How Long Does Teeth Whitening Last? A Dentist’s Guide

Teeth discolouration mainly occurs due to your lifestyle habits combined with your genetics. Genetics determine your enamel strength and quality. Lifestyle habits that include frequent consumption of teeth-staining food and drinks such as tea, coffee, red wine, berries, beetroot, fizzy drinks, soy sauce, ketchup, potatoes, curry, and apples all expose you to increased teeth staining. Tobacco smoking and chewing is another colossal culprit of tooth staining. Inevitably, ageing will gradually cause your teeth to discolour. Your daily dental care practices will determine how extensive the staining will be.

Types of Teeth Staining 

Before you engage in teeth whitening procedures, it is essential to understand your type of teeth staining: is it intrinsic or extrinsic? Your staining type is a crucial factor in determining if your staining is corrective or not.

Intrinsic stains are internal and develop inside the teeth themselves. Tooth decay or injury can cause intrinsic stains. This type of teeth staining is challenging to correct with teeth whitening procedures.

Extrinsic stains are external and present on the tooth surface. These are corrected through dental bleaching and by maintaining good dental hygiene habits.

Teeth Whitening Methods

Teeth whitening is the most common cosmetic dental practice. It corrects teeth discolouration. For many people, having an attractive white smile is important. The method you use to achieve whiter teeth will determine how long the whitening effect will last. There are several methods in use to help attain teeth whitening.

Office-Whitening or In-Chair Whitening

In-chair whitening is carried out in a dental clinic by a professional dentist. The whitening formula put in use for this technique uses substantial concentrations. You can visibly see significant results after a procedure that takes an average of one to two hours.

This method will achieve results in a brief period though it is ultimately more expensive. Studies carried out on teeth whitening methods indicate that office-whitening results are not as long-lasting as those achieved through gradual whitening methodologies.

Additionally, the potent concentration formula may be unpleasantly unbearable for some patients, especially those with pre-existing tooth sensitivity.

At-Home Whitening

These are generally over-the-counter methods and could be toothpaste, strips, gels, or bleaching products. Of these methods, whitening toothpaste is the least effective unless it comprises hydrogen peroxide, which most do not.

Whitening kits used at home are designed to fit your dental formula perfectly. These mouth trays, where the whitening agent is put, are made specifically for you by your dentist and need to be worn daily for specific durations. If using the day method, wearing the mouth tray for an hour a day is sufficient. The night tray requires overnight wearing. This method uses low concentrations of the whitening agent and usually takes between two to six weeks to show results.

Strips and gel methods depend on peroxide to provide the whitening. These are also to be used regularly for a similar duration as the mouth trays. However, to be effective, you need to remember to use them daily, without long teeth whitening last

Dental bleaching occurs when the whitening gel penetrates the tooth enamel pores. This allows the peroxide in the whitening mixture to whiten the tooth dentine. The procedure may increase tooth sensitivity.

At-home whitening results are longer lasting than in-chair whitening. They are also more affordable and cause fewer instances of teeth sensitivity. You can also control how white you want your teeth to be. If you achieve the desired results before the two or six weeks are over, you can stop the treatment. Mouth trays are also reusable and can be utilised over several years to top up the whitening.

Laser Whitening

in chair teeth whiteningA dental professional can only perform laser whitening in a dental office due to the equipment used. Your lips and gums are covered and your teeth are coated with a peroxide gel to start the procedure. Using a laser to activate the bleach-causing agent, the action causes your teeth to whiten. However, using the laser method for teeth whitening may expose you to infrared emissions.

The cost of laser teeth whitening varies from individual to individual, depending on the treatment level one requires. The results last for several months.


In Summary

How you care for your teeth, the lifestyle habits you engage in, and the food and drinks you consume frequently are all vital. These are determinants for how long your teeth whitening will last overall, regardless of the method used. 

Regular dental visits may help you to properly care for your teeth and maintain cleanliness while reducing staining. Getting into the habitual action of drinking plenty of water while eating will help clean your teeth and eliminate food and drink residue that gradually causes staining.

If you suffer from tooth sensitivity before a teeth whitening procedure, be sure to discuss this with your dentist when talking about the appropriate teeth whitening method to use. Continual use of whitening toothpaste may help reduce stains and contain sensitivity.