Zoom whitening cost versus other professional teeth whitening

Thinking about professional teeth whitening? It's a great way to make your smile look brilliant! But it might not look as smart on your budget.

Professional teeth whitening is one of the most most requested services from a dentist. Because it's considered cosmetic, your insurance (if you're lucky to have it) will likely cover none of the cost of professional whitening. And if you are one of the millions who don't have dental insurance, you'll for sure be pulling out the credit card at your dentist. 

Before you shell out hundreds for professional whitening, let's unpack the different types of professional whitening that are out there, and how to pick the right whitening method for your mouth and wallet. 

There are two types of professional whitening:

  • In-Office whitening
  • Custom-made trays

In-office whitening brands include the famous Philips Zoom Whitening, Pola White, Kor, and Opalescence. Each dentist makes a call on which in-office whitening brand they want to go with. All of them are equally effective.

Dentists might also offer custom-made trays that you take home and use with whitening gel. The trays are usually made of clear plastic material that's formed after getting a mold taken of your teeth.

Let's look at a few factors that can help you decide which professional whitening path to pursue.

Teeth whitening cost in NYC - should it be this expensive?

If you get quotes from a few dentists on their professional whitening, you'll probably find a range of prices for the same service. And if you compare between in-office and at-home, there's an even larger price band! We decided to do our own research on this topic.

We called a bunch of dentists around NYC and checked a few official sources and found that most dentists will charge something like this for whitening:

  • In-office whitening - $400 - $600 per session
  • Custom-made trays - $200 - $450 per refill

Did you notice the "session" and "refill" caveats? To keep your teeth at the desired shade you'll need two or more sessions during the year. If you go the in-office route you can easily shell out $1k or more each year to keep your teeth brilliant. Not to mention that you'll spend at least 3 hours sitting in the chair while your dentist does the in-office treatment. That means lots of hundos and lots of hours spent with your dentist. Hopefully you like your doctor 😀

Alternatively, custom-made trays are more affordable to get started with and you can always find more affordable refills outside your dentist to keep your desired shade and stay within your budget.

📖 Read on to get more details about the cost of teeth whitening in NYC and how to find the best bang for your buck.

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

If you Google whitening deals or check Groupon, you'll find dozens of "new patient deals" and "discount" whitening offers. On the surface it seems like a good deal - $99 whitening or even free whitening!

Before you jump on the deal read the fine print. There can be surprise fees and hidden bills associated with the free whitening. A few examples:

  • The dentist makes you finish a new patient exam before you can get the whitening, and the new patient exam can set you back hundreds of dollars.
  • Consultations caveats - the dentist will first evaluate if you are a candidate for the whitening, but if they find anything wrong (cavity, gingivitis, gum disease, restoration needs) then they will give you a treatment plan to finish those pricey procedures before getting your "free" whitening.
  • Generally confusing language. This could be a leading indicator that the dentist is just trying to get you in the office and will slap you with an upsell or hidden fees before you can get your teeth whitening.

What's going on? Well, unfortunately there are lots of dentists out there who use enticing offers like this as a lead to bait you into the practice and then upsell you on a bunch of services you may not need, and definitely don't want. The truth is the traditional dentist experience isn't patient-centric - it's profit-centered and is skewed for maximizing insurance reimbursement.

📖 Get all the intel and get smart on how to tell a good deal from a crappy deal.

Whitening trays guide

Let's say you forego the new patient or whitening deals and decide to go with the more affordable option: custom-whitening trays. In addition to being more affordable, there are a few more benefits you get with custom at-home whitening:

  • Longevity of brightness - Once you get your teeth to your target shade, you'll be able to maintain that shade for much longer. After an in-office treatment your teeth begin to lose their luster immediately after leaving the appointment, and the only way to get their brightness back is to book another session. With custom at-home trays you can continue to touch up your shade as often as you'd like to maintain that brilliance for much longer.
  • Comfort - If sitting in a dentist chair for hours on end with your mouth open sounds comfortable, then in-office whitening will be lovely for you. For the rest of us, being able to sit at home reading a book, watching Netflix, or sleeping while our teeth whiten is much more ideal. Plus there's no sensitivity with at-home whitening when the gel is custom-formulated to your needs.
  • Safety - The pH of your saliva is a key factor in your oral health. If your saliva is acidic it starts to break down the enamel in your teeth. In-office whitening increases the acidity of your saliva, not great for tooth health. At-home whitening gel is formulated so its safe for your enamel and for the health of your teeth.

📖 Read more on how whitening trays work and if they might be a great option for your teeth.

Professional teeth whitening cost near me for sensitive teeth

Tooth sensitivity is no joke. For those of us with tooth sensitivity, teeth whitening seems like a dream that will never come true.

"For patients with sensitive teeth, I strongly recommend custom trays and gel to use at home," explains Wally hygienist, Sarah Clark, RDH.

"Patients like the idea of their teeth becoming immediately whiter with in-studio sessions, but those sessions leave teeth extremely sensitive, and if you already experience tooth sensitivity then in-person whitening might feel incredibly painful."

Carbamide peroxide gel is a great option if you have tooth sensitivity. It's extremely effective at whitening your teeth, and because your clinician can customize the formula you can reduce the sensitivity so that it's comfortable to wear the gel for the recommended length.

The key with at-home whitening trays is to be consistent and wear them as directed. Carbamide peroxide only releases 50% of its whitening power in the first two hours and can remain active for another six hours. That's why wearing your trays as directed, between one and eight hours depending on the strength, allows you to get the maximum results from the gel. And if you have sensitive teeth, your dentist can adjust the strength so you can wear them for longer without feeling the sensitivity.

"Adjusting the power of my whitening gel has been so much easier on my teeth," shares one Wally member. "And what's amazing is I saw lasting results in less than a week after the first use. There was this spot I was always self-conscious about on one of my front teeth, and it's been gone since I started using my whitening trays."

📖 Got sensitive teeth? Learn more about how you can whiten your teeth without feeling the burn.

Here's a handy comparison chart

We know, there is a ton of information to digest and consider when it comes to professional whitening. That's why we created this handy cheat sheet for you to help you make your decision on whether to get professional whitening, and which type is right for you.

Are you in NYC and looking for affordable, professional teeth whitening? Check out our membership that includes unlimited dental cleanings AND professional whitening, all for only $199 / year.

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