Your daily indulgences in coffee, soft drinks, alcohol and those sweet, juicy fruit berries can leave a lasting impact on your teeth, and that impact often comes in the form of staining. This staining is called tooth discoloration, which is a common cosmetic concern for many.
To tackle this dental issue, teeth whitening procedures have become a popular solution over time, to achieve the clean and hygienic smile you have always wanted.
However, it’s not uncommon for people to notice staining returning relatively quickly after teeth whitening last. If you have been experiencing staining shortly after teeth whitening, this blog aims to provide you with the answers you seek.
Why do Teeth get Stained? What Habits Cause them?
Before educating you about the duration of teeth whitening, let’s explore why teeth become stained in the first place and what habits contribute to staining. Teeth staining can be broadly categorized into two types:
- Extrinsic Stains: Extrinsic stains primarily affect the surface of the teeth, making them visible on the outer enamel layer. These surface level stains are caused by external factors such as the consumption of beverages like coffee, tea, alcohol, and soda, as well as certain foods like berries and curry. Tobacco use is another significant contributor to extrinsic staining.
- Intrinsic Stains: Intrinsic stains originate within the tooth’s structure, affecting the dentin, the layer beneath the enamel. These stains often appear as deeper discolorations that may not respond well to surface-level whitening methods. Intrinsic staining can be the result of various factors, including aging, trauma to the tooth, or the use of tetracycline antibiotics during tooth development.
What are the different methods of teeth whitening at home?
Teeth whitening at home is a convenient and cost-effective way to brighten your smile. Common methods include:
- Over-the-Counter Whitening Kits: These kits typically consist of whitening strips or trays that you apply yourself. They contain lower concentrations of whitening agents compared to professional treatments.
- Whitening Toothpaste: Special toothpaste formulated with mild abrasives and polishing agents can help remove surface stains over time.
- Home Remedies: Some people use natural remedies like baking soda or hydrogen peroxide to whiten their teeth, but these should be used cautiously and under professional guidance.
How long does teeth whiten at home last?
The duration of teeth whitening at home can differ in a minute way, depending on the method used and individual factors. Over-the-counter products may provide results that last a few months, while professional-grade at-home kits prescribed by dentists can offer longer-lasting effects, up to a year or more. Regular maintenance, such as touch-up treatments and avoiding stain-causing substances, can extend the results.
What are the different methods of professional teeth whitening?
Professional teeth whitening methods are administered by dental professionals and include:
Conventional Teeth Whitening (In-Office Whitening):
- Clinical Procedure: Conventional teeth whitening, often referred to as in-office whitening, is a clinical procedure performed by a dental professional. It’s considered the gold standard for achieving rapid and dramatic results.
- Application: A high concentration whitening gel, typically containing hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, is applied directly to the teeth. In some cases, a special light or laser may be used to activate the bleaching agent.
Laser Teeth Whitening (Zoom Teeth Whitening):
- Clinical Procedure: Laser teeth whitening is a variation of in-office whitening. It involves the application of a high concentration whitening gel, which is then activated by a laser or light source.
- Activation: The light or laser energy enhances the effectiveness of the whitening gel, potentially speeding up the process and making it more efficient.
At-Home Kits Provided by Dentists (Take-Home Whitening Kits):
- Clinical Supervision: Take-home whitening kits are prescribed and supervised by a dentist, ensuring that the treatment is tailored to the patient’s needs and used correctly.
- Custom-Fit Trays: Dentists create custom-fit trays that snugly fit the patient’s teeth, which helps even in the application of the whitening gel.
- Whitening Gel: Patients receive a professional-grade whitening gel that is typically more potent than over-the-counter products.
- Treatment Duration: Take-home kits are used by patients at their convenience, usually for a specified duration each day.
How long does professional teeth whitening last?
Professional teeth whitening can deliver longer-lasting results than at-home methods. In-office treatments may keep your teeth looking their whitest for a year or more (3 years max as per common observation), while take-home kits prescribed by your dentist can provide results that last from several months to over a year. The longevity largely depends on your oral care routine, dietary choices, and lifestyle habits.
If you’re eager to achieve quick and noticeable results, professional teeth whitening is the way to go. However, if you’re watching your budget or just want to try teeth whitening, an at-home kit might be a more cost-effective choice. While teeth whitening can certainly help you attain that brilliant smile you desire, it’s important to maintain your results through good oral hygiene and wise lifestyle choices.