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How Long Will Teeth Whitening Last?

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A bright, healthy smile is an important thing. But over time, plenty of different factors can cause visible discolouration, leading to yellow teeth and a duller smile. Fortunately, this can be addressed with teeth whitening!

With in-office teeth whitening, a dentist can apply a special gel to your teeth, and then use a light to activate the gel. This helps break down stains and discolouration, leaving your smile bright and clear. These results often last between 1-3 years depending on your lifestyle. 

Why Do Teeth Get Discoloured?

Many people don’t know this, but most people don’t have naturally-pearly-white teeth. Instead, teeth are most often a yellow or off-white colour. This isn’t a problem; it’s just how most teeth are.

This colour comes from the mix of your enamel, which is usually partially transparent, and the dentin, the inner structure of the tooth. This dentin is often yellow or off-white, leading to your natural tooth colour.

However, the enamel itself can also become stained over time. This is usually due to darkly pigmented food and drinks, such as coffee, tea, berries, and red wine. And along with diet, your lifestyle habits play a part as well—smoking and poor dental hygiene can cause more discolouration, leading to yellower teeth.

There are three primary types of discolouration:

  • Intrinsic staining, where stains within the tooth structure itself show and cause the discolouration
  • Extrinsic, where the surface of the tooth itself is stained with particles
  • Age-related, the natural wear and tear of the tooth caused by the aging process

How Does Teeth Whitening Work?

So what do you do when you have tooth discolouration? You can always visit a dentist to try teeth whitening.

Teeth whitening uses a bleaching agent—usually hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide—is used to penetrate the enamel. This helps to break down the stain into smaller, less visible components, leaving the teeth whiter and brighter once done.

There are several types of teeth whitening:

  • In-office whitening, where a whitening gel is applied to the teeth. Then a special light is used to activate the bleaching agent and begin the process.
  • Over-the-counter whitening strips and gels, which often use lower concentrations of whitening agents but can be used more frequently.
  • Whitening toothpaste and mouthwash

How Long Does Teeth Whitening Take?

When you’re getting your teeth whitened, the duration will depend on the method being used.

At False Creek Dental Centre, we use the Zoom in-office whitening treatment. This includes a dental cleaning and exam, making it an excellent all-around dentistry approach. It begins with a cleaning of your plaque and tartar buildup, at least two weeks prior to the gel treatment. The whitening gel is applied to the teeth and activated with a special LED light to break down stains and brighten your teeth. This entire process takes around 2 hours or so, depending on your unique needs.

We can then provide you with a take-home kit to help maintain your new bright smile. These kits only take a few minutes to use and help prolong your results. Between the Zoom treatment and the home kit, you can have almost immediate results for your teeth.

Tips for Maintaining Teeth Whitening Results

While teeth whitening can provide a significant improvement to your smile, it’s important to note that results aren’t permanent—especially if you continue any habits that lead to staining. Usually, you can expect:

  • For Zoom in-office treatment, results often last between 1-3 years.
  • For the take-home kits, results often last for several months, depending on how regular your use is.

These results greatly depend on your lifestyle and habits. If you’re looking to maintain your whitened teeth, you’ll need to make sure that you:

  • Maintain good oral hygiene. Brush for 2 minutes 2 times a day, and make sure to use a fluoride toothpaste. Don’t forget to regularly floss and use mouthwash as well.
  • Watch what you eat and drink. Try to limit the consumption of foods that cause staining. It can also help to use a straw when drinking staining liquids, as this reduces how much of the liquid touches the teeth. Rinsing your mouth after consumption can help reduce long-term staining as well.
  • Avoid tobacco. Tobacco is a common cause of tooth discolouration and has plenty of negative health effects. Quitting can help improve oral health and maintain your whitening results.
  • Regularly visit your dentist so they can monitor your oral health.

By taking a well-rounded approach, you can preserve your whitened teeth for a long, long time.

A woman in a dentist's office smiling and shaking hands with her dentist while a dental assistant is working in the background.

Teeth Whitening in Vancouver

You deserve to have a bright smile to be proud of. So if you’re in the Vancouver area, reach out to our team here at False Creek Dental Centre! During a teeth-whitening session with our team, you can have visible results quickly and effectively. We’re here to help, so schedule an appointment with our team and take the first step towards smiling brightly.

Written by Dr. Lisa Reino

Dr. Lisa Reino, a native of Dunbar, Vancouver, is a highly accomplished dentist with a passion for transforming smiles and empowering lives. With a strong educational background, she obtained her B.Sc. in Psychology from UBC, followed by her DMD in 1993. Driven by a commitment to excellence, Dr. Reino further honed her skills through a one-year residency in hospital dentistry. She also pursued specialized training in smoking cessation and oral cancer screening, ensuring comprehensive care for her patients.

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