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How Long Does Teeth Bleaching Last?

How Long Does Teeth Bleaching Last?

Having a beautiful smile is easier than you would think thanks to modern teeth bleaching treatments. Professional teeth bleaching, also known as teeth whitening, is a popular, non-invasive cosmetic dental treatment that removes discolorations to brighten your natural tooth color. Although the results are not permanent, the effects of teeth bleaching can provide you with a bright and beautiful smile for the big moments in your life. 

If it’s not permanent, then how long does teeth bleaching last? Unfortunately there is no easy answer to this question. On average, it is estimated that the effects of teeth bleaching will last about one year. However, there have also been instances where the effects only lasted six months and instances where they lasted for up to three years. Therefore, there is a bit of ambiguity associated with how long teeth bleaching results last. 

This is primarily because there are factors, such as your diet and oral care routine, that can directly affect the lifespan of your results. Not only that, but the method used to bleach teeth simply removes stains, rather than permanently altering the tooth. These two reasons explain why teeth bleaching inevitably ends up being a temporary treatment. 

During a teeth bleaching treatment, a whitening agent is applied to the surface of your teeth and left in place for about an hour. Since teeth are porous, this whitener will be absorbed by the enamel and dentin layers. Once absorbed by the tooth, the whitening agent initiates a chemical reaction inside the tooth that breaks down the molecular bonds of discolored molecules, essentially dissolving them. While this method is effective, it only works on the stains present at that moment. The whitener will actively continue to remove stains until it is absorbed by the body, about 24 hours after it is applied. 

Since teeth bleaching does not protect against future stains, this is where factors such as your diet and oral care routine come in. As a general rule, the less stains your teeth are exposed to, the longer your bleaching results will last. In terms of diet, to keep your results lasting longer, you will need to avoid or minimize consumption of highly pigmented foods and beverages that can stain your teeth. 

However, it is not only diet that can affect the lifespan of your teeth bleaching results, but your oral care routine as well. Regular brushing and flossing is essential to remove plaque, as well as colored molecules from your teeth. Brushing directly after a meal that involves highly pigmented foods or beverages can also help to reduce stains. 

While diet and oral care are two things you can control, there may be a few additional factors that are out of your control that can affect the longevity of your bleaching treatment. These can include medications, age, and genetics. These three things have been associated with causing tooth discolorations, however they don’t always respond to bleaching treatments. 

Ultimately, it may be difficult to estimate exactly how long the results of your teeth bleaching treatment will last. While the experts estimate anywhere from six months to three years, the exact lifespan of your treatment will depend primarily upon your diet and oral care routine, as well as factors such as age, genetics, and medications. The best way to keep your results lasting as long as possible is to minimize highly pigmented foods and beverages, as well as keeping your teeth cleaning by brushing, flossing, and regularly visiting your local dental office for a professional cleaning. 

Dr. Scott T. Simpson graduated from the University of Florida College of Dentistry while participating in the Health Profession Scholarship Program through the United States Air Force. Following graduation, Dr. Simpson served three memorable years in the USAF at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, Montana. He then practiced for nine years in the Orlando area before moving to the beautiful city of Tigard and starting Appletree Dentistry.

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