The most common treatment in cosmetic dentistry is without a doubt teeth whitening. Achieving a brighter, healthy-looking smile is an attractive prospect for many people. From whitening toothpaste to high-tech in-chair whitening systems, there are more options than ever for people to get whiter teeth.
So let’s start with the big question;
How Long Does Teeth Whitening Last?
Somewhat frustratingly, the answer is “it depends.”
The effects of teeth whitening can last up to 2-3 years or as little as 6 months. It varies from person to person.
Things that will stain your teeth quickly and make your whitening short-lived include:
– Dark liquids like red wine, coffee, and tea.
– Staining foods like beetroot and berries.
Brushing your teeth twice a day and avoiding these staining foods, (avoiding, not cutting out entirely!) will help keep your teeth whitening noticeable for as long as possible. However, keep in mind that staining is inevitable.
How Long Does It Take to Whiten Teeth?
This depends on the method you use.
In-chair whitening, or in-office whitening, is whitening that’s performed in a dental clinic. It’s performed by a dentist using stronger concentrations of a whitening formula than you can get elsewhere. You can achieve significant whitening results in a single 1-2 hour appointment.
At-home whitening kits are mouth trays made by your dentist to precisely fit your mouth. The whitening agent is placed into the trays and are worn daily for small periods of time. They use lower concentrations of whitening agent and can take around 2-3 weeks to achieve the results you’re after.
Whitening toothpaste very rarely whitens the teeth, unless it contains hydrogen peroxide – which most don’t!
How Much Whiter Can You Make Your Teeth?
It’s best to think of teeth whitening like tanning. Basically, everyone who goes into the sun or a tanning salon will come out with a tan. Exactly how tanned they are is different from individual to individual. Everyone gets noticeable results, but not precisely at the same level. It is important to realise that no whitening product will whiten any fillings or restorations.
In-Chair vs. At-Home Whitening
So which is better, in-chair or at-home whitening?
There are advantages and disadvantages to both.
– Faster results.
– More expensive.
– The higher concentration of formula can be unpleasant — or completely unbearable — for patients with sensitive teeth.
– Studies have shown the whiter effect does not last as long as gradual whitening.
At Home Whitening
– More affordable.
– Less sensitivity.
– Can be done at home for your own convenience, rather than booking appointments in busy work schedules.
– Results of whiter teeth last longer than in chair whitening.
– You can control how white you want to go and stop the whitening process if you achieve a whiteness you are satisfied with before the 2-3 week whitening period is up.
– Trays can be reused over the years to keep topping up the whiter appearance.
– Takes longer to achieve results than in house whitening.
– Avoid over-the-counter mouth trays as they do no wrap evenly around your teeth and can risk burning and irritation to your gums, as well as needing to use more whitening product to fill the tray.
– Requires the patient to remember to put the whitening kit in daily.