Teeth Whitening Cost: Professional vs. Over-the-Counter Methods

If you are looking for teeth whitening, you will find that there is a wide range of prices and methods to choose from. In this blog post, we will discuss the cost of professional teeth whitening in San Diego, as well as the different methods and tips on how to get the best teeth whitening deals.

woman smiling with white teeth

Professional teeth whitening costs may discourage you from getting the treatment because it can be more expensive than at-home treatments when you pay upfront.

However, remember that teeth whitening done by your dentist is more effective and produces long-lasting and immediate results.

But don’t let your yellow teeth have you feeling blue. There are ways to get your teeth professionally whitened in San Diego without breaking the bank.

Are you tired of your yellow teeth? Here are 10 things you should know about them.

Average Cost of Professional Teeth Whitening in San Diego

The average cost of professional teeth whitening in San Diego, California, is $575. However, prices can range from $350 to $1,200 depending on the dentist, the type of teeth whitening treatment performed, and the severity of the patient’s tooth discoloration. This price may also include at-home maintenance and regular follow-up visits.

Below are the most common professional and over-the-counter (OTC) teeth whitening methods:

 Toothpaste and MouthwashStripsDental KitsIn-Office BleachingLaser Whitening
Cost$3 - $30$8 - $60$20 - $50$500 - $1,000$500 - $1,000
Peroxide Levelup to 5%3 to 10%10 to 20%25 to 40%25 to 40%
Duration2 minutes (toothpaste) and
60 seconds (mouthwash)
30 minutes per session10 to 45 min per session40 to 60 minutes per session30 to 60 minutes per session
MaintenanceDaily or a few times a weekA few times a monthA few times a monthEvery 6 months to 1 yearEvery 6 months to 1 year
SensitivityLow, TemporaryModerate, TemporaryModerate, TemporaryModerate, TemporaryLow, Temporary
ResultsNo significant resultsfew weeks to a few monthsfew weeks to a few months1-3 years6 months up to
1 year

Know more about the different types of teeth whitening options in San Diego by reading this article Best Teeth Whitening Options in San Diego: What You Should Know.

Cost Comparison: Professional Whitening vs. Over-The-Counter Teeth Whitening

Let’s compare the prices of professional teeth whitening treatments to over-the-counter (OTC) products available in San Diego, California.

Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening Products

Home teeth whitening products are available as trays, strips, pens, and other over-the-counter options, including gums and mouth rinses.

over-the-counter teeth whitening products

The costs of over-the-counter teeth whitening products in the USA vary depending on the brand and type of product. Generally, their cost ranges from $5 to a staggering $200.

On average, whitening products or kits that you can buy at your local drugstore or supermarket range from $5 to $40. This makes them an affordable alternative to professional teeth whitening treatments.

For example, Crest Whitestrips – one of the most popular at-home teeth whitening kits – costs between $25 and $60, depending on the number of strips included in the kit.

However, these OTC products often have limited effectiveness and may not produce the same dramatic results as professional teeth bleaching services.

Here are the average prices of these home whitening products:

Product/TreatmentMinimum PriceMaximum PriceAverage Price
Whitening Toothpaste$3$15$9
Whitening Mouthwash$5$30$17
Whitening Strips$8$60$34
Whitening Pens$4$50$27
Ready-made
Whitening Dental Kits
$20$50$35

*Prices are in US dollars.
**The prices given above are average prices and actual prices may vary.

Professional Teeth Whitening Treatments

If you want guaranteed results from a high-quality whitening system, it’s best to invest in professional teeth whitening services.

The cost of these treatments will vary depending on the type of treatment your dentist prescribes for you and whether or not you need any additional procedures performed beforehand.

male patient getting laser teeth whitening in a dental office

At-home teeth whitening kits are relatively inexpensive and can give you great results. In contrast, professional teeth whitening at a dentist’s office is more expensive but will provide you with even better results.

Some teeth whitening methods require ongoing maintenance, while others are considered permanent solutions.

The most common types of professional teeth whitening treatments include laser whitening, in-office bleaching, and customized at-home teeth whitening kits with dentist supervision.

Professional teeth whitening treatments can get expensive, so make sure to do your research before picking one.

