Blog Hero

How Long Does Teeth Whitening Last?

Book Appointment
A close-up smile of a young woman showing her beautiful white teeth.

Dentists can offer a broad suite of services. There are general dentistry services designed to promote optimal oral health, but there are also cosmetic services like veneers and teeth whitening that are meant to enhance the look of your smile.  

Professional teeth whitening is a popular choice for those who want to amplify the radiance and vitality of their smile, but the duration of teeth whitening results can vary greatly depending on the method used, from a few months to 3 years with the right care

When you visit us for teeth whitening and other cosmetic services, we can provide you with detailed post-procedure care instructions and professional advice to help promote the longevity of your newly brightened smile.

How Do Teeth Get Stained?

There are a lot of factors that can contribute to tooth discoloration, so it can be hard to avoid. The more you understand what causes teeth to lose their lustre, the better prepared you can be to combat it.

Firstly, there are 2 types of tooth stains: extrinsic and intrinsic. 

Extrinsic stains affect the outside of your tooth—your enamel—and can be caused by:

  • Red sauces
  • Red wine
  • Coffee and tea
  • Chocolate
  • Smoking and other tobacco products

Intrinsic stains reach beyond the enamel, affecting the inside of the tooth and often turning it grey. This type of tooth stain can be harder to treat with over-the-counter whitening methods. 

Intrinsic stains may be caused by:

  • Genetics
  • Excessive fluoride use
  • Tooth injuries
  • Medications
  • Tooth decay

Your teeth could also change colour simply due to aging. As we get older, the enamel on our teeth can wear away, revealing the yellow colour of the dentin beneath. Additionally, all the intrinsic and extrinsic factors affecting our teeth can pile up over the years, leading to gradual changes in tooth colour.

Is Tooth Discolouration Dangerous?

While many people see stained teeth as just a beauty issue, sometimes it can mean there’s something more serious going on, like tooth decay. That’s why we suggest having a good chat with your dentist before you start any teeth whitening treatments.

With a dental exam, we can check your teeth to find out if staining is a sign of something else—and support your health while helping you work towards your goals for a bright smile.

How Does At-Home Teeth Whitening Work?

There are many at-home teeth whitening solutions designed to treat extrinsic stains and help lighten tooth colour, including:

  • Toothpaste
  • Strips
  • Bleach trays

These are popular tools and generally safe ways to enhance the appearance of your teeth. It’s a good idea to talk to your dentist before using any at-home methods. We can help you determine which methods are suited to supporting your health and helping you meet your goals.

Be sure your whitening product has been approved by the Canadian Dental Association (CDA), and follow the manufacturer’s directions along with your dentist’s recommendations for use.

How Does In-Office Teeth Whitening Work?

When you get your teeth whitened at the dentist’s office, your treatment can make use of powerful concentrations of hydrogen peroxide and modern whitening techniques. The advanced technology and methods used for in-office teeth whitening can be particularly helpful for dealing with stains living inside the tooth.

To really get rid of those intrinsic stains, the whitening needs to go past the hard outer tooth layer. A higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide can reach the inner tooth layers by going through the enamel. There, it interacts with the compounds discolouring your tooth and bleaches them.

Depending on the person and the method used, the results of teeth whitening can last a few months or up to 3 years.

LED Tooth Whitening

Sometimes, dentists can use a special LED light to help with teeth whitening. These treatments involve using gum blockers to protect your mouth before putting a special gel on your teeth. Shining a high-powered LED light on your teeth activates the gel to help break down stains on and inside your teeth.

A young woman flossing her teeth to reduce stains and help her teeth stay whiter for longer.

How Can You Maintain Teeth Whitening Results?

Your dentist can perform a teeth whitening, but it’s up to you to make it last. 

Here are some tips for keeping that bright smile around:

Maintain a Healthy Oral Hygiene Routine

It may sound obvious, but maintaining a healthy oral hygiene routine is crucial for prolonging the effects of teeth whitening. This means brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing daily. 

Keeping your teeth and gums free from plaque and bacteria can reduce stains to help your teeth look white for longer.

Limit Stain-Causing Foods & Drinks

Certain foods and drinks are notorious for causing tooth staining, such as coffee, tea, red wine, and sugary sodas. While it may be hard to give up your morning cup of coffee, limiting or avoiding these stain-causing substances can help prolong the effects of teeth whitening. We may also recommend that you avoid them altogether for at least the first 48 hours after a teeth whitening procedure.

If you do indulge in these foods and drinks, try thoroughly rinsing your mouth with water afterward to remove stray particles.

Consider Touch-Up Treatments

Over time, it’s natural for your teeth to fade or become gradually discoloured. You can always talk to your dentist about touch-up treatments when that happens. Depending on your concerns, these treatments could involve in-office or at-home whitening.

Schedule Regular Dental Cleanings

Regular dental cleanings are essential for maintaining a healthy and bright smile. Your dentist or hygienist can remove surface stains and plaque buildup that may be causing your teeth to look dull or discoloured.

Additionally, we can check for any underlying dental issues that may be affecting your teeth and recommend treatments to support both your smile and health.

Show Off Your Inner Smile

Teeth whitening is a popular way to give your smile that extra sparkle. At Zen Dental Centre, we love helping people transform their smiles.

If you’re curious about teeth whitening or any other dental treatments, we’d be happy to chat. Our friendly team is here to help you get the smile you’ve always wanted—a smile that supports your health and happiness. Book your appointment today!

Dr. Ramanjot Sahni

Written by Dr. Ramanjot Sahni

Dr. Sahni attended Boston University, Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, where she graduated with high honours from the faculty of dentistry.
After graduation, she moved to South Surrey with her family. Initially, she practiced across the border in Bellingham, WA, USA. Then, she moved back home to be with her family and has been practicing across the lower mainland for a few years.
Dr. Sahni is a member of both the Canadian Dental Association and the American Dental Association. She is licensed to practice dentistry in British Columbia and Washington State (USA).

More Articles By Dr. Ramanjot Sahni
instagram facebook facebook2 pinterest twitter google-plus google linkedin2 yelp youtube phone location calendar share2 link star-full star star-half chevron-right chevron-left chevron-down chevron-up envelope fax