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How Long Does Teeth Whitening Last?

Teeth whitening is a straight-forward cosmetic dental procedure that offers you a simple way to transform your smile.

It is an effective and painless procedure that allows you to brighten, whiten and enhance your smile and gain a new sense of confidence. Teeth whitening is also referred to as dental bleaching and is a long-term solution to the discolouration of teeth.

One of the many questions we get asked here at Revitalise is just how long does teeth whitening last?

In this blog post, we will be exploring how professional teeth bleaching works, how long treatment takes and how you can help to keep your teeth pearly white afterwards.

Many factors can affect how long your teeth whitening treatment will last. To begin with, whether or not your smile can be improved with dental bleaching depends entirely on the type of staining you have. There are two types of staining on teeth, intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic stains are stains that develop within the tooth itself. These marks are usually caused by injury or decay and can rarely be treated with dental bleaching.

Extrinsic stains are different, these are the stains that appear on the surface of your tooth and can easily be removed with good oral hygiene practices and a professional whitening treatment.

Another essential factor affecting the lifespan of your whiter smile is how well you maintain your teeth in between whitening treatments. It is important to remember that certain food and drink stain teeth more than others and should therefore be avoided if possible.

Teeth whitening practices in various forms have been around for thousands of years. In fact, the history of teeth whitening can be traced back to several ancient civilizations including the Egyptians and the Romans. Seen as a status symbol, these dental pioneers used questionable ingredients like pumice stone and urine to create whitening pastes.

We are pleased to tell you that thankfully, teeth whitening treatments have come a long way since then!

The whitening and dental bleaching treatments we use today date back to 1989 and the work of Dr Van B. Haywood. Combining carbamide peroxide with a gel substance, he lined the night guards used by patients with the mixture and had them wear the guard every night for two weeks. The result for each patient was a whiter, brighter smile and in this way a dedicated technique for enhancing the colour of natural teeth was created.

Tooth Whitening Process

Here at Revitalise, we use luxury Boutique Whitening treatments which offer exceptional results and the flexibility to fit around your lifestyle. To achieve the desired results, they have two formulas; a day treatment and a night option.

Before you start using either formula a bespoke mould is taken which allows your ‘trays’ to fit comfortably over your teeth. You then simply pour the correct amount of gel into the trays before wearing them for the prescribed period of time.

The concentrations of each type of gel are very different and so are the lengths of time that you need to have the trays in place. For the day treatment, you only have to wear the trays for 1 hour a day, whereas the night treatment is worn overnight, and the gel works while you sleep.

While teeth whitening is a long-term solution, it is not a permanent one. The initial treatment process takes between 2-6 weeks before you will begin to see a difference in the colour of your smile.

During your initial consultation, you will be able to discuss with your dental practitioner which of the available treatments would suit your lifestyle and the level of whitening you wish to achieve. Your dental practitioner can discuss with you the potential shades of white that you can attain and which of the treatment options will offer you the best result.

Your custom trays will then be created and will be available for collection within two weeks, you will be shown how to safely administer the gel and use the trays.

During the process of dental bleaching the whitening gel works by penetrating the pores in the enamel allowing the peroxide within the mixture to whiten the dentine of your tooth. You should be aware that during this process, your teeth are likely to become more sensitive. If you already suffer from sensitive teeth it is always best to speak to your dentist who will be able to guide you and advise on the best treatment options before you begin.

How Teeth Become Stained

Even if you start to see results before the end of your 2 to 6 week treatment period, it is essential that you continue. As already mentioned, teeth whitening is not permanent. If you forget to apply the treatment, your teeth will lose the whitening effect and will start to return to their original colour. Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to the question of how long teeth whitening lasts because the effects last as long as you keep up with the treatments and also how well you care for your teeth.

Depending on your lifestyle, there will be a few months between top-up treatments. During this time, you may find that your teeth become stained again. There are many reasons why this can happen, but the main causes are a specific group of foods and drinks.

These include:

  • Curry
  • Soy Sauce
  • Ketchup
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Coffee & Tea
  • Fizzy Drinks
  • Beer
  • Red Wine

As you would expect, tobacco is also a major cause of tooth staining, whether you smoke it or chew it. The nicotine in tobacco products turns yellow when combined with oxygen, and this is what stains your teeth. Even electronic cigarettes that contain nicotine can cause stained teeth when used for extended periods of time.

Consuming large quantities of food or drink that leave behind stains means that you will need to top up your whitening treatment after 3-4 months. If you avoid staining substances as much as possible, you may be able to go 6-12 months without topping up your treatment and whitening your smile.

As we outlined above, there are two types of stains that teeth can experience: intrinsic and extrinsic. Food and drink stains are classified as extrinsic stains as they only affect the surface of a tooth and can, to some extent, be managed with good oral hygiene practices.

Intrinsic stains occur within the tooth itself and are usually the result of injury or exposure to certain types of antibiotics as a child. These are usually far less receptive to professional dental bleaching and will require more permanent tooth whitening treatments. Your dentist can discuss all the available options with you in your consultation and answer any questions you have about the potential results that can be achieved with more invasive procedures designed to help with intrinsic staining.

How to Maintain Your Colour Between Top Ups

After you finish your first course of treatment and have achieved your dream smile, you will need to maintain the colour and look after your teeth. The best way to do this is to practice good oral hygiene. Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing regularly can keep your teeth brilliant and white and your gums healthy.

