afford teeth whitening

Can I Afford Teeth Whitening?

How expensive is teeth whitening? Is professional dental bleaching something that you can afford? Yes! At Raleigh Dental Arts, we explain to our patients that professional whitening treatments are one of the most affordable and effective ways to enhance the appearance of your smile. You can afford teeth whitening on practically any budget.

But not all teeth whitening systems are created the same. Depending on what your budget is and the timeline that you’re hoping to work with, you’ll want to make sure you use your money wisely. As long as you’re prepared up-front, you’ll be happier with your investment!


An Affordable Smile Makeover Option


If you were to rank the price of cosmetic dentistry treatment in Raleigh, professional teeth whitening would be one of the most affordable options you have to pick from. As an elective service, the out-of-pocket costs are still quite conservative. Even if you don’t have insurance coverage, you can usually afford teeth whitening.

Plus, since teeth whitening results are fairly affordable to maintain on a long-term basis, you’re not having to completely pay for a new whitening treatment every time you feel like your smile needs a touch-up.

For someone with relatively healthy and straight teeth, lightening the color of your enamel can make a huge impact on the way your smile looks. Teeth whitening is only a fraction of the cost of complex smile makeovers. By taking years of stain and multiple shades of discoloration away from your smile, it will make your teeth look like new.

Investing in something affordable like teeth whitening before a job interview, party, or wedding can help you make a great impression. When you look and feel your best, you’ll be more confident about showing off your smile around other people. If you’re not sure where you want to start with a smile makeover, teeth whitening is an affordable first step to take.


Afford Teeth Whitening: Cost of Over-the-Counter vs. Professional


At first glance, buying a teeth whitening kit at the grocery store or online may seem like the far cheaper way to do things. But in reality, buying a commercial whitening product won’t actually save you money. Here’s why:

  • Commercial whitening kits use much milder, lower-grade ingredients. Just like prescription medication, they’re restricted as to the strength of active ingredients they can sell to an average consumer outside of a professional’s office or without a prescription.
  • Even if a commercial whitening kit says it includes the “same ingredients” as a professional system, the concentration will be much, much lower.
  • You may need to purchase as many as 3-4 whitening kits per year to keep your teeth relatively white.
  • Although commercial products can lighten mild stains, they won’t provide the same dramatic whitening that you get from a kit delivered by your dentist. You get more “bang for your buck” when you opt for the professional system.
  • Professional teeth whitening trays are only a one-time investment, with refill gel available in our office for less than the price of an average commercial kit. So your long-term maintenance is more affordable (and effective) to go with a professional system.


Teeth Whitening Cost: In-Office vs. Take-Home


Now that you understand how using a professional teeth whitening system is more cost-savvy than going with a commercial kit, you have two different types of treatments to choose from. One does cost more than the other, but both provide very different benefits.

Same-day or “one visit” teeth whitening is the more expensive of the two. It is a single visit procedure where you can dramatically whiten your teeth in just one trip to the dentist’s office. Since you’ll still need to add on whitening trays for long-term maintenance purposes, we typically steer away from this particular type of whitening in most cases.

Our Raleigh dentists recommend using professionally fitted home whitening trays. This treatment is a one-time fee that includes a set of custom-molded trays and a set of gel-filled syringes. The trays are something that you can essentially keep forever (at least for several years, as long as you care for them properly)  to touch up whenever you want. Simply wear them as prescribed during your initial whitening process to see the best results. For most people, that’s about an hour a day for 10-14 days in a row. Touch-ups are usually only a few days in a row as needed, or after your routine six-month dental cleaning appointments. Home whitening kits are usually priced less than half of the cost of a same-day whitening session.


Long Term Whitening Maintenance Costs


When you have a set of custom whitening trays, your initial gel kit will get you through the initial whitening process with enough leftover for about one touch-up. Since most people touch up 1-2 times a year (depending on your diet and lifestyle habits) you really don’t need to spend much money to keep your smile white. Once you run out of gel, you can simply stop by our Raleigh cosmetic dentistry office to purchase a set of refill syringes. The price of the refills is typically less than what you would find online or in a store (plus you get the perks of a stronger solution.)

