How Long Does Teeth Whitening Last?

Teeth whitening is a procedure performed by a dentist to improve the color and brightness of teeth. Thanks to the whitening process, patients with yellow or discolored teeth have the opportunity to regain a healthy and bright smile with only a few sessions.

How Long Does Teeth Whitening Last?

Teeth whitening is an aesthetic dental treatment whose results decline over time. In essence, the patient is responsible for maintaining the whitening effect. Habits such as smoking or frequently consuming strong-colored foods and drinks like coffee, red wine, black tea, beets, and cherries will gradually reduce the new white color and cause teeth to return to a stained-like color.

Good oral hygiene plays a critical role in maintaining a bright and luminous smile. In any case, the color of your teeth will not return to their original dark shade; it simply relapses, and then a repeated whitening dose is required every 1-2 years.

Causes of Teeth Discoloration

Teeth color varies from person to person; shades of yellow and gray are very common. Some people are born with noticeably more yellow teeth, while others complain that their teeth gradually lose their original bright color and become darker.

Tooth discoloration is a normal process, as, over the years, a more significant amount of dentin is deposited inside them. Dentin (dental tissue under the tooth enamel) has a darker yellow color, by nature, and is essentially what determines the color of our teeth. In combination with the abrasion of tooth enamel, the deposition of dentin, which also occurs over time, often justifies the phenomenon of tooth discoloration.

Various other factors responsible for teeth discoloration include smoking, consumption of red wine, or soft drinks with pigments. Moreover, poor oral hygiene leads to the retention of plaque and tartar on the surface of our teeth. Old, damaged fillings and black fillings of amalgam give them a gray or yellow color, which is often present in denervated teeth, or those that have died and need to be denervated. In addition, teeth with old metal-ceramic tooth crowns (cases) show a gray color in the gum area.

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When Should A Patient Whiten His Teeth?

How many times don’t we remember a colleague of ours who had a characteristic black tooth? Most likely, this tooth had been denervated in the past and “blackened” over time. In this case, whitening can offer the patient a beautiful and bright smile again. People who detect a significant change in their teeth color should go to the dentist for whitening.

Teeth Whitening Procedure

During the process, whitening substances in a gel, which release oxygen, are placed on the yellow or discolored teeth; oxygen neutralizes pigments without damaging your teeth. These substances are placed on the surface of your teeth and gradually penetrate the enamel and dentin. They get self-activated and decomposed in water and reactive hydroxyl ions, which attach to the pigment particles and chemically decompose them. The action of whitening products can be enhanced by the application of unique lamps using LED or laser.

The whitening substances used are

  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Carbamide peroxide

These whitening products are used in various content. However, carbamide peroxide is the preferred choice nowadays.

Teeth Whitening Techniques

Teeth Whitening In The Dental Office

Teeth whitening in the doctor’s office is done under the supervision of your dentist and lasts about 1 hour. More precisely, the dentist cleans your gums thoroughly to remove tartar and polish your teeth. Next, the gums are isolated, with a unique isolation tool, so that the whitening material does not come into contact and irritate them.

Immediately after, the whitening substance is placed on the dental surface of the teeth that will be whitened. The material remains there, according to the manufacturer’s instructions, usually for 30 – 40 minutes. Finally, the dentist rinses the whitening material off, and the patient is ready with a bright and radiant smile.

Teeth whitening in the doctor’s office typically average 2-3 sessions, lasting one hour each, so that the color of your teeth changes satisfactorily. Some patients are happy with two sessions, while others might require four sessions. Visible results with whitening in the dentist’s office are usually discernible after the second session, depending on the color of the patient’s teeth and the brightness that he wishes to achieve.

It makes sense for yellow or very dark gray teeth to whiten faster and more strikingly than those already white. In terms of cost, this depends on the number of sessions the patient decides to have.

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Teeth Whitening at Home

Teeth whitening at home is managed by the patient himself, posing special whitening toothpaste filled with whitening material given to him by the dentist. At the first appointment, the dentists will clean the patient’s gums and teeth and take color and tooth imprints to achieve a special personalized aesthetic effect.

Prefabricated whitening kits are also commercially available, but the trays are difficult to fit in every patient’s mouth. With prefabricated teeth trays, there is a possibility that the whitening material will be pushed onto the gums and irritate them. For this reason, it is better to make personalized trays that fit right on your teeth.

The personalized tray is ready at the second appointment, and the dentist checks if it fits exactly on the patient’s teeth. If everything is all right, then the dentist delivers the imprints, along with the whitening substance, to the patient and gives him the necessary instructions for using and applying the material. There are many whitening materials on the market with different contents. Depending on the selected one, the individual might have various treatment times for the length of application per day and the total number of days.

