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How Long Does Teeth Whitening Last?

How Long Does Teeth Whitening Last?

15 December 2021

No one wants to have pearly yellows. 

If your teeth are less than bright and shiny, you may be considering a teeth whitening treatment. But many whitening solutions are expensive, and you’re probably wondering if the investment is worth it in the long term. 

We’ll break down the costs and long-term effects of at-home and professional teeth whitening options, so you can make the best decision to reduce the surface stains on your smile.

Are Whitening Treatments the End-All-Be-All?

No. *Gasp!* No matter what whitening treatment you adopt, it will not last forever. Why? Whitening treatments only work to remove stains, not to prevent them. 

If you’re looking to fix your off-white teeth, then a whitening treatment will last as long as you take care of your teeth. If you finish a whitening treatment, then don’t brush your teeth and only drink red wine, your teeth won’t stay white for very long.

So before we even touch on the different types of treatments, we have to say that whitening treatments will only be a good investment if you continue to care for your teeth. 

Additionally, the severity and type of stain or discoloration will impact how effective whitening treatments are. There are two kinds of tooth stains:

    1. Intrinsic/Internal: discoloration caused by age, trauma, infection, and medication. Intrinsic stains are often deep inside the tooth, making them harder to remove. However, there are special treatments to eliminate these stains.
    2. Extrinsic/External: discoloration caused by cigarette smoke, food, and drink. Since they’re on the outside of the tooth, extrinsic stains are easier to remove. It’s good to note that most whiteners only work on extrinsic stains.

How Long Whitening Lasts Based on Treatment Type 

Whitening toothpaste:

Timeline: 2-6 weeks to see results; effects last up to 3-4 months (when used twice daily)

The best thing about whitening toothpaste is that you can use it as your regular toothpaste to give your teeth a bit of extra shine. Most whitening toothpastes are safe to use twice a day, and they have ingredients that work to whiten your teeth. Common whitening agents in toothpaste include hydrogen peroxide, carbamide peroxide, and mild abrasives.

Be careful with the whitening toothpaste you choose, as some people experience sensitivity when using whitening toothpaste. Additionally, whitening toothpastes that contain abrasives aren’t meant for long-term use, so a peroxide base may be a better option. 

If you experience sensitivity when using a whitening toothpaste, but you want to keep using it, you may want to try alternating between a whitening paste and an enamel-strengthening paste.

Whitening Mouthwash

Timeline: 3 months to see results; effects last not much longer (when used daily)

Whitening mouthwashes are typically best used as a supplement to another whitening treatment. They generally use hydrogen peroxide as the whitening agent, but mouthwashes really only help remove a bit of the surface stains on your teeth.

Whitening Strips

Timeline: days to weeks to see results; effects last up to 6 months 

Whitening strips have long been heralded as one of the more effective over-the-counter ways to whiten teeth. 

When used correctly, top-tier whitening strips are able to remove external and minor internal stains. However, whitening strips use peroxide to bleach teeth to remove the stains. If the strips are used incorrectly or too often, the chemicals in the bleach can hurt your teeth and cause sensitivity.

Whitening Pens

Timeline: 2-7 days to see results; effects last up to a few days

Whitening pens are like Tide-to-Go for your teeth. They’re great for a quick fix if you keep them in your purse, but you can’t only rely on them.

The small tubes contain whitening gel you can apply directly to your teeth. But since the gel washes away easily, you can’t eat, drink, or rinse out your mouth for an hour after you apply.

At-Home Whitening Gel Trays

Timeline: 1 week to see results; effects last up to a year or more (depending on the treatment plan)

The effectiveness of at-home whitening trays lies in the strength of the peroxide used and the duration of each treatment. 

Your dentist can fit you for a custom tray, then you fill the tray with a whitening gel and wear it for a few hours or overnight. The gel your dentist prescribes you will be stronger than any over-the-counter treatment, and it’s crucial to follow your dentist’s instructions on how often to use the gel.

Chairside Bleaching/In-Office Tooth Whitening

Timeline: hours to see results; effects last for 1-3 years

As long as you maintain good oral hygiene, having your dentist whiten your teeth can have long-lasting effects. Most in-office treatments only require a single visit.

Your dentist will use a strong bleaching agent to whiten your teeth, and sometimes they use heat or light to accelerate the process. However, these treatments are often super expensive, and insurance won’t help cover the cost.

At-Home LED Whitening Treatments

Timeline: one month to see results; effects last up to a year or more

At-home LED whitening treatments combine the best aspects of whitening pens and at-home gel trays. You get the power of dental-grade whitening gels without having to pay the dentist’s office prices.

First, you use a whitening gel pen to coat your teeth. Then, an LED light tray strengthens and accelerates the bond of the gel. While it may take longer to see results, the results will last longer and save you a fair chunk of change.

Cheeky’s LED whitening kit is especially phenomenal because it’s concocted without harmful chemicals. That means you can brighten your smile without sacrificing your tooth enamel.

Are There Side Effects from Teeth Whitening?

Most of the side effects associated with whitening treatments come from the chemicals used to remove the stains. Sometimes, the whitening agents can lead to:

  • Tooth and gum sensitivity
  • Gum burns and irritation
  • Gum whitening
  • Gastrointestinal irritation or distress
  • Damage to tooth enamel or dentin

If you’re prone to sensitive teeth or gum disease, it’s best to choose a whitening solution that’s low in or entirely free of harsh chemicals


When it comes to your pearly whites, beauty shouldn’t mean pain. That’s why we developed a whitening kit that’s effective, safe, and affordable. Discover Cheeky’s LED whitening solution.

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