How Long Does Teeth Whitening Last?

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How Long Does Teeth Whitening Last?

When your teeth come in as a child, they’re typically quite white. Everyone has a natural brightness to their teeth. This brightness, however, can dull over time.

The foods and liquids you consume (e.g., coffee, tea, and red wine) can stain your teeth, as can tobacco products, certain medications, and even some mouth rinses.

Plaque and tartar, which build up without regular dental cleanings, can also cause discoloration on your teeth. Age, trauma, various medical conditions, and genetics may affect the color of your teeth.

Fortunately, there are ways to whiten your teeth, brighten your smile, and improve your confidence. Teeth whitening can last years depending on the type of whitening treatment you choose. There are several methods of whitening your teeth both at the dentist’s office and at home.

How Long Does It Take to Whiten Teeth?

How long it takes to whiten your teeth also depends entirely on the type of teeth whitening solution you choose.

Professional teeth whitening generally takes about an hour and may show immediate results. Over-the-counter products may take just minutes to use but up to weeks to see results. LED whitening kits work after one to five uses.

What Causes Tooth Discoloration?

Extrinsic discoloration affects the outside of your teeth. These surface stains are shallow. Causes of extrinsic discoloration include:

  • Tobacco
  • Poor oral hygiene and plaque buildup
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Soda
  • Food with dyes
  • Red wine
  • Pasta sauce
  • Dark-pigmented foods (like dark berries)

Intrinsic discoloration forms within your teeth. This form of discoloration is deeper than extrinsic discoloration. Causes include:

  • Certain antibiotics (like tetracycline and doxycycline)
  • Diseases that prevent normal tooth development 
  • Treatments like chemotherapy and radiation
  • Fluorosis (white spots on teeth caused by excessive fluoride)
  • Aging
  • Genetics
  • Amalgam (silver) fillings
  • Cavities
  • Trauma that causes reduced blood flow to teeth

How to Prevent Teeth Stains

To prevent tooth discoloration and keep your teeth white after treatment, keep these tips in mind:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes at a time
  • Visit your dentist every six months for teeth cleanings
  • Floss to avoid colored foods from getting caught between teeth
  • Limit or avoid sugary foods and drinks
  • Avoid artificially colored foods and drinks
  • Limit intake of staining products like coffee, tea, soda, red wine, dark berries, and alcohol
  • Do not use tobacco
  • Use whitening products (read the instructions to make sure you don't overuse them)

If a food permanently stains a white shirt, it can also stain your teeth.

Many healthy foods can also improve teeth health and brightness. These foods include vegetables, pineapple, dairy, nuts, seeds, onions, celery, and carrots, among others.

Professional Teeth Whitening (In-Office Treatment)

Here are three professional teeth whitening options to brighten your smile that a dental professional can do for you in a dental office:

  • KöR — The KöR Dual-Activated, Tri-Barrel™ Hydremide® Peroxide formulation and delivery system seals saliva and sulcular fluid out of whitening trays to make the bleaching agents in the gel more potent for much longer.  
  • 1-Hour Zoom! — The Zoom! in-office whitening system uses proprietary technology to brighten teeth by an average of eight shades. It takes just about an hour. The active light-activated ingredient is hydrogen peroxide. As it breaks down, the oxygen enters the enamel and dentin of the teeth, bleaching away discoloration.
  • BOOST — Opalescence™ Boost™ professional teeth whitening is chemically activated. The gel contains potassium nitrate and fluoride to prevent sensitivity and protect your enamel.

How Long Does Professional Whitening Last?

For example, some in-office whitening treatments can last between 6 months to three years with proper care. These treatments are more expensive, and cost between $500 and $1200 per treatment. 

LED Teeth Whitening Kits (At-Home)

There are also tons of home whitening kits available to whiten your teeth on your own. These kits can also provide a touch-up to prolong a professional whitening job.

Popular LED whitening kits include:

glo brilliant kit

GLO Brilliant Teeth Whitening Kit

The best whitening kit for sensitive teeth

Glo uses an accelerating-warming heat and LED light technology to whiten your teeth. It costs $149 and promises whiter results in just days.

snow kit

Snow Teeth Whitening Kit

Snow claims that users will have whiter teeth in as little as nine minutes per day with its light-activated whitening gel.

You can whiten for as long as 30 minutes per session, two times per day for faster results. The kit costs $149.

AuraGlow Teeth Whitening Kit, LED Light

AuraGlow Teeth Whitening Kit

AuraGlow combines professional whitening gel with LED light technology. It costs $60, is safe for enamel, and claims that users will have whitening results in as little as one treatment.

colgate led teeth whitening kit

Colgate

Colgate's advanced teeth whitening kit only requires 10 minutes of your day. After just 10 days of use, you'll have noticeably whiter teeth.

spot light oral care kit e1616519190566

Spotlight Oral Care Whitening Starter Bundle

The Spotlight Whitening Starter Bundle is ideal for those who are seeking an all-in-one whitening routine at an affordable price.

How Long Do LED Whitening Results Last?

