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How Long Does Teeth Whitening Last? – What To Expect

One of the most frequent questions we get asked as dentists is “how long does teeth whitening last?” The short answer is that it varies. The long answer, however, is that there are any number of factors that can and do dictate the length of time that teeth stay white; so in this post, we’re going to take a closer look at some of those factors and at the end of it, give you an idea of what you can realistically expect.

Before we dive into the finer details, however, it’s important to note that any form of cosmetic teeth whitening is only ever temporary. In other words, it isn’t a permanent fix and at some point, however long that is, patients can expect to return for more treatment if they want to maintain a sparkling smile.

How often that is will depend upon several factors – some you can control and some you can’t. Let’s take a closer look….


Factor number 1 – The type of teeth whitening procedure you opt for.

One of the main factors that dictate how long your teeth will stay white after a procedure is the type of whitening treatment you have. On the one hand, you have your DIY teeth whitening products. You only have to walk into your local pharmacy or store to see a slew of whitening treatments available for you to buy. They can range from toothpaste and gels to whitening strips and whitening pens. Naturally, some will be more effective than others but typically, they contain lower amounts of the whitening agent.

teeth whitening how long does teeth whitening last no gaps dental sydneyThen, somewhere in the middle, you have take-home teeth whitening kits supplied by your friendly local dentist. As a general rule of thumb, these cost more than most of the DIY products that you can order online or buy off the shelf, but that’s because the teeth whitening trays are made specifically for you. More importantly, however, they can also legally contain larger amounts of whitening agent – usually up to 6% hydrogen peroxide or 18% carbamide peroxide. This is the ingredient that lifts the stains from your teeth.

Finally, at the other end of the scale, you can opt for professional chairside teeth whitening performed by your dentist in the dental clinic. Typically, this is the most expensive option costing on average around $800 a session but this is also the treatment that is likely to last the longest. Some estimates give 6-12 months, while others give up to 3 years. However one of the main reasons for the wide estimation is the next factor…


Factor number 2 – Your lifestyle

Let’s face it…we are what we eat – and so too, to a certain degree, are your teeth!

There are many foods and beverages that can and do stain teeth. Red wine, coffee and tomato-based sauces spring to mind. So if you like the odd glass or two of Chianti with a bowl of spaghetti and can’t get by without your daily caffeine fix, then it’s highly probable that a teeth whitening treatment won’t last as long as someone who avoids these foods. Ideally, a diet of salad and water is probably the best thing for prolonging whiter teeth, but in reality  it probably isn’t practical or indeed, much fun.  As a result, it’s difficult to give a ballpark figure to the question “how long does teeth whitening last” without knowing what you like to eat and drink – hence the 6 months to 3 years estimation.

Another lifestyle factor is smoking. While smoking is bad for your body, it’s also bad for your teeth. Chemicals contained within tobacco smoke will over a matter of months cause brown or yellowish staining which can penetrate deep into the enamel. While regular and thorough brushing, flossing and rinsing can help, teeth are unlikely to stay as white after teeth whitening treatment as in someone who eats stain-free food and is a non-smoker.


Factor number 3 – Your age

It’s a sad fact of life. Ageing isn’t always pretty and our teeth are no exception. As we age our tooth enamel naturally thins. This exposes more of the yellowish inner dentin through the tooth, making it look a yellowish-white colour. So, while teeth whitening procedures can whiten the teeth of any person of any age, it isn’t always a level playing field. Therefore where a teeth whitening treatment may last say 18 months on a younger person, the same procedure may not be as dramatic and could only last half that time on someone considerably older.


Factor 4 – Your genetic makeup

Did you know that not everyone has the same colour teeth initially?

During our development, the way in which enamel and the underlying yellow dentin forms is often down to genetic makeup. This is why some people naturally have whiter looking teeth than others.

Also there is evidence to show that being exposed to environmental factors such as the antibiotic tetracycline in the womb, can also lead to teeth becoming less white when properly formed. As such, the degree to which teeth can be whitened will differ from person to person, as will the length of time a particular teeth whitening treatment may last.

So now you know what factors can dictate the longevity of a particular teeth whitening treatment, how long can you expect your teeth whitening treatment to last?

If you are under 30 years of age, have naturally white teeth, are a non-smoker and avoid many teeth-staining foods and beverages, then it isn’t impossible for a professional teeth whitening treatment to last up to 3 years.

On the contrary, if you are older, enjoy the odd glass of red wine or cola and you smoke, then that same treatment may only last for 6 months or less.


The key takeaway is this…

To answer the question “how long does teeth whitening last?” it isn’t possible to give a one-size-fits-all answer as every person and every case is different. This is why when you do an online search you will see such variations in the answer.

If you are interested in professional teeth whitening, then why not contact No Gaps Dental. We have 15 locations spread across the Sydney Metropolitan area, so finding a convenient location and an appointment to suit, is easy. Visit our website to make a booking at a clinic of your choice and take the first steps towards a brighter, whiter smile today!

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