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How Much does Teeth Whitening cost? Weighing the cost to benefit of each option

How much does teeth whitening cost? It’s hard to say. Teeth whitening can cost anywhere from $15 to $1,500, depending on what procedure you choose and where you buy from.

Smart shoppers go straight to the source–retail prices can never compete against wholesalers in any market, and teeth whitening is just another one of those. In this case, dentists are the retailers, while companies that actually create the products are the wholesalers–companies like SmileBrilliant!, that actually produce the same trays that dentists sell at crazy mark-upped prices.

Low cost teeth whitening systems

On the more affordable end of the teeth whitening spectrum, we have over-the-counter products like whitening strips, whose quality varies depending on the company. They typically cost a modest $40-$60 on average. While effective, they’re also limited in their whitening abilities; strips are notorious for being unable to properly whiten crooked teeth, gum lines, and the crevices. Whitening strips while lower in cost are moderately effective and are considered temporary solutions that require frequent upkeep and are disposable once you’re finished.

In the mid-range costs sit products like custom-fitted whitening trays cost ranging between $100 when purchased directly from the dental lab or $500 when purchased from the dentist. With these products, you’re paying for longevity–when you buy a set of custom-fitted trays, you’re buying an item you can reuse as many times as you need. All you must do is order more teeth whitening gel which cost as little as $8 per syringe.

Finally, there are the big costs–anything above $800. When you pay this price, you’re certainly paying for a dental professional’s hourly wages, and not for the product itself. Custom-fitted trays–the very same ones Smile Brilliant! produces–skyrocket from $110 to $800+. Basic LED laser teeth whitening procedures are exaggerated into a $1,000-sitting with a stronger laser.

What’s the most cost-effective teeth whitening system?

Dental professionals have long been in agreement: custom-fitted trays have been called "the safest and most cost-effective" whitening products, because they ‘provide the least risk for the greatest benefit" (Haywood, 2003).

In other words, trays are not only lower in cost, but they’re the most effective and safe.

When to pay high cost for a dentist

Dentists get a bad rap online, because their costs are nonsensically inflated. But, to be fair, if your teeth are in bad shape you really must go make an appointment before doing any of whitening on your own. If you have any cavities or rotting teeth, whitening them can be more dangerous than helpful–it can create extreme sensitivity and gum damage, or else cover up a darkened spot of a tooth that is an indicator of a larger problem.

However, for most of us, an annual or semi-annual dental checkup is as much as we need to keep our pearly whites in tip-top shape. Keeping your teeth healthy is a necessary precursor to keeping them white, so visit your dentist when necessary, but when it comes to the cosmetic stuff–go straight to the dental lab for high quality teeth whitening at low cost!

Erin Stelbrink

Erin Stelbrink is a Registered Dental Hygienist with 11+ years of experience as a licensed hygienist and oral health care professional. She holds a passion for researching and acquiring awareness of the latest technologies and methods for providing valuable health care service and clinical treatment. Have more questions? Email Erin at