How Long Do Teeth Whitening Results Last?

How long do teeth whitening results last

Getting your teeth whitened is one of the easiest ways to makeover your smile. Additionally, professional teeth whitening is also highly affordable and yields excellent results. For these reasons, it is considered to be the most popular cosmetic dental treatment.

If you are considering having your teeth whitened by your local cosmetic dentist, you may be wondering how long your teeth will keep their bright appearance. This is a common concern among individuals who want to get their teeth whitened, but are afraid that it won’t last. 

closeup of a woman biting into a strawberry

Unfortunately, there is no one answer to the question of how long teeth whitening results last. On average, results generally last a year, however there are cases where they may only last six months and other cases where they can last up to three years. 

The primary reason for this large discrepancy is the simple fact that the lifespan of teeth whitening results is highly dependent on one’s individual habits, specifically what you eat, how well you clean your teeth, and whether or not you smoke. Other factors, such as age and certain medication, can also affect your results. 

This is because professional teeth whitening is used to remove existing stains, but provides no protection against new stains. During a professional teeth whitening procedure, a whitener is applied to the surface of your teeth. This whitener is then absorbed into the enamel and dentin layers of the tooth where it initiates a chemical reaction that dissolves discolorations. While this is extremely effective in removing stains, the whitener is naturally absorbed by the body within 24 hours and is no longer effective at that time. 

Just like any other cosmetic procedure, maintenance is very important. We recommend and provide all the materials and instructions for our patients who go through a professional whitening procedure to continue the home maintenance procedure once or twice monthly. With a proper home and professional hygiene care and  and continuation of home whitening maintenance patients will keep their smile almost as white as the day after their initial professional whitening.  

lower half of a woman's face brushing her teeth with whitening toothpaste

Additionally, the lifespan of your whitening results will depend upon the amount of stains you expose your teeth to after having your teeth whitened. Regularly exposing your teeth to new stains will cause them to discolor faster, whereas limiting stain exposure can prolong their bright appearance. This is why the lifespan of your whitening treatment depends primarily on your individual habits. 

The first habit that affects the color of your teeth is what you eat and drink on a regular basis. Regularly consuming foods and beverages that are densely pigmented means that your teeth are more likely to stain faster. Another habit that affects your whitening results is your oral hygiene habits. If you brush right after consuming highly pigmented foods or beverages, you can decrease the amount of staining. Finally, the nicotine and tar found in cigarettes are almost guaranteed to stain your teeth, so if you smoke you can expect your results to fade faster. 

At this point, you may be wondering if over the counter whitening treatments have a similar lifespan. The simple answer to this question is that the results of over the counter whitening treatments will be affected in the same way as professional teeth whitening. The main difference, however, is that professional teeth whitening uses a stronger whitener that produces more dramatic results in less time. This ultimately makes it seem like the results last longer since the results remove more stains instantly, rather than gradually lightening your teeth over time. 

Overall, the results from professional teeth whitening can last anywhere from six months to three years. The main determining factor in how long your teeth remain white is your eating and oral hygiene habits, as well as whether or not you smoke. Additionally, even though over the counter whiteners have a similar lifespan, professional whitening services can produce more dramatic results that have the illusion of lasting longer. 

Dr. Sam Sadati wearing black suite portrait

Dr. Sadati possesses extensive experience in all aspects of advanced restorative dentistry, with an emphasis in cosmetic and implant dentistry.  He has attained Accredited Fellow status in the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), the most rigorous, demanding credentialing process in the world. He is the only AACD Accredited Fellow in South Florida.