The Shocking Truth: Find Out How Long Teeth Whitening Really Lasts

After an exciting tooth straightening journey, whether you’ve had metal, ceramic, Incognito, SureSmile or Invisalign braces, we often find our patients wanting to take one final step towards that gleaming Hollywood smile. And it’s not just newly de-braced patients who are after a gleaming white smile. In fact, teeth whitening is becoming more and more popular as people strive to achieve a perfect smile. But how long does teeth whitening last?

Teeth whitening is undoubtedly a transformative procedure, capable of brightening your smile and boosting your confidence. Whether you opt for professional in-practice treatments or at-home kits, the results can be very impressive. However, it’s essential to understand that the longevity of your whitened smile depends on various factors, including your oral hygiene habits, dietary choices, and the whitening method used.


1. Understanding Teeth Whitening Methods:

There are two main routes for teeth whitening:

  • Professional In-Practice Whitening: This is where the procedure is carried out by a dentist or your orthodontist. A high-concentration bleaching agent is applied to your teeth to lift stains and leave a bright white smile. Whilst it is usually a little more expensive, the results are usually immediate and can last for a considerable amount of time.
  • At-Home Whitening Kits: These kits typically include custom trays and a lower concentration of bleaching gel. While they may take longer to show results compared to in-practice treatments, they can be more cost-effective and still provide noticeable whitening effects.

Some patients may experience sensitivity after teeth whitening and there are some perfectly easy to explain the reasons for this. We’ve covered it in detail within another article which you can find here, but to give you a brief overview, some whitening kits can cause severe sensitivity and can cause extreme discomfort.

But the good news for patients of Orthodontics For You is that our polanight teeth whitening gel cuts off pain sensors to protect the nerves (and nerve endings) in your gums. This means any sensitivity is minimised and you can whiten your teeth comfortably.


2. Factors Affecting Whitening Longevity:

There’s no hard and fast answer for “How long does teeth whitening may last?” It is down to several factors, such as:

  • Oral Hygiene: Good oral hygiene practices, including regular brushing, flossing and dental check-ups, play a crucial role in maintaining your whitened smile. Plaque build-up and poor oral hygiene can diminish the effects of your teeth whitening over time. If you want those pearly whites to stay white, it helps to invest time in a thorough teeth cleaning routine.
  • Dietary Habits: Teeth are porous and certain foods and drinks like coffee, tea, red wine, and berries can stain them. This is because their chemical compounds (chromogens), which give certain foods and drinks their strong colour, can stain our teeth. Foods and drinks containing a substance called tannin can also cause staining. As a general rule of thumb, if something could stain your clothes or your tongue, the chances are it’s also going to stain your teeth. We would recommend limiting your consumption of these food/drink items or make sure you rinse your mouth after consuming staining substances. This will certainly help to prolong the results of any teeth whitening procedure.
  • Tobacco Use: It won’t come as a surprise, but smoking or using tobacco products can quickly stain your teeth, undoing the effects of whitening treatments. Quitting smoking not only benefits your overall health but also helps maintain a brighter, whiter smile.
  • Natural Tooth Colour: Some people are blessed with naturally whiter teeth and unfortunately, the natural colour of your teeth can influence how long the whitening effects last. Individuals with naturally darker teeth may require more frequent touch-ups to maintain their desired level of whiteness, whereas those with more naturally white smiles may only require an occasional touch-up.


3. Duration of Whitening Results:

As we have already mentioned, there’s no guarantee to how long the results will last as they are affected by a number of factors. However, as a ballpark estimate:

  • In-Practice Whitening: On average, the results of professional in-practice teeth whitening can last anywhere from 6 months to 2 years depending on individual factors mentioned above. That said, regular touch-up treatments may be needed to maintain optimal results.
  • At-Home Whitening Kits: Results from at-home whitening kits typically last between one to three years with proper maintenance. Some individuals may require touch-ups more frequently to combat new stains or maintain their desired level of whiteness.


4. Tips for Prolonging Whitening Results:

What’s the best way to get the most longevity from your teeth whitening? Great question!

  • Maintain Good Oral Hygiene: First and foremost, brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride* toothpaste (this will also help to strengthen your teeth). In addition, you should floss daily and use a fluoride mouthwash after brushing. Schedule regular dental hygienist visits.
    *Fluoride is recommended by dentists for good oral care as it strengthens tooth enamel, making teeth more resistant to decay.
  • Watch Your Diet: Limit consumption of stain-causing foods and beverages, and rinse your mouth with water after eating or drinking them.
  • Quit Smoking: If you smoke, consider quitting to prevent tobacco stains from diminishing your whitened smile.
  • Use Touch-Up Products: Over-the-counter whitening toothpaste or whitening pens can help maintain your bright white results between professional treatments.


5. Consult Your Dental Professional:

Every individual’s dental needs and goals are unique. Consulting your dentist or orthodontist is essential to determining the most suitable whitening method for you and to establish a personalised maintenance plan.

Your orthodontist will be able to assess your oral health, discuss your whitening expectations and recommend the most effective treatment options based on your specific dental requirements.

While teeth whitening can provide stunning results, it’s important to be realistic about the longevity of those results. By understanding the factors that influence whitening longevity and adopting good oral hygiene habits, you can enjoy a brighter and more radiant smile for years to come. Remember, the key to maintaining your dazzling smile lies in consistent care and regular dental check-ups. So, keep smiling and shine on!

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about teeth whitening options then please don’t hesitate to reach out to us here a Orthodontics For You. We’re here to help you achieve the smile of your dreams!


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