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How Long Does Teeth Whitening Last?

by Melissa Bell
6 minutes read

Teeth naturally become stained. Whether you drink a substantial amount of coffee or use tobacco regularly, your teeth will stain even if you brush them consistently. In order to reduce the number of stains on your teeth, you should think about getting a teeth whitening procedure, which will help whiten your teeth by several shades.

What Is Tooth Whitening?

Tooth whitening is a treatment that allows you to lighten the natural color of your teeth after they have become stained. While there are different ways you can have your teeth whitened, in-office whitening is considered being the most effective method. While you won’t be able to change the color of your teeth entirely, you will have the ability to lighten the current shade of your teeth.

When to Get a Teeth Whitening Procedure

Teeth stains can occur for many reasons and may develop even if you brush your teeth twice each day and floss consistently. There are three categories of tooth discoloration that have been identified by dental professionals, which include extrinsic stains, intrinsic stains, and teeth-related stains. Extrinsic stains are ones that occur along the surface of your tooth. These stains build up over time because of the foods and beverages you consume. Coffee, soft drinks, and tobacco are the main causes of extrinsic stains.


Intrinsic stains are ones that develop below the surface of your teeth when certain particles build up within your enamel. This staining typically occurs among people who use an excessive amount of fluoride, which is a substance found in certain water products, toothpaste, and mouthwash. Professional teeth whitening is essentially the only way to remove these types of stains. Age-related stains are ones that occur as a result of both intrinsic and extrinsic stains. When you age, the dentin in your teeth will become naturally discolored. The enamel of your tooth will also become thinner, which allows the intrinsic stains to be more readily noticeable.

The most common causes of tooth discoloration include foods and drinks like coffee, red wine, and certain fruits and vegetables. Whether you chew tobacco or smoke it, both methods will cause a substantial amount of discoloration over time. Staining is also likely if your dental hygiene is poor. You need to brush your teeth and floss twice every day to minimize the amount of staining that you experience. Some diseases and trauma have been known to cause staining, which includes radiation, chemotherapy, and specific injuries. You should also be on the lookout for staining when you undergo certain medical treatments, which extend to antihistamines and high blood pressure medication.


How Long Your Teeth Whitening Results Should Last

If you’re thinking about scheduling in-office whitening with a dentist, it’s important to understand that the results should last for around three years. The results will still vary from patient to patient. If you want your teeth whitening to last for as long as possible, you’ll need to practice good oral health techniques over the next few years. Brushing and flossing regularly will wipe away the substances that can cause stains to develop quicker. You should also avoid drinking or eating any product that’s known to cause staining, many of which are mentioned earlier. If you currently smoke, you’ll want to stop doing so altogether or at least reduce how much you smoke if you want the results of your teeth whitening to last.

According to a peer-reviewed study in 2014, results of this treatment are displayed after one session of 30-60 minutes. However, more substantial results can occur with several applications of teeth whitening. If you get in-office whitening, you’re required to visit your dental professional‘s office again within a week after the treatment to make sure that your gums remain in good condition. It’s during this appointment that you can determine if the results are satisfactory or if you would like to obtain an additional application of the teeth whitening solution.


What to Expect From the Teeth Whitening Procedure

When you arrive for your teeth whitening treatment, the first thing that happens is that a gel or rubber shield will be placed around your gums to protect them while the treatment is ongoing. The whitening product will then be applied to your teeth. The substance is first placed within a tray that has been specially designed to fit around your teeth. The main ingredient that’s included in the teeth whitening solution is hydrogen peroxide, which can facilitate the transfer of more oxygen into the enamel surrounding your teeth. Once this process occurs, the color of your teeth should become lighter. This treatment lasts anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes and should provide you with immediate results. In most cases, your teeth will become 3-4 shades lighter than they previously were.

As for the side effects that can occur with the teeth whitening procedure, this treatment is safe and comes with hardly any risks. Tissue irritation is possible if the mouthpiece tray provided to you during the treatment did not fit as intended. However, this irritation should be minor and will probably go away within 1-3 days after you’ve received the treatment.

According to Dr. Marc Lazare, a New York teeth whitening expert, all the tooth sensitivity you experience from this treatment should dissipate within the first 24 hours after they have administered the procedure. If you suffer from tooth sensitivity, there are some kinds of toothpaste specifically designed to accommodate more sensitive teeth. It’s also possible that your gums or tooth enamel could be damaged if you use too much tooth whitening in a short time.

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