a woman points to her white teeth

How Long Does Teeth Whitening Last?

Team Cosmetic Dentistry, Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is the easiest, fastest, and least expensive way to improve the aesthetic appeal of teeth. There are a number of teeth whitening methods, from over-the-counter products to professional teeth whitening. While all methods whiten teeth to some degree, the effects wear off after a certain amount of time – the effects of some teeth whitening procedures last longer than do others. Other factors, such as the type of stain or discoloration, food choices and oral hygiene, can also affect how long teeth whitening lasts.

How Long Do the Results of Teeth Whitening Last?

The effects of teeth whitening can last for as little as six months and as long as 2 to 3 years. The duration of teeth whitening depends largely on the type of stain, the specific teeth whitening products used, and lifestyle choices.

Teeth whitening lasts longer on some types of stains

Dentists describe tooth stains or discolorations as being either intrinsic or extrinsic. Intrinsic stains, also known as internal stains, develop as the result of aging, trauma, infection, and some types of medications. Intrinsic stains can be difficult to eliminate with home products, but can be removed by dental professionals.

Extrinsic, or external stains, appear as the result of cigarette smoking and eating or drinking certain foods and beverages. Most at-home teeth whitening products work on extrinsic stains.

Teeth whitening products

Whitening toothpastes

Whitening toothpastes contain ingredients that polish or whiten teeth. Mild abrasives scrub surface stains, for example, while hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide bleach discolorations to leave behind whiter teeth. Results become visible after 2 to 6 weeks, and may last up to 3 or 4 months.

Whitening strips

Whitening strips use peroxide to lift stains; some brands use LED accelerator lights to intensify stain removal. The results of some whitening strips can last for up to 6 months.

Whitening pens

These devices contain whitening gels that work to remove spots and small stains. Whitening pens provide minimal results that do not last long.

At-home whitening gel trays

The amount of whitening provided in gel trays depends on the strength of the peroxide they use. Over-the-counter gels are not as strong as those provided by a dentist. At-home whitening gel trays can produce results that last for a year or longer.

Whitening mouthwashes

Whitening mouthwashes usually contain hydrogen peroxide that lifts surface stains. These products can prolong the effects of other treatments. Used alone, however, the results of whitening mouthwashes are neither dramatic nor long-lasting.

In-office teeth whitening

In-office teeth whitening, also known as chairside bleaching, provides the whitest teeth possible and the longest-lasting results. Dental professionals perform in-office teeth whitening using strong bleaching agents, such as highly-concentrated hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. They may also use heat or light to accelerate the bleaching agent. In-office whitening is usually done in one visit, and the results may last 1 to 3 years.

Lifestyle choices affect how long teeth whitening lasts

Teeth whitening reduces the appearance of stains – it does not repel stains. Consumers who have good oral hygiene and make smart choices can extend the results of whatever teeth whitening products they use. Certain foods and beverages can affect how long teeth whitening lasts. These foods and drinks include:

  • coffee
  • tea
  • red wine
  • grape juice
  • cola
  • berries
  • tomato-based sauces

Learn More About Teeth Whitening

If you’d like to discuss teeth whitening with your dentist, contact us today at 856-783-3777 to schedule an appointment.