Teeth whitening gives you a brighter, whiter smile and can make you feel more confident about the way you look. If you’re considering teeth whitening, you have lots of options, from at-home, over-the-counter whitening kits to in-office treatments.
There’s a big difference between at-home whitening and in-office teeth whitening, in terms of results, cost and duration. Generally speaking, your results will last longer and be a lot more noticeable if you choose in-office treatment.
How Long At-Home Teeth Whitening Lasts
How long the results from teeth whitening at home last depends on the type of product you use and how consistent you are in using it. Some at-home products, such as whitening pens or whitening toothpaste, aren’t going to provide very long-lasting results. With whitening toothpaste, it can take several weeks before you see results and those results usually only last for a few months.
The results from whitening pens also don’t last very long and aren’t very noticeable.
At-home whitening strips and gel trays tend to provide better results than pens and toothpaste. Whitening strips vary in terms of effectiveness, but the better quality ones can provide results that last for six months. Gel trays can also provide relatively long-lasting results, sometimes up to a year.
How Long In-Office Teeth Whitening Lasts
Seeing a dentist for teeth whitening does cost more than using an over-the-counter, at-home product. But for many people, the longer last results and reduced effort are worth the higher cost. Usually, you only need to see your dentist for a single teeth whitening treatment to get the results you want. Those results can last up to three years.
What Affects Teeth Whitening Results
The type of whitening agent used and how you care for your teeth all affect the results you get from teeth whitening.
There are two types of stains on the teeth, intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic stains form inside of the teeth. They can develop due to aging, medication use and illness. Intrinsic stains are usually more challenging to remove and often require professional treatment.
Extrinsic stains are on the outside of the teeth. Food, drink and tobacco smoke can all contribute to extrinsic stains. Most at-home whitening products only treat extrinsic stains, which is why they don’t provide dramatic or long-lasting results.
Your oral hygiene habits also affect how long teeth whitening lasts. If you schedule a whitening appointment with a dentist but then don’t brush or floss regularly and skip your six-month check-up and teeth cleaning, it’s likely your results won’t last very long.
How to Keep Your Smile Brighter for Longer
Keeping up with a regular oral care routine will help you keep your teeth bright and white for as long as possible. That means brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily. Using a whitening toothpaste will help to keep stains to a minimum. It’s also a good idea to see your dentist at least twice a year for cleanings and exams.
The foods you eat and the beverages you drink can also affect the color of your teeth. Some foods, such as berries and chocolate, stain the teeth. Dark beverages, such as coffee and red wine, also contribute to stains. Try rinsing with water after eating or drinking stain-causing foods, to help maintain your bright smile.
If you want long-lasting whitening results, in-office treatment is the way to go.