Is Teeth Whitening Covered by Dental Insurance?

Sep 03, 2022 By Susan Kelly

Only about half of U.S. citizens with private insurance have access to dental benefits, and these benefits rarely include aesthetic procedures like teeth whitening. The average yearly limit for dental insurance is around $1,500. It features a three-tiered system known as 100-80-50.2 and only covers operations directly relevant to health and wellness.

What Services Does Typical Dental Insurance Cover?

If necessary, complete coverage is provided for preventative services, including regular checkups and cleanings, X-rays and sealants. The insurance company pays for 80% of the cost of routine dental care. This includes operations like fillings, extractions, and periodontal therapy for gum disease.

There is a 50% discount on major dental work such as crowns, bridges, inlays, and dentures. Depending on your insurance policy, root canals may be classified as either major or basic dental work. Not all procedures are covered, and most plans prioritize preventative and fundamental medical care.

Cosmetic Procedures Are Not Covered By Dental Insurance.

Dental insurance typically does not cover cosmetic dentistry operations, including teeth bleaching, veneers, and gum recontouring. Insurance companies do not cover these treatments because their sole purpose is cosmetic.

What Exactly Is Cosmetic Dentistry?

Procedures in cosmetic dentistry are designed to enhance the aesthetics of a person's teeth and smile. Cosmetic dentistry procedures such as teeth bleaching, veneers, bonding, and straightening with Invisalign are all mentioned here. Despite their notoriety and popularity, patients usually pay the total price for these treatments out of pocket.

Is Teeth Whitening Cosmetic Or Restorative?

For teeth whitening to be deemed a purely aesthetic therapy, all teeth must be healthy. Teeth whitening can't usually be combined with anything else, although there are a few rare cases when it is. Some people, for instance, choose to have their teeth whitened before undergoing a restorative operation like a bridge, implant, or root canal.

What Are Professional Teeth Whitening's Benefits and Drawbacks?

Now that we know whether or not teeth whitening is covered by insurance, let's examine whether or not it's a profitable operation in and of itself. Whiter teeth, a brighter smile, and increased self-esteem are the undeniable benefits of teeth whitening.

Results from professional teeth whitening are typically seen more rapidly than from at-home treatments. Like any worthwhile endeavour, though, it's important to consider the possible downsides before diving in headfirst:

Gum irritation.

Some people may have slight gum inflammation while using teeth whitening products.


When teeth are whitened professionally, some people find they are more sensitive to temperature changes.

No guarantees

Some tooth discolourations cannot be removed with teeth whitening.

What Can Discolorations Not Be Cleaned Away By Whitening Teeth?

Natural teeth can get discoloured for various reasons, including what you eat and drink. Whether or not you smoke, teeth whitening is an excellent method for restoring their original whiteness. Stains induced by medicine or damage to the tooth enamel do not respond well to teeth whitening.

You may not get the results you want from teeth whitening if you have dental restorations, such as veneers, fillings, crowns, or caps, since these artificial components will not absorb the whitening solution. Teeth whitening can affect different people, so it's best to get it done by a professional.

Having your teeth examined by a dentist is the only way to determine if teeth whitening can improve your unique grin. There is potential for success with a do-it-yourself strategy, but there are also potential drawbacks to be aware of.

When Should I Start Seeing the Dentist Again?

If you don't have any issues with your teeth or gums already, scheduling a cleaning and checkup with your dentist every six months to a year is best. You should try to come in at least once a year, if not more often, to prevent minor issues from becoming major ones.

Let's say you're not brushing well enough, and a little cavity forms on one of your bottom teeth. The dentist can point this up during your regular cleaning and checkup. If you never see your dentist for advice on proper brushing techniques, you may wear down your teeth to the point where a filling or root canal is necessary.


According to the Consumer Guide to Dentistry, it costs an average of $650, making it more expensive than at-home trays or over-the-counter bleaching trays or strips. Depending on the cost of living in the area and the going rate for offices, the price might go up or down.

Because of the high expense of cosmetic operations, patients must study alternate financing solutions. Many cosmetic dentistry and orthodontic practices accept various payment plans. Still, customers can also charge their operations to health care credit cards with no or low interest rates.

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