The table below provides a price comparison:

Product/TreatmentMinimum PriceMaximum PriceAverage Price
In-Office Bleaching$500$1,000$650
Custom Dental Whitening Trays$150$600$375
KöR Whitening$500$1,200$850
Laser Whitening$500$1,000$750

*Prices are in US dollars.
**The prices given above are average prices and each dental clinic may offer different prices.

Factors that Affect the Cost of Professional Teeth Whitening

How much does it cost to get those pearly whites done by a professional? There are several factors that determine the cost, including

1. The Severity of Discoloration

If your teeth are only mildly yellowed, you’ll likely only need one or two sessions to achieve the desired results.

However, if your teeth are severely stained or yellowed, it may take multiple sessions—and cost more—to get them as white as you want them.

a close-up image of stained teeth due to smoking

Scaling helps to remove calculus, or hardened plaque, from teeth surfaces as well as any stains that may have built up over time.

The treatment for mildly yellowed teeth is typically a basic cleaning followed by bleaching. This process is relatively quick and easy, which is why it’s less expensive than treating heavily stained teeth.

Treating heavily stained teeth usually requires multiple bleaching sessions as well as additional treatments like scaling and polishing. This process is more time-consuming and costly, which is why the average price tag is higher.

Teeth Whitening Tip: Before spending money on an at-home teeth whitening kit, be sure to find out if your tooth staining is intrinsic or extrinsic. If it’s intrinsic, then bleaching your teeth at home is not going to give you the results you want—and could even damage your teeth. To find out for sure, schedule a free consultation with me here at Blyss Dental. I will determine what teeth whitening method is best for you.

2. The Type of Whitening Procedure

The most common type of professional teeth whitening is in-office bleaching, which usually costs between $500 and $1,000 per session with a national average of $650 per visit.

Laser tooth whitening is another popular option that typically costs an average of $750 per session, varying between $500 and $1,000.

Custom at-home bleaching kits are also available from some dentists, typically costing around $150 to $600.

Here are the best teeth whitening options available in San Diego.

3. The Brand of the Teeth Whitening System

There is a wide range of teeth whitening treatments on the market offered by different brands. And these brands use different whitening systems that result in different shades of white.

Other brands even develop their teeth whitening technology to serve as an edge over their competitors, increasing their price points.

Some produce longer-lasting results but may require a longer process which includes follow-up appointments, while some may only take a single session, the results may not be as long as you want them to be.

before and after teeth whitening with KöR Whitening logo

At Blyss Dental, we only use the best for our patients which is why I recommend KöR Whitening, widely recognized as the world’s most effective teeth whitening system. Using a brand that is reputed for its cost-effective solutions ensures patients that they will get the best results.

Your dentist may even recommend a specific teeth whitening system that has a reputation for producing the best results.

While it might be more expensive, it’s typically worth the investment since you’ll get long-lasting and, possibly, immediate results.

Teeth Whitening Tip: The type of teeth whitening treatment you use can make a big difference in how long the results last. Read this article to know how long the different types of teeth whitening methods last.

4. Pre-Whitening Procedures

Some teeth whitening procedures require that you undergo additional treatments before getting your teeth bleached, such as scaling and polishing. These procedures are often necessary if your teeth have deep stains or if you’ve had a lot of dental work done in the past.

Scaling is typically performed first to remove plaque, tartar buildup, and other substances that may not be removed during your regular dental cleaning. It is generally more affordable than polishing, and it usually helps prepare your teeth for a brighter, whiter smile.

If you have sensitive teeth or gum recession, your dentist might recommend using desensitizing gel or fluoride treatments before you begin bleaching.

3D illustration of teeth scaling

Scaling helps to remove calculus, or hardened plaque, from teeth surfaces as well as any stains that may have built up over time. It is often a necessary pre-whitening procedure to prepare your teeth for a brighter, whiter smile.

Teeth Whitening Tip: Pre-whitening procedures such as teeth cleaning or scaling may be covered by your dental insurance. Make sure to check your insurance plan, as this might lessen the cost of your treatment, saving you hundreds of dollars.

5. Dentist Skills and Expertise

The experience and qualifications of your dentist are also essential factors. Dentists with more experience or who specialize in teeth whitening treatments may charge higher prices for their services.

An experienced dentist knows how to properly apply the bleaching gel to avoid uneven results or excessive irritation of the gums and soft tissues in the mouth. They also have access to higher-quality lasers and bleaching gels.

