We should never be embarrassed to smile. But unfortunately, many people can experience some degree of self-consciousness when the things we eat or drink start discoloring our teeth. Teeth whitening is a common cosmetic dentistry service that can help you and your smile shine.
The length of time that teeth whitening lasts can vary from several weeks to several years depending on the whitening process used and other individual factors. The type of whitening method is a significant factor in how long the whitening effect lasts, but other factors like diet and genetics can affect the color of your teeth too.
Even though teeth whitening isn’t a permanent fix, several options can provide excellent results for brightening your smile. Your dentist can help you choose the best option for your oral health and whitening goals.
Why Should I Whiten My Teeth?
It may seem like an obvious answer—we get our teeth whitened because they become discolored—but learning why teeth become discolored in the first place can often be a good place to start learning more about why you may want teeth whitening.
Types of Tooth Discolouration
There are 2 types of tooth discolouration, intrinsic and extrinsic.
Extrinsic staining affects your teeth’s outer surface. It’s often caused by things like foods or drinks we ingest. Intrinsic discoloration takes place in your dentin, which is the inner layer of your teeth beneath your enamel. Dental trauma, aging, infections, and some medications could cause this discolouration.
At-home or over-the-counter whitening treatments can be effective for extrinsic staining, but an in-office whitening treatment may be necessary to make a noticeable difference for intrinsic discolouration.
How Long Does Teeth Whitening Last?
The effects of teeth whitening and how long they last can vary based on several factors.
A professional whitening treatment could last for several years, while over-the-counter whitening treatments may only last a few months. Even these time frames aren’t always 100% accurate because there are other factors that can affect them.
For example, your lifestyle can also have a significant effect on how long the results of teeth whitening last.
If a person uses tobacco products or drinks a lot of tooth-staining beverages like wine, coffee, or fruit juices, their whitening results may last for a shorter time than those who do not. A person’s diligence in their oral hygiene routine can also make a difference in how long teeth whitening lasts.
Teeth Whitening Methods
Many people dislike having discolored or stained teeth, and the oral health industry has answered with many different ways to whiten your teeth as a result, including both in-office and at-home treatments.
Many dentists offer professional, in-office whitening treatments. One that we offer our patients at Rockwood Dental is Zoom teeth whitening. During this treatment, a special whitening gel is applied to your teeth while a gum guard is used to protect your gums. Then, an LED light is used to activate the gel for 15 minutes. This treatment can brighten your teeth up to 8 shades.
Some dentists also offer at-home whitening treatments. They typically include a higher concentration of whitening solution than what is available over the counter and a custom-made tray to keep the solution on your teeth while minimizing its contact with your gums.
There is no shortage of over-the-counter teeth whitening solutions on the market. These can be useful for less severe cases of discolouration, but their results may vary. Whitening strips and whitening toothpaste are 2 common options.
One thing to remember is that if you have intrinsic discoloration, it may be unlikely these over-the-counter products give you any results. You should also always speak with your dentist before using these products to confirm they are suitable for your teeth.
Teeth Whitening Aftercare
Because your lifestyle can affect your results from teeth whitening, it’s important to care for your smile after the treatment is complete. One of the most significant things you can do after teeth whitening is to ensure you’re diligent in your oral hygiene routine.
The Canadian Dental Association recommends that you brush at least twice daily and floss at least once a day. Rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash can also help prevent any bacteria buildup, which can lead to staining and cavities.
Additionally, avoiding tobacco products can help your teeth stay white, and minimizing how often you eat staining foods and beverages can also help. Drinks like coffee, wine, or fruit juices can all contribute to staining. Additionally, foods with bright juice or dye can also leave stains.
Discuss Teeth Whitening with Your Dentist at Rockwood Dental
Discolored teeth are a normal part of life. Some experience it more than others, and many of us can’t escape the things that contribute to stained teeth in our diets completely.
You’re not alone if you’re feeling self-conscious about the color of your teeth. There’s no shortage of options to choose from, and we can help you determine which teeth whitening treatments are right for your teeth. If you’re interested in Zoom Whitening, ask about our $299 special!