You’ll only need a small amount of gel for touch-ups, so you can help the leftover product last by storing it in a cool, dry place between uses. We recommend keeping it in your refrigerator, as this will extend the overall shelf life of the product.  Keeping it in your bathroom or at room temperature works if you plan on using it in the near future, but it won’t last more than a handful of months if you keep it there permanently.


Purchasing Quality, Affordable Whitening Gel

To whiten your smile to its fullest potential, always purchase your teeth bleaching gel directly from a dentist’s office. Even if you find a similar product or brand online, it will be different than what is legally sold by your dental provider.

At Raleigh Dental Arts we help each of our whitening clients select the best gel for their smile. Depending on factors like tooth color, stain level, whitening times, and potential sensitivity, we have several variations of gels to choose from. Some use different blends of peroxide while others are at staggered concentrations. Using the wrong gel simply because it seems like the price is right could cause major tooth discomfort and even damage to your gum tissues.

Purchasing the best gel from the beginning will mean you’ll be able to use less product and spend less money out of your own pocket. You won’t have to keep re-purchasing $50 teeth whitening kits at the grocery store every time you want to touch up your smile. Using a professional kit actually saves you money even though it’s a higher quality product!


Whitening Before Other Treatments

Sometimes whitening your teeth is the only cosmetic dental treatment that you need. But if you’re going to go ahead and update dental work in your “smile zone” you need to keep something in mind. You can’t bleach out white fillings, porcelain crowns, or other dental work. So if you’re thinking that you might want a lighter shade later on, it’s best to whiten your teeth now instead of later.

Bleaching your teeth before other restorative or cosmetic dental treatments allows us to match the updated restorations from the beginning. In turn, you won’t have to pay extra to update your dental work to get a lighter color if you decide to whiten your teeth at some point.

Depending on the results you get from teeth whitening, you might even decide that you don’t need other elective cosmetic services. Whitening is an excellent stand-alone treatment, but it always paves the way for an amazing smile makeover when you whiten before other aesthetic procedures.


Things to Consider Before You Whiten

Sometimes there may be added variables or costs you need to consider before whitening your teeth. For instance, is there any active tooth decay or gum disease? If so, we’ll need to address those areas before your smile is healthy enough to whiten. We can use a temporary filling if needed so that you can whiten first, then place a permanent restoration once the color of your teeth is determined.

There may also be areas that don’t respond well to whitening products, such as traumatic intrinsic (internal) staining or hypocalcification (white spots on teeth) that doesn’t necessarily “bleach out” the same way healthy enamel does. Our Raleigh cosmetic dentists will identify any of these issues during your initial exam so that you know about them from the very beginning.



Find Out if You Qualify for Whitening

Teeth whitening isn’t right for everyone. But if you’re an adult with a healthy smile who wants to boost the color of your teeth, then professional teeth whitening in Raleigh is an excellent investment. Enjoy safe teeth bleaching and great results by partnering with our experienced cosmetic dentists. We’ll help you find the best application method and gel for your smile to ensure you get the most out of your modest aesthetic enhancement.

Call Raleigh Dental Arts today to request an appointment.

Tarun Agarwal

Dr. Tarun Agarwal, DDS is considered one of the top dentists in the country. He is a recognized speaker, author, and dental leader. He has been featured on CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, and News 14 Carolina. Dr. Agarwal has been awarded '40 under 40' Business Leaders by the Triangle Business Journal. He is regularly invited to teach other dentists around the world and recently built a training center within the practice dedicated to sharing his expertise. Most importantly he is a loving husband and dedicated father of three wonderful children. His biggest accolade was being voted 'Best Dad in the World' by 2 of his 3 kids.