Teeth whitening is a more conservative approach to improving the appearance of discolored teeth than other restorative treatments, such as veneers or crowns. Done too frequently and without proper preparation, however, it can also cause sensitivity, gum irritation, and loss of enamel.
So, how often should you whiten your teeth? Teeth whitening should be done no more than once every 3 to 6 months. This may vary depending on the product strength. The frequency may also depend on the patient’s age and existing conditions such as mild fluorosis, trauma, inherent discoloration, and staining from tetracycline use.
Habits such as drinking coffee regularly and smoking will also impact the efficacy of teeth whitening.
We understand that tooth discoloration can have a negative impact on your quality of life. It’s why we offer teeth whitening services at our dental office in Columbia, PA.
While we realize there are many over-the-counter products available, know that a dentalcare professional can monitor and help avoid any negative impact tooth whitening products may have on your soft and hard oral tissues. If these are impacted, it can be very painful and cause serious dental issues in the future. It is best to ask a dentist how often you can have teeth whitening.
Read further to learn more about various teeth whitening options and the variables that impact the frequency of teeth whitening treatments.
How often should you whiten your teeth with gel?
Paint-on gels or pre-made trays with gels are popular over-the-counter options for whitening teeth. Because these kits are low-cost and easily accessed, it’s tempting to go that route. The amount of carbamide peroxide (CP) or hydrogen peroxide (HP), the two active ingredients responsible for the whitening, is fairly low in these products. The effectiveness of whitening gel kits will depend on the amount of CP and HP as well as the duration of the treatment.
Teeth-whitening gels combined with the Zoom! In-Office Teeth Whitening System is very effective, and the procedure is a safe and gentle option. It combines effective bleach and LED light for noticeable results. Because a dentist monitors the product, this option can prevent tooth sensitivity and gum damage.
How often should you use strips to whiten teeth?
Peroxide-based strips are another popular, over-the-counter option to whiten teeth. These can be effective in removing surface stains. Again, without the guidance and supervision of your dentist, the products can be misused and cause gum irritation and tooth sensitivity.
Whitening strips, which have a low percentage of bleaching agent in them, will need to be used for “touch-ups” every 3 months to see any noticeable difference. Used too often, these products may cause permanent damage to your tooth enamel and/or gums.
Also, the results of using whitening strips are often disappointing as the teeth will not be as noticeably whiter as they would be using the Zoom! System.
How often should you whiten your teeth with a light?
Teeth whitening done by your dentist can get teeth brighter faster and typically with better results than at-home kits. The bleaching solution is much stronger and when combined with LED light, the process is quicker. The combination of light and professional-grade whitening products intensifies the whitening process.
Zoom! In-Office Teeth Whitening System will generally result in teeth three to eight shades brighter. The process is usually done in a single 2-hour appointment. The cost of in-office tooth whitening varies but can range from $400 to $1,000. At Susquehanna Dental Arts, professional tooth whitening costs, on average, under $400.
Read about the myths surrounding teeth whitening.
The results of teeth whitening will depend on the effort; if you opt for at-home agents with less bleaching power then you’re likely to have results that disappoint or that last for only a few weeks. The results of a professional teeth whitening procedure can last up to a few years. Read more about how long teeth whitening lasts.
Prior to a professional tooth whitening procedure, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist to have your teeth cleaned, evaluate the extent of any teeth staining, and see if there are any dental issues that need to be addressed.