Depending on where you live, it should be easy to find multiple dentists who whiten teeth — maybe even dozens. With such a wealth of options, how do you pick the right one?

Referrals

Have any of your friends gotten their teeth whitened? Do you like the results? If so, ask your friends who whitened their teeth and what the experience was like.

Reviews

If you can’t get a referral from someone you know, read patient reviews online.

Check Google Reviews, Yelp, and Healthgrades.com to see how patients describe different dentists. You might discover things a dentist would never advertise on their website.

On the other hand, take reviews with a grain of salt. Things that bother other people might not bother you.

Credentials

Healthgrades.com and state websites provide information about dentists’ credentials. Are they board-certified? Do they have a history of malpractice claims or disciplinary problems?

Communication Style

Once you’ve done your initial research, it’s time to talk to the dentist you’re considering. Call or email them to ask any questions you have.

Think about what sort of communication style you prefer. Some dentists expect patients to be quiet and obedient. Other dentists are happy to answer questions and explain what they’re doing while they work.

Experience

Inquire about the dentist’s teeth whitening experience.

  • How long have they been whitening teeth?
  • Do they whiten teeth often?
  • Is teeth whitening one of their primary services?

Types of Whitening

There are multiple ways to whiten teeth. Each dentist will have their favorite methods.

Here are a few options a dentist might offer:

Take-Home Trays

Though most teeth whitening processes happen in-office, this one doesn’t. The dentist will customize a take-home whitening tray to fit your jaw and gums perfectly.

BriteSmile

This method uses a whitening gel and bright lights to help set the bleaching agents.

Time: An hour

Boost

Boost involves a whitening gel that works purely through chemistry. No light is required.

Time: One to two hours

Zoom

For Zoom, a whitening gel is applied to your teeth three times. As with Britesmile, a light helps set the whitening agents.

Time: An hour

Cost

Teeth whitening has a wide variety of price points, and it’s not covered by insurance.

Take-home trays are the least expensive, though they still cost an average of $400. In-office methods can cost over $1,000.

Choose a dentist who provides services you can afford. Most dentists will offer payment plans if you don’t want to pay all at once. Not all payment plans are the same, though. See which dentist provides the most favorable option.

Conclusion

When choosing a dentist to whiten your teeth, engage in the same due diligence you’d use for any other health procedure. Though teeth whitening is a cosmetic choice, the process requires expertise and care.