Regular visits to a dental hygienist will also help to keep your teeth as clean and make sure your new smile stays as white as possible. Making sure that you drink plenty of water both during and after eating will help to ‘wash’ your teeth and clean off any residual food and drink that could cause staining over time.

You can protect your whitened teeth by using a whitening toothpaste to help reduce stains. Your dentist will be able to recommend a toothpaste that you can use to help keep your teeth pearly white for as long as possible.

If you do consume drinks such as fruit juices or smoothies after having a whitening treatment, it may help to drink them through a straw. This allows the drink, and subsequently the stains, to bypass your teeth, it may also help if your teeth are feeling sensitive.

Think about it this way, if a substance is strong enough to stain a white shirt, then it is strong enough to stain your teeth.

Other Factors to Consider

Dental bleaching is not the only way to achieve a brighter, whiter smile. Other cosmetic dentistry treatments such as crowns and veneers can also help you achieve your dream smile. At Revitalise, using the state-of-the-art technology in our on-site laboratory, we can colour match any crowns or veneers you have fitted to match your natural teeth.

It is important to note that these treatment options are permanent and irreversible as they require your natural teeth to be altered using a minimally invasive procedure that removes part of the enamel on your tooth. These two treatments are usually reserved to treat intrinsic stains or when teeth are badly damaged or decaying. When used to fix issues with the aesthetics of teeth, they can not only alter the colour but also the shape and size of your teeth.

Both solutions act as a protective barrier. Crowns sit over your natural tooth acting as a cap and protecting it from all sides. Veneers are designed to only cover the front of a tooth, similar to a false nail.

While crowns and veneers can be colour matched to your natural teeth, the colour cannot be changed once they are fixed in place. Because they are made from ceramic, the bleaching agents in the whitening gels cannot penetrate the surface of crowns and veneers. If you wish to get a whiter smile and are having a crown or veneer fitted, you will need to get your natural teeth whitened first. This allows our highly skilled dental technicians to carefully colour match your final prosthetics to your desired shade.

How long a tooth whitening treatment will take and how white your smile will become depends on a range of factors. Mainly, it depends on how badly discoloured your teeth are to begin with. The yellower they are, the more intensive your treatment will need to be. It also depends on the shade of white you want to achieve and also how committed you are to regular top up treatments.

Find Out More

Tooth discolouration is a natural occurrence that can be expected to some degree as you age. But there are ways to maintain your colour and retain your beautiful smile.

How long teeth whitening lasts depends on two factors; how you get your teeth whitened and how you maintain them. When getting your teeth whitened, it is important to speak to a qualified dental professional. They will be able to advise you on the best treatment option for you, your lifestyle and address any issues you may have such as sensitive teeth.

Ultimately, how long teeth whitening lasts depends on how well you look after your teeth. Maintaining good oral hygiene practices and avoiding highly staining foods like tea and coffee, curry and BBQ sauce can help to prolong the whiteness of your teeth. The better you treat your teeth, the whiter they will stay.

If you avoid consuming staining substances and practice good oral hygiene, then your bleaching treatment can last between 6-12 months before you will need to top up your whitening.

At Revitalise, we are fortunate to have world-renowned cosmetic dentist, Dr Jason Smithson on hand to help you achieve all your smile goals. Working with the Boutique Whitening system, you will receive a personalised tooth whitening treatment plan tailored to your lifestyle and needs.

If you have any questions about teeth whitening, how to use the trays or gels or ways to maintain the results you achieve please do not hesitate to get in contact. Call 01872 555 911 or send an email to hello@revitalisedentalcentre.co.uk and a member of our expert team will be on hand to advise and book you in for a consultation.

About the author

Author

Jason Smithson is an internationally renowned cosmetic and reconstructive dentist formerly of London’s Harley Street Medical District, he is now based in St Agnes, Cornwall where he offers dentistry, dental-education and medico-legal expert witness services. World-class crowns, veneers and direct composite resin artistry are delivered with uncompromising standards bespoke to the patient’s individual requirements. He is considered to be the ‘Dentist’s Dentist’ and regularly treats other dentists; many of whom travel from throughout the UK to see him. Dr Smithson is an ‘In Demand’ presenter and is perhaps the most prolific in the UK. He is considered by his peers to be an authority on aesthetic dentistry and has presented to audiences on every continent over the past 10 years. He is a true innovator and pioneered the use of Dental Operating Microscope in teaching Direct Resin Artistry to other dentists in the UK; he is the author of numerous articles and a book on crowns in aesthetic dentistry.

Connect with Jason Smithson on LinkedIn.

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“The minute I met Martin, I just knew he was so calm and relaxing. So then we had a discussion and Martin said what he could do and it had to be what our pocket could afford as well and we went ahead with it. The experience I had at this dentist was unbelievable, it was a journey I loved every minute of.”


Client: Dee
Treatment: Dental Implants

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“There’s always smiling, handshakes, hugs and plenty of tea and coffee. They looked after my husband who was there for the day. They do the sedation and Hayley looked after me. Obviously I was unaware of exactly what they were doing, but they always make you feel so comfortable. Although you’re nervous, I don’t think I could’ve gone and got the same treatment anywhere else.”


Client: Carolyn
Treatment: Dental Implants

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