What To Know About Types of Teeth Whitening

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 Types of Teeth Whitening

Dental discoloration is common and caused by many factors, including certain food and beverages, smoking, poor oral hygiene, and even age. Fortunately, you have a wide variety of teeth whitening options available to restore the natural radiance of your teeth. If you want a bright new smile but you’re not sure which treatment is right for you, here’s a brief guide on the different types of teeth whitening.

Whitening toothpaste

Whitening toothpastes have a mildly abrasive effect to scrub surface stains from your teeth, and many brands promise to lighten teeth by a shade. Results can take up to several weeks, and while whitening toothpaste is the most cost-effective option, it’s best for teeth with only mild discoloration.

Whitening strips

At-home tooth-whitening strips are thin pieces of plastic coated in peroxide, which essentially bleaches the surface of your teeth. You’ll need to wear them for about a half hour every day for two weeks, and the results can last a few months. Whitening strips typically cost up to $50 for a two-week set.

Pre-made whitening trays

Whitening trays are meant to be worn for an extended period of time, sometimes overnight, and utilize peroxide gel for results similar to whitening strips. However, the trays are pre-made and not customized to your mouth, and some people complain about the discomfort of an awkward fit. At-home whitening trays usually cost between $50-$100.

Professional take-home kits

Whitening kits prescribed by dentists are much more effective than over-the-counter versions, offering dramatic results at a still-affordable price. Custom-made whitening trays will fit comfortably in your mouth, utilizing whitening gel that is stronger than the over-the-counter version. Results usually take one to two weeks, and the cost is around $150-$200 per kit.

Professional in-office whitening

In-office services offered by teeth whitening dentists offer the most dramatic and lasting results. The whitening gel used in-office is stronger than take-home kits, and many dentists also offer the additional advantage of lasers or special high-power lights to achieve optimal whitening. In-office teeth-whitening treatments may include:

    • BriteSmile: Uses peroxide gels at concentrations of 15-25%, along with glycerin and water to minimize tooth dehydration. Gels are applied for three 20-minute intervals, during which teeth are illuminated by a blue lighting system. Cost can be up to $600.
    • Opalescence Boost: Uses a more viscous gel to stick to teeth better, with a 38% peroxide solution blended with potassium nitrate and fluoride to reduce sensitivity and strengthen enamel. No special light activator is required. The treatment lasts from one to two hours and costs up to $500.
  • Zoom: Uses a 25% peroxide gel applied at three 15-minute intervals along with a chairside lamp, followed by a sensitivity-reducing fluoride paste. An at-home touch-up kit with customized trays will be needed to maintain whitened teeth, and the whole treatment costs up to $500.


If you have severely stained teeth that don’t seem to respond to professional teeth whitening treatments, dental veneers may help you get the bright white smile you’re looking for. Dental veneers are fitted over the fronts of teeth, allowing you to hide stains or surface damage with natural-looking results. Multiple visits may be required, and the cost can range from $700-$1,000 per tooth.

Ready to brighten up your smile?

If you want the best teeth whitening in San Diego at an affordable price, San Diego Dental Specialty Center can help. We’ll customize a treatment plan designed to provide excellent results that will brighten your smile after just one treatment. Give us a call at (619) 263-6683 or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation today.