The cost of this whitening technique depends on the duration of the whole process and consequently on the aesthetic result desired by the patient. A bright white smile requires the consumption of more whitening substances and therefore requires higher costs. It should also be considered that this technique includes the price of the dentist, who makes the teeth whitening, but the aesthetic result will last at least 5-6 years if the teeth are properly cleaned and cared for.

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Teeth Whitening Procedure at Both The Dental Office and Your Home

A combination of the two techniques described above. Depending on the philosophy of each dentist, a whitening session is performed in the doctor’s office while the patient continues the process at home for 7-10 days or vice versa. It is worth noting that, through this technique, the patient has the best and most stable result he could obtain.

Many times patients wonder which method gives the best results. The answer is that each patient “fits” a different whitening technique. What should be noted is that the difference between the three techniques lies in the duration of the whitening effect. Teeth whitening at home ensures more intense and stable results over time. On the other hand, whitening in the dentist’s office immediately offers the patient a bright smile when conditions require an immediate, luminous tooth effect.

What Should The Patient Watch Out For During Teeth Whitening Therapy?

The patient who has started the teeth whitening process should:

  • Visit the dentist to monitor the course of treatment.
  • Avoid consuming foods and beverages with dyes, such as beets, red wine or braised foods, red fruits like cherries and strawberries. This balanced diet should be followed for at least one week after the teeth whitening procedure.
  • Maintain excellent oral hygiene, according to the dentist’s instructions.

To Whom Teeth Whitening Therapy Is Addressed?

Teeth whitening therapy is not just for actors, TV presenters, or show models. It concerns every person who wishes to improve the image of his teeth, always within a reasonable framework and taking the advice and instructions of his treating dentist.

It is noted that in any case, a fundamental prerequisite for a patient to get teeth whitening therapy is to have healthy gums and teeth. A patient with gingivitis, periodontitis, decayed teeth, or tooth debris, must first cure the dental problems before scheduling a teeth whitening appointment.

Contraindications To The Dental Whitening Process

It should be mentioned that dental whitening should not be performed on all patients as the whitening material can only act on natural teeth and not on artificial prosthetic restorations. Whitening agents can not be applied to patients with fillings, crowns, bridges, porcelain, or resin veneers on their front teeth. Finally, teeth whitening is recommended to be avoided by pregnant or lactating mothers, as there are still insufficient research data to exclude the effect of whitening materials on both fetal development and breast milk composition.

Is It Possible For Your Teeth To Get Damaged Due To Dental Whitening Therapy?

The previously held view that teeth whitening destroys your teeth has been debunked, as improved teeth whitening products are now on the market that are not as aggressive to teeth as the first-time used ones. Since whitening is performed in collaboration with the dentist, using approved materials, and following the doctor’s instructions, whitening therapy can not damage your teeth.

The only negative symptom is a slight sensitivity of your teeth, which does not last more than 2-3 days and can be alleviated with special desensitizers recommended by the dentist.

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Are Commercial Whitening Products Harmless?

Dental whitening performed at home using professional whitening products should be avoided without proper instructions from a licensed provider. There are too many unknowns for a person to self prescribe professional whitening products, amount to use, and length of time to be used. Excessive and uncontrolled use of teeth whitening materials can cause gum irritation or even severe tooth sensitivity

As for whitening toothpaste, they may or may not be able to whiten your teeth and bring about the result of a professional procedure depending on the amount of discoloration and other underlying conditions. These kinds of toothpaste are recommended by dentists, usually after the whitening process, to maintain the aesthetic effect of the service. The choice of whitening toothpaste should be made carefully since some contain hard grains that reject the enamel and can ultimately be destructive to your teeth.

Can Dental Whitening Be Performed on Every Tooth?

Teeth whitening is performed on the front six to eight teeth of the upper and lower jaw, depending on how wide each patient’s smile is and how many teeth are visible in the smile.

Does The Teeth Whitening Process Hurt?

It is a completely painless process. The only negative symptom is a slight temporary sensitivity of your teeth, which lasts from a few hours to 2-3 days. This sensitivity can be immediately treated with special desensitizing agents (gels, specialized toothpaste), which the dentist recommends according to the needs of each patient.

Is It Possible To Improve The Color of Crowns And Seals?

All teeth in a patient’s mouth can acquire a brighter color except for teeth bearing crowns, white resin seals, or porcelain veneers. That happens, as whitening products can only affect and act on natural teeth and not prosthetic restorative materials.

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