up’ whitening gel as the retainers can be re-used, hence saving on maintenance costs.
To maintain the whitening results for the long haul, the clinic estimates a top-up of a night or two every 6-12 months is enough. That means you can save time, in addition to savings on maintenance costs.
Unfortunately, Medicare does not cover cosmetic dental treatments including teeth whitening. In terms of insurance coverage, each health fund offers its own unique health cover which may or may not cover your treatment.
Did you know that teeth whitening offers one of safest and most cost-effective methods to achieve a brighter smile?
To find out more about teeth whitening and whether it’s right for you, call North Sydney Dental Practice on 02 8074 5320.