LED teeth whitening kits provide longer-lasting results than strips and toothpaste. After you reach the desired shade, the kit only needs to be used every few weeks to a month. This will maintain your white teeth (results vary depending on the brand). 

Laser Teeth Whitening 

Laser teeth whitening uses professional equipment to give you those pearly whites. The dentist will cover your gums and lips, and they’ll coat your teeth with a peroxide gel.

From there, the dentist will use a laser to activate the gel’s bleaching agent, which will whiten your teeth. It can lighten your teeth up to several shades.

How Long Does Laser Teeth Whitening Last?

The laser teeth whitening process isn’t cheap. It can cost about $500 and up for one treatment. However, the results will last for several months.

Over-The-Counter Teeth Whitening

These are the most common over-the-counter teeth whitening options available. These are much cheaper than professional whitening treatments. Most over-the-counter teeth whitening products cost well under $50.

  • Whitening strips & gels — Gels and strips typically use peroxide to whiten teeth. You should use these products regularly for at least two weeks, and the results will last for about four months after the course of your treatment.
  • Whitening toothpaste — Whitening toothpastes usually use chemicals or polishing agents to remove most surface stains, though it may take several weeks before you actually see the results.
  • Charcoal teeth whitening — Because charcoal is an incredibly absorbent substance, it can absorb bacteria and stains on your teeth, giving them a whiter appearance. Charcoal is also abrasive and can break down the enamel on your teeth. So while charcoal can certainly scrub off stains, it may also scrub off the top layer of your teeth, leaving them thinner, weaker, and more susceptible to cavities and cracks.

How Long Does Over-The-Counter Whitening Last?

Some people see results directly after using whitening strips, and these effects can last up to six months. Some people don't see results until a few days to weeks later.

How Often Should You Whiten Your Teeth?

How often you should whiten your teeth depends on if you choose a professional teeth whitening solution or over-the-counter products to whiten your teeth.

While a professional procedure may only require one visit, toothpastes are to be used daily, and strips and gels are to be used daily for a designated period of time.

Teeth Whitening: Common Questions & Answers

Is it bad to whiten your teeth?

It’s not bad to whiten your teeth so long as you choose a safe method and practice regular dental care. Whitening strips, gels, toothpastes, and other remedies are dentist-approved methods of whitening your teeth.

How long does teeth sensitivity last after whitening?

Teeth sensitivity varies for everyone. It may last longer or feel more intense, depending on the teeth whitening solution you’ve chosen, as well. Typically, however, you should feel better within a few hours or up to about 48 hours at most.

Can teeth whitening last forever?

Teeth whitening won’t last forever. However, there are ways that you can prolong the brightened appearance of your teeth. Practice proper oral hygiene and stay away from foods, liquids, and products that can stain your teeth.

What is the longest lasting teeth whitening treatment?

Getting your teeth professionally whitened will likely last longer than using over-the-counter products to whiten your teeth. If you use whitening products like toothpaste daily, you can prolong the brightened appearance of your teeth at home.

Resources

Barry, Gregg. “Tips for Dealing with Sensitivity after Teeth Whitening Treatments.” Docklands Dental, 25 Sept. 2019, www.docklandsdental.ie/tips-dealing-with-sensitivity-after-teeth-whitening/

“Does Activated Charcoal Teeth Whitening Work?: Delta Dental Of Washington.” Tenant 0, www.deltadentalwa.com/blog/entry/2018/07/activated-charcoal-teeth-whitening

“How Does KöR Whitening Work?” KöR Whitening, 15 Jan. 2019, www.korwhitening.com/how-does-kor-work/

“How Long Does Professional Teeth Whitening Last? - Blog.” My Family Dental, www.myfamilydental.com/about-us/blog/How-Long-Does-Professional-Teeth-Whitening-Last_AE14.html

“How Long Does Teeth Whitening Last?” Family Dentist, www.drsilmansmilespa.com/how-long-does-teeth-whitening-last

“Is Charcoal Teeth Whitening Safe? A Dentist Chimes In.” Nelson Dentistry, 25 Oct. 2017, www.drjaynelson.com/blog/charcoal-teeth-whitening-safe-dentist-chimes/

“Opalescence Teeth Whitening.” Opalescence, www.opalescence.com/products/opalescence-boost

“Products.” AuraGlow, auraglow.com/

“Snow® At-Home Teeth Whitening Kit: Results Guaranteed Celebrity Owned.” Snow Oral Care, www.trysnow.com/

“Teeth Whitening - How Long Does Teeth Whitening Last?” Cosmetic Dentist Southern California, 30 June 2017, artofdentistryinstitute.com/blog/how-long-does-teeth-whitening-last/.

“Welcome to GLO™ Science: Professional Teeth Whitening At-Home.” GLO Science, gloscience.com/.

“Zoom Whitening Half Moon Bay California, Teeth Whitening.” Half Moon Bay California, Teeth Whitening, www.halfmoonbaydentist.net/cosmetic-treatments/teeth-whitening/zoom-whitening/.

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