How Long Does Teeth Whitening Last?

teeth before and after whitening

Teeth whitening is one of the most cost-effective cosmetic treatments you can do to improve the appearance of your smile. White, bright teeth appear more attractive and youthful compared to dull, yellow or graying teeth. There are many different ways to whiten your teeth and the method you use can determine how quick you get results and how long you keep your white smile. How long does teeth whitening last? Here are some of the different types of teeth whitening options and what results you can expect.

OTC Teeth Whitening Strips
Plastic strips that contain whitening agents are a popular at-home teeth brightener. You can purchase these strips at almost any grocery or drug store in the health and beauty section. The strips can whiten teeth a few shades, but it does take anywhere from a week to a couple of weeks to get results. If the strips are not applied correctly, they can provide uneven results. Once the whitening is complete, the results can last 4-6 months for most products.
OTC Trays and Gels
Like over-the-counter whitening strips, gels and trays bought in the health and beauty section can whiten teeth a few shades. It can take 2-3 weeks to obtain the desired whiteness with these products and results can vary depending on the application. Results from these products will last similar to strips, usually 4-6 months before maintenance is needed.
Toothpastes, Gum and Daily Whitening Products
From toothpastes to gum, there are many oral products that claim to whiten teeth. These products are designed to help remove immediate stains versus old stains and keep teeth white. Using whitening toothpaste or gums can be useful to keep your smile white once you have the shade you desire, but it is unlikely going to whiten your teeth multiple shades.

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Professional At-Home Whitening Trays
If you like at-home teeth whitening but want more dramatic, longer-lasting results, talk to your local cosmetic dentist. Many dentists offer at-home professional teeth whitening trays. These trays are designed from a custom mold of your teeth – this means a better fit for a more even whitening experience. Plus, the whitening gel is a prescription product that whitens deeper and more safely than some OTC options. Whitening still may take 2-4 weeks. The results from at-home whitening trays can last for up to a year.
In-Office Professional Teeth Bleaching
Professional teeth bleaching can give you a new smile in one visit to your dentist’s office. If you want to have a new smile for an event this weekend, professional in-office bleaching may be the right option. Most bleaching procedures take 1-2 hours to complete, lightening your teeth several shades. A dental professional carefully applies the bleaching agents to the teeth, protecting the gums for even, safe teeth whitening. Plus, professional teeth bleaching will last 1-3 years if maintained, giving you quick and lasting results.
In-Office Laser Teeth Whitening
Similar to professional teeth bleaching, laser teeth whitening is performed at your dental office and offers quick, dramatic results. With laser teeth whitening, a gel is applied to the teeth and a laser is used to heat and activate the whitening agents. Depending on the type of laser treatment and level of staining, it can require multiple applications, but can be performed in about 1-2 hours. How long does laser teeth whitening last? You can expect your teeth to stay white at least a year, longer with good oral hygiene.

Maintaining Teeth Whitening Results

Whether you opt to use at-home teeth whitening products or visit your dentist for in-office bleaching or whitening, it is up to you to maintain the results. Teeth darken due to exposure to certain substances that stain the enamel like coffee, nicotine, wine, berries and other dark-pigmented products. Enamel also dulls with age, but it can be kept brighter with good oral hygiene. How long does teeth whitening last? That can depend on you and whether you follow these oral care suggestions:

  • Minimize using staining foods and beverages like coffee, tea, red wine and dark fruits.
  • Do not smoke/chew tobacco or other staining substances.
  • Brush your teeth after every meal.
  • Floss daily.
  • Visit your dentist for professional cleanings at least twice a year to remove plaque, tartar and stains.
  • Follow maintenance recommendations for your whitening product.

Group of people with perfect smiles.
How long does teeth whitening last and which product is right for you? The best way to brighten and whiten your smile is to visit a cosmetic dentist for treatment. Professional teeth whitening is performed by a dental professional that evaluates your oral health and teeth sensitivity to determine the best option for brightening your smile. You can have a white, sparkling smile as soon as the same day with results that can last for a year or longer with maintenance – call your dentist to schedule your teeth whitening consultation.