How long does teeth whitening last?

There are many different methods and treatments on the market for teeth whitening. All differentiate in price, procedure and often how long the whitening will last.

Generally, teeth whitening works by using hydrogen peroxide to remove staining that has accumulated under the surface of the tooth from lifestyle factors such as: the foods we eat, drinking coffee and red wine, smoking, general oral health and hygiene.

The most common ways to whiten teeth are usually in-chair whitening or gradual at home whitening. Often these forms of treatment will have your whitening last for several years if maintained. Other forms of whitening can include whitening strips and gels purchased from the supermarket, charcoal paste or whitening toothpaste. These methods won’t last as long as professional dental whitening, simply because of the ingredients used.

In-Chair Whitening Effects:

  • In-Chair whitening produces instant results
  • Higher concentration of bleach (e.g. hydrogen peroxide) as treated by a dentist
  • Patient experiences have generally noted whitening results lasting for 2+ years. Although colour reversal may begin, teeth are still whiter than before treatment several years post-whitening.

At Home Whitening Effects:

  • At home whitening produces more gradual results compared to in-chair whitening
  • Lower concentration of bleach (e.g. hydrogen peroxide)
  • Patient experiences have varied from how long the treatment has lasted
  • In a longitudinal study of home teeth whitening, patients were surveyed 9-12 years after using a at home-whitening kit for 6 weeks. 33% of patients noted they still noticed a change to the colour of their teeth.

Maintenance of teeth whitening can help prolong results of teeth whitening for both at home and in-clinic treatments. Avoiding smoking, certain foods and drinks and having healthy oral hygiene and health have shown to prolong whitening results. Whitening top-ups (both in-chair and at home) can also help maintain the whitening process.

Generally, teeth whitening will last for several years. Colour relapse can occur between 6-24 months of the original treatment. The most significant relapse will be likely to occur in the first 24 hours, and although this may affect the colour of the teeth they will still be much lighter than before they were treated.

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