Even if your teeth are dingy, yellowed, stained or dull, you can get them white again. Whether you have a professional whitening procedure, use a natural method or purchase whitening strips, your results will not be permanent.
How long your teeth remain white depends on the beverages and foods you consume. If you drink dark beverages including coffee and soda, the whiteness can begin fading within about a month.
If you avoid the types of beverages known to stain teeth, your teeth can remain white for a year before you need a touch-up or another treatment. The amount of whiteness and the period of time it lasts is dependant on several factors including:
• The system you use to whiten your teeth
• The condition of your teeth
• The severity of staining
You can help ensure your results last longer by flossing and brushing your teeth daily and having your teeth cleaned by a dentist every year. You can use an at-home system such as whitening trays and strips to reinforce your whitening procedure.
Why Do Teeth Become Discolored?
When your permanent teeth grow in as a child, they are generally white. This does not mean your teeth are as white as the actors you see on television. The brightness level of teeth is different for everyone.
If your teeth are too white, you will not look natural. Whitening treatments were created to brighten your teeth without detracting from your natural appearance. As you age, teeth discoloration is natural.
There is a wide range of reasons your teeth can become dull, stained and yellow including:
• Chewing or smoking tobacco will cause tooth discolorations.
• Medical conditions can result in diseases causing staining and spots to appear on your tooth enamel.
• The foods and beverages you consume will affect your teeth, Stains can be caused by soda, tea, coffee, potatoes and apples.
• As you age, your tooth enamel will start to wear away resulting in teeth with a brown or yellowish appearance.
• Dental cleanings are necessary for the removal of tartar and plaque. If you do not have your teeth cleaned every year they will become discolored.
• Your genetics determine the whiteness and thickness of your tooth enamel.
• Your teeth can become discolored due to poor dental hygiene including flossing or brushing improperly.
• Your teeth can become discolored due to damage.
• Specific mouth rinses and medications will discolor your teeth.
• Damage – Trauma can discolor teeth in children and adults.
Stains from red wine and tobacco can become permanent. The risk increases if your dental hygiene is poor. The longer your teeth are exposed to stains, the better the chance they will become permanent.
Medical conditions resulting in discolorations from tartar usually require professional dental treatment. You can remove many stains with systems you can purchase at your local drug store.
Types of Whitening Treatments
The most common applications you can purchase to whiten your teeth include:
• Bleaching products
Toothpaste created to whiten teeth often contains polishing agents or chemicals for the removal of surface stains. If your stains were caused by trauma or medication, you probably will not see any results.
In most cases, results take several weeks to appear. Using a whitening toothpaste on a regular basis should improve the whiteness of your teeth. If you continue the same habits that initially caused your stains, they will reappear.
Strips and gels usually whiten your teeth with peroxide. If you use the treatment for approximately two weeks, you should see results. Expect your results to last for approximately four months after your treatments are complete.
Stronger products are used by a dentist for professional whitening than you can purchase. This type of bleaching agent will not damage your soft tissue or gums. You will see immediate results from professional whitening.
The typical treatment requires between 30 and 90 minutes. If your teeth are severely stained or yellowed, more than one treatment may be necessary to get your teeth white. In most cases, a professional whitening lasts for about one year.
Your dental hygiene, lifestyle and eating habits will impact how long your teeth will stay white.
Laser Teeth Whitening
Laser teeth whitening offers you a wide range of benefits including the use of professional equipment. The process starts when your teeth are coated with peroxide gel. A laser is then used by a professional for the activation of the bleaching agent.
We want you to be aware you will be exposed to infrared emissions during your treatment. There are other options using different kinds of light to decrease infrared emissions. This decreases the amount of heat you are exposed to.
Your entire mouth is penetrated by the light at the same time. This means your treatment requires less time. Your teeth can be whitened a maximum of eight shades. Your results are more dramatic than with products you can purchase at the store.
The cost of your treatment is dependent on the condition of your teeth. The average laser therapy session begins at roughly $500. You can enjoy your results for at least a few months depending on your lifestyle.
If you want to decrease your expense, there are home treatments offered by numerous dentists. A mold of your teeth is prepared for you to take home. You also receive instructions and the necessary bleaching agents.
We have found this type of kit ideal for touching up discolorations between your treatments.
Your Results and Taking Care of Your Teeth
To ensure your results last as long as possible, you need to take good care of your teeth before and after your treatment. You should conduct proper dental hygiene habits including brushing and flossing your teeth a minimum of two times per day.
Using a whitening toothpaste can help your results last longer. If you chew or smoke tobacco, your result will not last nearly as long.
Limiting Specific Foods and Beverages After Your Whitening Treatment
If you consume beverages or foods on a regular basis that are likely to stain your teeth, we recommend eliminating them from your diet or decreasing the amounts. The foods you need to be careful with include:
• Red wine, tea, tomato juice and coffee
• Foods and beverages with a high sugar content
• Foods containing artificial colors
• Acidic beverages including alcohol and soft drinks
Any food capable of permanently staining a white piece of clothing can leave stains on your teeth. After your treatment, your teeth can become sensitive for a few days. Your best option is to avoid cold and hot foods right after your treatment.
How Long Does Teeth Whitening Take?
The time required is directly based on the type of stains, the amount of whitening necessary for your teeth and the type of system you are using. Following the directions included with your product is important.
The majority of systems require use for between three and four weeks before you see your desired results. The amount of whitening product you use is also dependent on the amount of staining.
Most treatments require between 30 and 60 minutes to complete. You can find a wide variety of teeth whitening products online, at your local drugstore and through your dentist. You can also have a treatment right at your dentist’s office.
Most dental treatments can be completed within one to two visits. You should see results in a couple of hours if not immediately. If you choose a teeth whitening kit, you will most likely need to wear a mouthpiece every night.
You should begin to notice a difference in the shade of your teeth in about a month. You need to make certain the solution covers all of your teeth to receive the best possible results.
The Bottom Line
There are a lot of factors that impact the whiteness of your teeth after treatment. We recommend having realistic expectations before you start the process. If your teeth are badly stained, you need to allow more time for the share of white you want.
Once you are satisfied with your results, you need to take steps to help ensure your results last. Your best options are good oral hygiene and habits. Using a whitening toothpaste with fluoride will help keep your smile white while protecting your teeth.
If the whitening effect begins to fade, you may need a touch-up as opposed to another complete treatment.