The answer to this question depends upon a few factors:
Sometimes, teeth are stained extrinsically. This means that they are discolored on the outside from foods, drinks, or tobacco use. This stain is treated from the outside, and the buildup of extrinsic stain can be controlled with repeated use of whitening procedures or some over-the-counter products.
Intrinsic stain, however, is stain that originates within the tooth as a result of trauma, age, or developmental problems. This kind of stain is not affected by over-the-counter products.
Over-the-counter products are not as quick or effective as professional whitening procedures. They also have the tendency to be overused or improperly used, causing damage to teeth and gums. Ask your dentist for recommended products, and carefully follow instructions for use.
If you are using the at-home whitening tray provided to you by your dentist, then you should typically use it for 1-2 hours a day until you see the results you want. This usually lasts for a year, but you could touch up your smile every 6 months after your regular professional cleaning.
In-office professional whitening can last up to 2 years, but again, you may desire touch-ups every 6 months.
Everyone reacts differently to whitening procedures. Some patients find that even professional whitening procedures cause them increased tooth sensitivity and gum irritation. The bottom line is this: the safest way to whiten is dentist-monitored procedures. Ask your dentist about which whitening options are recommended for you, and follow instructions for frequency.
Posted on behalf of:
Soft Touch Dentistry
1214 Paragon Dr
O’Fallon, IL 62269
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