Teeth Whitening Costs in Australia – What Can I expect?

It’s frustrating: you want to get your teeth whitened but you’re not sure which method to go with. You don’t have extra money lying around. Who does? But you need to figure out the costs involved with each teeth whitening method before you go much further. Every place you turn to seems to be saying they are the cheapest in your area but not giving you a price. Worse yet, just to get a price quote, most places make you cough up your email address, phone number or something before they tell you how much it’s going to be.

Frustrating, isn’t it?

We’ve got your back. We’ve taken a look at the costs involved with the most popular teeth whitening procedures in the Australian market. Buckle in and we’ll show you all the details you’ll ever need on teeth whitening costs in three, two, one…


Making An Informed Choice

The teeth whitening sector is a significant and growing part of Australia’s $1.5 billion dental industry. Unfortunately, too many people in this economy are going about it the wrong way — they’re putting off regular dental checkups and treatments in order to save a few bucks. Then, down the road, they see the damage it’s caused and try to quick-fix things by getting their teeth whitened.

Don’t do that. Brush and floss regularly. See your dentist regularly. Avoid food and drinks that contribute to staining your teeth.

That being said, if you’re still in the market for a bit of whitening, you’ll need to understand two major things. First, it’s not magic. You can’t have spent the past 20, 30, 40 years or more neglecting your teeth and expect a few swipes with some whitening toothpaste to bring you chompers back to baby-white brightness. It’s just not possible. While some methods will likely improve your teeth greatly, you can’t get massive effects without something equally large from your end.

And that’s the second part — super-effective teeth whitening costs money. You know that, but there’s something more going on here than just money.

Contractor’s Triangle

Perhaps you’ve seen the sign in a mechanic’s or woodworker’s shop. It’s a triangle with the words ‘fast’, ‘cheap’ and ‘good’ printed on each side of the triangle. Either on the top or the bottom of the triangle is a phrase similar to ‘Pick two’.

The idea is this — whatever it is you’re getting you can get it cheap and fast, but it’s not going to be good. You can get it good and fast, but it’s not going to be cheap. Or you can get it cheap and good, but it’s not going to be fast.

Teeth whitening is very similar: you can get good results quickly but you’re going to pay a lot for it. You can spend less money, but the results will take more time and subsequently will be less dramatic. It’s really that simple.


Teeth Whitening Costs

All right, here it is, the nitty gritty on teeth whitening costs, from the cheapest to the most expensive you’re likely to find. Don’t worry, we’ll also show you some popular choices as well as the effectiveness of the different options.

Natural Teeth Whitening

  • How long it takes: Varies, but results typically appear within a few months.
  • How long it lasts: As long as you continue.
  • Costs: as little as a few dollars, but it requires constant upkeep.

Natural methods of whitening teeth include brushing with activated charcoal, oil pulling, brushing your teeth with strawberries, using turmeric or baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, as well as a handful of other methods. The effects are difficult to measure as they are performed at home and are usually not measured scientifically. Since the methods are often cooked up at home, the costs can be 10 dollars a month or less, depending on what you choose to do.

However, dentists caution that most natural methods simply take care of the surface stains. The deep-down stains are reportedly not affected by natural methods.

Popular choices:

  • Activated charcoal
  • Coconut oil
  • Baking soda

Whitening Toothpaste and Whitening Strips

  • How long it takes: a few weeks for paste, 10 minutes up to an hour daily for strips, up to two or three weeks, depending on manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • How long it lasts: varies mostly depending on eating habits.
  • Costs: about the same as a fancy cup of coffee for paste, about 5 cups of fancy coffee for strips.

Although these two methods are separate, they are somewhat related: they both are done at the individual’s convenience, they both are easily available in pharmacies, stores or online and they both provide limited results.

Whitening toothpaste has been tested and shown to be somewhat effective on surface stains over time, but it isn’t going to be a dramatic effect. Which is fine as long as you’re not looking for or feel you need anything dramatic. Most manufacturers recommend you use it for a few weeks to see the benefits.

Whitening strips will have faster results than whitening toothpaste, but the effects will be shorter lived than more expensive methods and could be uneven if you aren’t careful with the placement of the strips.

Here’s a quick video about using Crest 3D White Strips:

Popular choices:

  • Pearl Drops Glam White
  • White Glo Professional Choice
  • CleverWhite Advanced Whitening Strips
  • Oral-B 3D White Lux
  • Crest 3D White

At-Home Teeth Whitening Kits

  • How long it takes: 30 minutes–8 hours.
  • How long it lasts: 3–12 months.
  • Cost: About the same as a dinner for four at a mid-range restaurant.

At-home teeth whitening kits seem to be in the sweet-spot for the consumer: not incredibly expensive but far more effective than toothpaste, strips or natural methods. While at-home kits won’t provide as dramatic results as the in-office choices, they do work well.

The standard kit has trays that will roughly fit your teeth and whitening gel that goes into the trays. Some will also have a sort of de-sensitizing gel that you use first to help insure your teeth don’t hurt too much during or after the treatment. Also, most kits available these days come with a special LED to increase effectiveness.

One thing to keep in mind when shopping is the amount of gel the kit provides. Although prices may be similar, a kit with double the gel as the alternative could be a better choice. Also, keep an eye on the percentages of the whitening agent (older video explaining the laws: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CQuEJsCvUw ). The higher the percentage of hydrogen peroxide in the gel, the whiter it’s going to get your chompers.

