Does Insurance Cover Teeth Whitening? (2024)

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Teeth whitening is a frequently requested dental procedure that can transform your smile with brighter, whiter teeth.

There are several types of teeth whitening (at-home vs. professional), which vary by cost and effectiveness. But if you’re interested in teeth whitening, you may have to pay for the procedure yourself since many dental insurance plans exclude teeth whitening in their coverage.

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Does Dental Insurance Cover Teeth Whitening?

Most dental insurance plans don’t cover teeth whitening. We found a handful of dental insurance companies with teeth whitening coverage, though policies may come with a waiting period for teeth whitening.

Dental insurance plans that cover teeth whitening

CompanyDental insurance plan namePlan cost per month% reimbursem*nt for teeth whiteningWaiting period for teeth whitening
AmeritasPrimeStar Access$50Immediately (in-network): 20%

Immediately (out-of-network): 10%

After one year (in-network):50%

After one year (out-of-network): 30%

AnthemEssential Choice PPO Platinum$79.4950%3 months
Delta DentalDelta Dental PPO Individual - Premium Plan$64.9280%6 months
Guardian DirectDiamond$58.4050%6 months
Monthly costs are based on a 30-year-old female in California. Costs are for comparison only among plans; your own cost will likely be different.

How Much Does Teeth Whitening Cost With Insurance?

The cost of teeth whitening with insurance depends on how much the dental plan reimburses for the service. Here are examples of teeth whitening costs with insurance.

  • The Delta Dental PPO plan covers teeth whitening at 80% after a six-month waiting period. If your cost for whitening is $600, this Delta Dental plan would cover $480 and you would pay the remaining $120.
  • The Guardian Direct Diamond plan reimburses at 50% for teeth whitening after a six-month waiting period. If your procedure costs $600, you would pay $300 and the dental plan would pick up the other half.
  • The Ameritas PrimeStar Access plan pays 20% for in-network teeth whitening care in the first year and 10% if you go outside your provider network. For a $600 whitening procedure, you would pay $480 to go in-network and $540 to go out-of-network.

Related: How Much Does Dental Insurance Cost?

How Much Does Teeth Whitening Cost Without Insurance?

The average cost of in-office teeth whitening is $293 per arch (external whitening on the top or bottom teeth), according to the American Dental Association (ADA). That means it costs around $600 to have your full sets of top and bottom teeth professionally whitened.

The cost is much more expensive if you need internal bleaching. On average, internal teeth whitening costs $272 per tooth. So if you needed internal whitening on the eight top teeth that show when you smile, it could cost you more than $2,100.

Is There Supplemental Dental Insurance for Teeth Whitening?

If your dental insurance doesn’t cover teeth whitening, you likely won’t find a supplemental dental insurance plan that specifically covers whitening or cosmetic services. The only way to get supplemental dental insurance for whitening would be to purchase a second dental insurance plan that includes coverage for whitening.

Getting supplemental dental insurance can be beneficial if your primary plan excludes certain services (like whitening) or if you’ve reached your annual out-of-pocket maximum. But it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of dual coverage. A second dental plan raises your overall premium, and you don’t get double the benefits.

Teeth Whitening Options Without Insurance

If you don’t have dental insurance, at-home whitening can be a good alternative and potentially a more affordable option. There are several ways to whiten your teeth at home:

  • Custom whitening trays: Many dentists provide custom whitening trays, in which they take an impression of your teeth and send you home with a hydrogen peroxide whitening gel. You wear the trays with the gel for several hours per day over the course of a few weeks. On average, custom whitening trays cost $243 per arch, which includes the cost of the trays and the whitening gel.
  • Teeth whitening strips: Whitening strips that you can buy at the drugstore are a convenient and cost-effective way to whiten your teeth at home. These kits are much less expensive than custom whitening trays, and they may produce good results with consistent use.
  • Teeth whitening toothpaste and pens: Teeth whitening toothpastes and pens are marketed as an easy way to add whitening to your daily oral health routine. But don’t expect these whitening methods to work as effectively as professional whitening or custom trays. Whitening toothpastes and pens are generally only good for removing surface stains, which means you may not achieve a significantly brighter smile.
  • DIY whitening methods: You might be able to whiten your teeth using products you already have at home, like baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, but dentists advise that these methods are not scientifically proven and can cause tooth sensitivity. Before you whiten your teeth with a household product, it’s a good idea to ask your dentist if it’s safe.

How Long Does Teeth Whitening Last?

In-office professional teeth whitening will last about one year. The length of time that teeth whitening lasts depends on the bleaching method.

Don’t expect a single in-office teeth whitening session or one whitening strip kit to produce permanent results. If you have severe staining, you probably need multiple whitening treatments to get your desired results.

Everyone’s teeth are different, so it’s difficult to say exactly how long a certain whitening treatment will last. Your lifestyle also impacts the length of results. For example, your teeth may not stay white for as long if you drink soda, coffee, tea or red wine, or if you smoke.

How long does teeth whitening last?

Type of treatmentHow long do results last?
Professional whiteningOne year
Custom whitening traysSix months to one year
Whitening stripsSix months
Whitening toothpastesThree to four months (with consistent use)
Whitening pensUp to one week

Is Zoom Teeth Whitening Covered by Insurance?

Dental insurance plans typically don’t cover Zoom Whitening—a process that uses light and bleach gel to whiten teeth.

Check your plan details to see if your dental insurance covers Zoom Whitening and if there’s a waiting period.

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Does Insurance Cover Teeth Whitening? (2024)


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