Teeth whitening has become an increasingly popular cosmetic dental procedure over the past few decades. A bright, white smile is associated with beauty, health, and youth. While over-the-counter whitening strips and toothpastes can provide some improvement, professional in-office whitening treatments performed by dentists provide the most dramatic results. However, these professional treatments can be expensive, leaving many to wonder – is teeth whitening covered by insurance?
Unfortunately, the answer is usually no. Teeth whitening is considered a cosmetic procedure rather than a medical necessity by most insurance providers in the USA. While insurance often covers traditional dental procedures like fillings, cleanings, x-rays, and crowns, cosmetic treatments like teeth whitening and veneers are typically not covered.
There are a few exceptions. If tooth discoloration is due to medical reasons or a developmental condition, some insurance plans may provide partial or full coverage for whitening treatments. For example, teeth stained from tetracycline antibiotics as a child or dental fluorosis may be eligible. Some dental insurance plans also include a small annual allowance that can be put toward teeth whitening services.
For most people though, the bulk of the cost of professional whitening will be out-of-pocket. On average, in-office treatments from a dentist range from $500-$1,000. More intensive options under the supervision of a dentist, like laser whitening, run as high as $2,000 per treatment.
At home whitening kits provided by dentists tend to be less expensive, between $200-$400 on average, with custom-fitted trays and professional strength whitening gel. However, results take longer with at-home kits, sometimes requiring several weeks of daily use as opposed to a single in-office appointment.
There are other options to reduce the costs of teeth whitening. Over-the-counter strips or brush on whitening products from pharmacies and retailers can provide moderate whitening for $30-$100. Dental schools may offer supervised whitening by students at discounted rates. Whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes are another inexpensive way to make some gradual improvement in tooth shade.
As teeth whitening falls mostly outside the realm of insurance coverage, those with a strong desire for a brighter and whiter smile do have treatment options at various price points. Talking to your dentist can help determine the most effective whitening method that fits your dental needs and budget. Consistent dental visits and good oral hygiene habits remain the key to maintaining a healthy, youthful smile over time.
Teeth cleaning and teeth whitening are two different procedures with different goals. Teeth cleaning is a preventive dental procedure that removes plaque and tartar from the surface of the teeth. Teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure that removes stains and discoloration from the teeth.
Teeth cleaning is typically performed by a dentist or hygienist every six months. The procedure involves using a scaler to remove plaque and tartar from the teeth. Plaque is a sticky film that forms on the teeth and contains bacteria. Tartar is hardened plaque that can only be removed by a dental professional.
Teeth cleaning is important for maintaining good oral health. Plaque and tartar can build up on the teeth and cause cavities and gum disease. Teeth cleaning helps to remove plaque and tartar and prevent these problems from developing.
Teeth whitening can be performed at home or at a dental office. There are a number of different teeth whitening products available, including over-the-counter whitening strips, gels, and toothpastes. There are also professional teeth whitening treatments that can be performed by a dentist.
Professional teeth whitening treatments are the most effective way to whiten teeth. However, they can also be the most expensive. Over-the-counter teeth whitening products are less expensive than professional treatments, but they may not be as effective.