How Long does Teeth Whitening Last?

As with most things, it is different for everyone.  Once you reach your desired tooth color with your teeth whitening method, you can expect the results to last an average of six months to a year.  The good news is that you do have some control over it!

Do Different Types of Teeth Whitening Provide Longer-Lasting Results?

Not really.

The different types of teeth whitening do provide results in different lengths of time.  For example, in-office whitening will give you whiter teeth in just one hour.  Using professional whitening gel in custom-fitted trays may take 7-10 days for noticeable results.  Over-the-counter whitening methods may take longer to see visible changes in the color of your teeth.

Once you do achieve your goal of teeth whitening, the time it will last depends on you!  What you do after whitening your teeth has more of an impact on the length of your results than the type of whitening you choose.

What Causes Relapse of Teeth Whitening?

Whether you are whitening your teeth with over-the-counter products or you choose to have us whiten them for you with an in-office procedure, some habits will cause a quicker relapse and take you back to a darker or yellower tooth color.  Here are the biggest culprits.

  • Tobacco – Using any kind of tobacco quickly adds dark stains to the surface of enamel. Because smoking has a drying effect on the mouth, the stains stick to the teeth more easily.
  • Coffee, tea, and red wine – These drinks are not just dark in color. They are also acidic, which allows them to roughen the tooth enamel and make it more likely to pick up stains.

There is one cause of relapse that you do not have any control over, and that is aging.  As we age, the core substance of the tooth gets thicker.  As the dentin thickens, it becomes darker and more opaque, allowing it to show through the thinner, more translucent enamel and give a darker appearance.

How Can You Slow Down Whitening Relapse?

In order to keep the teeth looking as bright and white as possible, you need to take the following steps.

  1. Avoid tobacco and dark-colored beverages.
  2. Brush with an electric toothbrush and whitening toothpaste to polish away superficial stains.
  3. Practice great oral hygiene with brushing twice a day, flossing every night, and using a mouthwash that contains fluoride to keep your enamel strong.
  4. Do not miss a professional teeth cleaning. Your dental hygienists works diligently to remove all bacterial buildup and surface staining.  The polishing at the end of a professional cleaning leave your teeth smoother and more resistant to stains.

What to Do if Your Teeth have Already Relapsed

If you have already whitened your teeth and see that they have relapsed, you simply need to perform some maintenance whitening.  Maintenance whitening is easiest in custom-fitted whitening trays made from a replica of your teeth.  These trays, made by your dentist, will last for many years.  You can purchase refill kits of professional strength gel as needed throughout the years to keep your teeth looking as white as you want them.

Most people perform maintenance whitening with custom trays for two to three sessions every six months.  The length of a session depends on the strength of your whitening gel.  Higher concentrations of gel require less time to work, while lower concentrations can take 8-9 hours.  Obviously, we recommend using the low strength gel overnight and only in custom-fitted trays to keep the gel from seeping out onto the gums and the rest of your mouth.

Interested in Whitening Your Teeth?

Call 940-382-1750 today to schedule a whitening consultation with Dr. Chowning.  He can answer any question you have about teeth whitening and recommend the method that will best fit your needs and goals.