$99 teeth whitening near me, what's the catch?

There are countless "new dental patient deals" or "discount whitening" offers out there. Before you book, read on to learn how you can find the catch in these deals.

Hold up. Why DO dentists advertise new patient deals or discount whitening for their practice? 

It's not because they have extra appointment spots they want to fill, or a stash of whitening materials they need to offload quickly. They use it to entice you, get you into their office, and establish you as a patient in their practice. 

In some cases, this is an excellent use of marketing to help patients find their favorite new dentist that they might stay with for years. However, if those offers are coming from a dental services organization (think corporate dentistry run by private equity MBAs) or from a dentist whose intentions are not patient centric, those deals are actually bait to bring you in and then upsell you on a bunch of services you may not need, and definitely don't want.

There is a reason that dentists use cheap teeth whitening as a way to get you in your office. Americans spend billions of dollars every year on getting their teeth to the exact shade that they want, and dentists know that this is a hot item. Savvy dentists, no matter their intentions, know that cheap whitening is a way to get your attention.

With the price of professional whitening generally starting at $200 and going up to $750+ per session in NYC, it's no wonder that people get drawn into these cheap whitening deals. 

So if you're looking for whiter teeth, but don't want a lighter wallet, here's your guide to navigating the world of new patient deals, $99 whitening, and other offers so that you don't leave with a bad taste in your mouth.

Teeth whitening dentist near me - read the fine print

If you're searching for deals, make sure to read the fine print about the deal. One thing to look out for is if there are any "surprise" fees or bills. For example, a dentist might require that you do a new patient exam before you get the whitening (new patient exams can cost hundreds of dollars in some areas). 

You'll also want to watch out for consultation caveats in the deal. This could mean the dentist will evaluate you for the whitening, but if they don't feel your mouth is ready for whitening they will require you to do something (e.g. get a filling, get a cleaning, etc.) before they proceed with the whitening. 

If there's anything confusing or complex in the fine print, that might be a leading indicator that there's something sketchy about the deal. At that point you can call the office and ask them to clarify what the process is for whitening and if there are any restrictions on the advertised deal.

Teeth whitening Groupon - do these at-home solutions work?

A quick search on Groupon for teeth whitening may return a few local dentists running deals, and a slew of at-home whitening products. Some of the things you might see include:

  • At-home LED whitening
  • Whitening strips
  • Charcoal-based whitening products

How do you know if these solutions are a steal, or a scam? Our clinicians tackle each of these one at a time:

  • 🚨 Scam Alert 🚨 At-home LED whitening: In general, at-home LED whitening is a light that doesn't do much but shine a blue light on your teeth. The lights in at-home LED kits aren't  aren't strong enough to heat the whitening agent to a temperature that will speed up the process. 
  • Whitening strips: High quality whitening strips are an excellent option to whiten your teeth. Just make sure it's a peroxide-based formula. This formulation is gentle enough you won't harm your enamel, and strong enough that you should see some results!
  • 🚨 Scam alert 🚨 Charcoal-based whitening products: The Journal of the American Dental Association published that there isn't evidence that charcoal whitens teeth. And several studies show that activated-charcoal-based toothpastes were actually ineffective at changing of the color of the teeth. It simply just doesn't work.

Teeth whitening dentist price - what is it normally?

Before we get into the pricing, let's talk about the two types of professional whitening that dentists usually offer:

  • In-office whitening
  • Custom-made trays

In-office whitening includes services like Philips Zoom Whitening, Pola White, Kor, and Opalescence. All of these brands are effective at whitening your teeth.

Custom-made trays are made from a mold or 3D scan of your teeth. They will look similar to clear retainers but the material is extremely flexible. You'll place a whitening agent gel in the trays and wear them at home. One "session" requires multiple syringes of the gel to help you reach your goal.

Depending on which dentist you go to. Prices can vary.

Professional whitening comparison in NYC
A handy dandy chart to compare professional whitening

Here's a quick chart to help you compare the differences (and price) of different dentist whitening options.

Of course, you want to make sure you pick a whitening option that's healthy for your teeth. If you're interested in more information on how to determine the safety of whitening, read our piece on how you evaluate if teeth whitening near you is good, and if it will work for your smile and your budget.

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