If you want dramatic results that will last, it’s worth investing in a skilled dentist who can provide those results safely and effectively.

Teeth Whitening Tip: Ask your dentist about the results they have been able to achieve with other patients. Be sure to look at before, and after photos so you have an idea of what to expect. You can also ask friends and family for recommendations or check online reviews.

6. Your Location

Where you live can also affect the cost of professional teeth whitening. Major cities and urban areas will generally have higher prices than smaller towns or rural communities. This is because there are simply more dentists to choose from in larger areas which means stiffer competition amongst providers.

Due to this competition, dentists may be more willing to negotiate prices with you as a way to attract new patients. So if you’re looking for the most affordable teeth whitening, it’s best to shop around and compare quotes from different providers near you.

Tips to Getting the Best Professional Teeth Whitening Deal in San Diego

If you’re looking to save money on professional teeth whitening in San Diego, there are a few ways to cut costs without compromising quality. Here are some tips to help you get the best deal:

1. Research, Research, Research

The first step to getting the best deal is to, you guessed it, do your research! With so many options available, it’s important to compare prices and services to find the best fit for you. Take advantage of online reviews and referrals from friends and family to find a reputable teeth whitening provider in San Diego.

2. Look for Discounts and Specials

Many teeth whitening providers offer discounts and specials, so be sure to ask about any current promotions. You may be able to find a package deal or group discount that can save you money. Be sure to check out the provider’s website or social media pages for any deals that may be available.

3. Consider Your Options

There are many different types of teeth whitening treatments available, so it’s important to consider your options before making a decision. If you have sensitive teeth, for example, you’ll want to avoid treatments that use high-intensity light or laser treatments. Be sure to ask about the different types of treatments available and what side effects or risks may be associated with each one. Doing your research beforehand will help you make an informed decision and get the best results possible.

4. Ask About Insurance Coverage

Some insurance plans may cover a certain percentage of your costs, while others will not cover any expenses associated with teeth whitening procedures. These costs include preventive care such as consultation fees, teeth cleanings, and x-rays. So be sure to ask about coverage before scheduling an appointment. This will help ensure that you receive the best possible price for your treatment.

5. Follow-up Maintenance Appointments

Once you’ve achieved your desired level of whiteness, it’s important to maintain your results with regular cleanings and appointments with your dentist. Be sure to ask about maintenance plans and what frequency of appointments is recommended in order to plan ahead your budget.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, professional teeth whitening can be a great way to improve the appearance of your smile and boost your confidence.

So, what’s the bottom line? How much will it cost to get that picture-perfect smile? The good news is that professional teeth whitening in San Diego don’t have to break the bank.

In fact, at Blyss Dental, we offer a range of affordable options, from take-home treatments to in-office procedures.

Schedule a free consultation with us today, and let us help you find the perfect solution for your needs – and your budget. We can’t wait to see your beautiful smile!

Sources Cited From

  1. Carrasco, G. (2022, July 1). Best Teeth Whitening Options in San Diego: What You Should Know. Blyss Dental San Diego. https://blyssdental.com/best-teeth-whitening-in-san-diego/
  2. Carrasco, G. (2022b, November 18). How Long Does Teeth Whitening Last? Dentist Compares Which Method Lasts the Longest. Blyss Dental San Diego. https://blyssdental.com/how-long-does-teeth-whitening-last-dentist-compares-which-method-lasts-the-longest/
  3. Basting RT, Amaral FL, França FM, Flório FM. Clinical comparative study of the effectiveness of and tooth sensitivity to 10% and 20% carbamide peroxide home-use and 35% and 38% hydrogen peroxide in-office bleaching materials containing desensitizing agents. Oper Dent. 2012 Sep-Oct;37(5):464-73. doi: 10.2341/11-337-C. Epub 2012 May 18. PMID: 22616927
  4. Fiorillo L, Laino L, De Stefano R, D’Amico C, Bocchieri S, Amoroso G, Isola G, Cervino G. Dental Whitening Gels: Strengths and Weaknesses of an Increasingly Used Method. Gels. 2019 Jul 4;5(3):35. doi: 10.3390/gels5030035. PMID: 31277412; PMCID: PMC6787621.