Popular Choices:

  • Brighter White
  • Perfect Whitening
  • GoGo Smile

Custom-Fitted Trays

This is just a quick qualifier to the at-home teeth whitening kits. Most of them have generic trays that may or may not fit your teeth perfectly, or even well. An alternative is to get custom-fitted trays. Over-the-counter products or companies will achieve this by two ways: having a mold you heat in boiling water then chomp down on to mold it to your teeth, or having a soft putty-like tray you bite on then send in to the company to have them make custom molds for your teeth.

As you can imagine, the first choice is cheaper and of course faster. The second choice is more expensive and takes more time but will result in a better fit.

There is a third choice — custom-fitted trays made at the dentist’s office, which is what we’re going to discuss right now.

Professional Level At-home Whitening Kit

  • How long it takes: 30 minutes–8 hours per day for up to two weeks.
  • How long it lasts: 3–12 months.
  • Cost: About the same as a dinner for four at a mid-range restaurant.

At first blush, the tray kits you find in the pharmacy or supermarket look surprisingly similar to the ones you can get at the dentist except for one thing — the price. The dentist versions are far more expensive. Before you walk away clutching your pocketbook, take a closer look at what you’re getting from both places. There are some very clear differences.

The percentage of bleaching agents used in teeth whitening kits is regulated by law. Just like other forms of medicine, what you can get over-the-counter is not going to be as strong as what a doctor can prescribe to you. The doctor-prescribed teeth whitening kits have a much stronger dose of the stuff that makes your teeth whiter than anything you can find in the pharmacy.

But the cost difference doesn’t end there. Many whitening kits available at the dentist’s office come with trays that are custom-fitted to your teeth. Why does this matter? A better fit means less whitening gel used in the tray, less discomfort and less chance of the gel leaking into your mouth from the tray.

Yes, you’ll pay more for what the dentist has on offer and it will take longer to get — no last minute, late-night teeth whitening before a big event. But like most options, the trays can be reused again and again, providing you with a solid choice the next time you want to whiten your teeth.

Zoom Teeth Whitening

  • How long it takes: 1.5 hours.
  • How long it lasts: Up to three years.
  • Cost: $500–$2000 (depends on where it is done and any discounts applied).

Philips’ Zoom Teeth Whitening system is a popular choice these days for a variety of reasons, not least of which is it really works. Widely available, the prices have continued to drop as the popularity has increased.

But why is it so popular? I mean, it’s a lot of money and it can really hurt.

Simply because, as we mentioned before, it works and works well. The effects can last up to 3 years depending on the person’s diet and willingness to keep up on their brushing and dental visits. Yes, the costs can be great, but by going to lower-priced locations and forgoing at-home whitening kits with custom-fitted trays and other niceties, the cost can be pared down.

Some people have reported feeling a lot of pain from the Zoom procedure. However, as evidenced in this video: https://youtu.be/HBxzF-S_iDI by planning ahead and using sensitivity reducing toothpaste, you can do a lot to mitigate the effects of the pain from the Zoom procedure.

Smartbleach 3LT

  • How long it takes: about one hour.
  • How long it lasts: three to five years.
  • Cost: $1000 or so (depends on where it is done and any discounts applied).

Smartbleach 3LT is a newer treatment that is getting rave reviews. It is often more expensive than some of the deep discounts you can find on the Zoom therapy, but there are some benefits that need to be examined.

First up, Smartbleach 3LT does not use a laser to activate the whitening gel. Why is this important? Lasers can heat up the tooth enamel and the living pulp inside the tooth, potentially causing damage and pain. Smartbleach’s 3LT light only activates the whitening gel itself, resulting in less chance for pain or tooth damage.

Secondly, the Smartbleach 3LT is able to whiten many kinds of staining on teeth. Other systems won’t affect medically stained teeth or damaged teeth. The 3LT system does.

Lastly, it can last much longer than other teeth whitening procedures. This, of course, will depend on the individual’s lifestyle: go back to smoking and drinking lots of coffee and red wine and it won’t. But in moderation and with good brushing habits, Smartbleach 3LT will get you further than many other teeth whitening choices. One caveat: Smartbleach 3LT is best for milder stains. Those with severe staining will likely need stronger procedures.

Smartbleach KTP

  • How long it takes: 1.5 hours.
  • How long it lasts: Up to five years.
  • Cost: Depends on how many teeth are treated, but up to around $2000.

Another Smartbleach system? That costs even more? What’s the point?

The point is this: Smartbleach KTP is strongest and most effective on this list. If your teeth are lightly stained, your dentist will likely lead you towards the 3LT system. However, if you’ve got serious staining, or you’ve got one tooth that’s much darker than the others due to an injury, you’re likely better off with the KTP option.

See, Smartbleach KTP has the ability to target and whiten individual teeth. This is a godsend to people who somehow damaged one tooth in the front of their smile. Sometimes, the living pulp can get damaged, allowing blood to seep into the enamel of the tooth, darkening it. Until the KTP procedure, there was little that could be done without a lot of drilling.

But don’t think it’s just for people with that one tooth. The Smartbleach KTP system is highly effective on seriously stained teeth. Yes, it costs more, but one time in the chair is going to cost less than multiple attempts with less effective methods.

And it regularly lasts up to five years. Which is a long time in the world of teeth whitening.


Final Words

Whichever method you choose to go with, make sure you discuss it with your regular dentist. They will likely have an opinion one way or another or favor one treatment over another. But nobody has better insight into the condition of your teeth than they do.

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