Teeth whitening near me - how do I know if it's good?

You want professional teeth whitening, but how do you know it's any good and if you're paying a fair price? We unpack what you need for your pearly whites.

Ah, teeth whitening. It seems like a simple wish. But when you unpack the options at various dentists and see the range of price tags, it's enough to blanche at. 

While most dentists offer professional teeth whitening of some kind, not all whitening is the same. They vary in their effectiveness, their comfort for you, and, of course, the cost. If you chat with several dentists about the same whitening procedure you might get three very different quotes.

So how are you supposed to know what type of whitening is right for you and, just as important, what is a fair price to pay? These are great questions to ask as you weigh your options and decide the right strategy to whiten your teeth now, and keep them sparkling. Make the wrong choice and you might be out hundreds of dollars with teeth that look the same but feel more sensitive to cold drinks or sweets.

Let's unpack what you need to know in the multi-billion dollar teeth whitening industry so you can get results that make your smile, and your wallet, happy.

Here's what we'll cover: 

Zoom whitening, is it worth the hype? 
Hydrogen peroxide teeth whitening 
Carbamide peroxide teeth whitening
Charcoal toothpaste for whitening
Comparing costs of whitening
Our clinician's top choice for results and your wallet

Let's get into it 🚀

Zoom whitening, is it worth the hype?

Most patients have heard of "Zoom whitening." It's a branded LED whitening that is done in your dentist office using high-powered LED. With Zoom and all other LED whitening, the light activates teeth whitening agents like carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. 

Your dentist will place whitening agents on your teeth and then shine LED lights to heat the agents to speed up the whitening process. 💥 Myth bust: the light itself does not change the color of your teeth (check out these many studies proving it).

After a single-session whitening at the dentist, which takes 60 minutes or more, your teeth are as white as they will be. As soon as you walk out the door your teeth will start to "fade" back to their natural shade. Sort of like driving a new car off the sales lot. 

"Many offices offer LED whitening because the immediate result is paper white teeth, which patients love," shares Wally dentist, Kevin Walker, DDS. "However, the teeth can experience sensitivity because of the intensity of the whitening agent used. And to the dismay of patients you can't maintain those results permanently.  In order to keep the paper white look, patients typically get in-office LED whitening every 6-12 months."

Hydrogen peroxide teeth whitening

If you want something quick and easy to get, hydrogen peroxide is the whitening agent used in most over-the-counter whitening products, like whitening strips. Hydrogen peroxide acts quickly and breaks down fast - which means it's only useful for 15-20 minutes of wearing. 

"While it acts fast, it's also responsible for more enamel dehydration and sensitivity," shares Wally hygienist, Sarah Clark, RDH. "It’s also usually an acidic product which can create an imbalance in the oral environment over time. For patients with highly acidic saliva or dry mouth, whitening with hydrogen peroxide can add to the problem, raising the risk of sensitivity, enamel erosion, or even tooth decay." 

Carbamide peroxide teeth whitening 

The other at-home whitening agent is carbamide peroxide. This is most often used with custom trays. You'll purchase syringes of carbamide peroxide (the % of carbamide will depend on your clinician's recommendation), place a small amount in your custom trays and wear them for several hours or overnight. 

Carbamide peroxide is a slower working than hydrogen peroxide and it's also more gentle on your enamel. It's great if you have sensitivity teeth, and because you can wear it longer it's the best at whitening stubborn stains. "It also naturally raises the pH of your mouth which helps keep your saliva neutral and gentle on your enamel," shares Sarah Clark, RDH. 

Charcoal toothpaste - and why to avoid it

Charcoal toothpaste doesn't whiten, it removes surface stains by being abrasive and scrubbing the surface of your teeth. While that might sound pretty good, the bad news is it's also scraping away the surface of your enamel:

"Activated charcoal-based toothpastes work by scraping stains from your enamel. However, it's extremely abrasive and it also scratches your enamel creating unwanted microscopic grooves where bacteria can get trapped," explains Sarah Clark, RDH. "Those bacteria feast on your food, give off acids, and create more stains on your teeth while also compromising your enamel."

Over time using charcoal-based toothpaste could actually have the opposite effect and turn your teeth yellow. That's because scraping the tooth weakens your enamel. Thin enamel allows the yellow, inside layer of your tooth (the dentin) to show through. 

And our hygienists caution us to stay away from powdered charcoal in toothpastes and gum powders. It is not only abrasive, the tiny powder particles get caught under the gums which leads to irritation and inflammation of the gums.

Teeth whitening cost comparison

Now that you know what's behind each of these whitening options, let's unpack how much they'll cost you.

Teeth whitening in office cost

The price of in-office whitening ranges from $300 - $600 per session. And if you go with this option, block off 60 - 90 minutes for the appointment… and bring your headphones and a podcast. The in-office session takes a while, sometimes up to 2 hours, to complete. Because the treatment begins to fade right away, most patients look to get their teeth whitening two or three times per year. 

  • Annual cost: $600 - $1200

Over the counter teeth whitening

Safe, over the counter whitening which uses hydrogen peroxide will cost roughly $70 per treatment

  • Annual cost: $150 - $210
Teeth whitening from home with custom trays

Your dentist will take impressions of your teeth and print a tray specific to your teeth. Then you can purchase carbamide peroxide gels to use at home (dentists typically charge $25 per syringe)

  • Annual cost: $600 - $800
Whitening with Wally

Our clinicians' choice is custom trays with custom formulated carbamide peroxide gel because it's (a) effective, (b) comfortable, and (c) the shade is controllable. That's why we include it in our annual membership

  • Annual cost: Included in your $199 a year membership along with unlimited dental cleanings, exams, and x-rays.

How to get good teeth whitening, for a great price.

At the end of the day, our clinicians stand behind teeth whitening using custom trays and custom formulated carbamide peroxide gel. It is most effective at whitening, safe for your teeth, and the custom formulation helps avoid tooth sensitivity to make it super comfortable for you. Because hey, if you don't like wearing those trays the gel just won't work. 

That's why Wally's membership included unlimited refills of your custom carbamide peroxide gels. We want our members to have a smile that they're proud to flash which is why we take the guesswork of "how much will it cost to whiten my teeth?"

It's part of our approach to make it easy and affordable to have a healthy, happy smile. Our simple membership gets you unlimited dental cleanings and whitenings for $199 a year. Check out more details about our membership,

Our first studio in NYC is selectively taking members, and we're planning to open across the US this year and beyond. Come join the revolution.






Thank You!
Oops, please try again.