Achieving Your Smile Goals: What to Expect after Teeth Whitening Treatment

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Celebrities always seem to have perfect teeth and beautiful smiles. They probably have a whole team of dental professionals at their beck and call, but you can get the same results even if you’re not a celebrity.

Teeth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic dental procedures available today, and it’s easier and quicker than you might think. After your teeth whitening procedure, you probably want to show off your new smile to the world. But before you do, it’s important to understand what to expect from the procedure and how to take care of your teeth afterwards. Plus, you might not be a good candidate for this procedure.

Here’s what you need to know about teeth whitening. See what you can learn by reading on!

What Is Teeth Whitening?

When we were young, our teeth were naturally white or had a slight yellow tint. But as we age, our teeth can become discoloured by the food and drinks we consume, as well as tobacco use. Poor oral hygiene and ageing can also contribute to teeth staining.

Tooth whitening treatment is a common cosmetic dental procedure involving active ingredients, such as hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. This non-invasive procedure aims to remove or reduce unwanted stains and make discoloured teeth appear whiter. The process can be done in a dentist’s office, at home using a take-home kit, or even with natural ingredients.

You have to note, though, that teeth whitening results are not permanent, and the length of time they last will depend on your individual circumstances, such as lifestyle habits and how well you take care of your teeth afterwards.

Methods of Teeth Whitening

There are a few different ways to whiten your teeth. Here are the two main methods to do so:

1. In-Office or In-Chair Teeth Whitening

This method is done by a dental professional in a dental office and usually takes about an hour or more. Hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide-containing gel is applied to your teeth and then activated with a special light. This is often used to achieve faster results or treat more difficult or intrinsic tooth stains. Intrinsic stains are deep stains inside the tooth (dentin), while extrinsic stains are on the tooth’s surface (enamel).

Also, since dentists use higher concentrations of bleaching agents, are trained to perform this procedure and take precautions for your safety, this is the more popular method.

2. At-Home Teeth Whitening

This method uses take-home whitening products that you can use in the comfort of your home. You can get these products from your dentist, over-the-counter at your local pharmacy, or online stores. These include the following:

  • Customised trays.
    These are clear plastic custom trays that fit snugly over your teeth, which you can get from your dentist. It works by filling the tray with a whitening gel and then wearing it for a certain amount of time, depending on the instructions.

  • Toothpaste.
    You probably already have toothpaste that you use every day. Some kinds of toothpaste now contain mild abrasives or bleaching agents to help whiten your teeth.

  • Mouthrinses.
    There are teeth whitening mouth rinses available that can also help remove surface stains. These usually contain oxygenating compounds, such as hydrogen peroxide, that work to reduce surface stains on your teeth.

  • Whitening Strips and Gels.
    These products come with pre-filled trays or strips that you apply directly to your teeth for a specific amount of time, usually 30 minutes to 1 hour per day. The hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide concentration in these products is generally lower than what you would find in an in-office treatment.

  • Tooth Whitening Pens.
    These pens contain a gel with hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide and can be used to target specific areas of your teeth.

  • Homemade Teeth Whitening Remedies.
    You may also find recipes online for making your own teeth whitening paste using natural ingredients such as baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and lemon juice. Note that there are limited studies about the effectiveness of these products, and the results may not be as apparent as commercial whitening products. While studies show that baking soda is mildly abrasive and can help remove surface stains, it will not penetrate deep into the tooth to remove intrinsic stains.

What to Expect After Teeth Whitening Treatment

After teeth whitening treatment, you can expect your teeth to be a few shades lighter. Below is a list of what you can expect after this procedure:

Whiter Teeth

Professional treatments done by dentists or other dental professionals can make your teeth up to eight shades lighter after your first session under ideal conditions. On the other hand, at-home treatments can lighten your teeth by two to three shades after several days, weeks, or even months (depending on your method).

More Self-Confidence

A whiter, brighter smile can do wonders for your self-confidence. You will feel better about yourself and tend to smile more often, which can make a big difference in your social life and career.

Temporary Teeth Sensitivity

Teeth whitening treatment may cause temporary tooth sensitivity to hot and cold foods and drinks. It is often mild and resolves on its own within a few days after treatment. You will be less likely to experience this side effect with an in-office or in-chair treatment because your dentist will take precautions to protect your gums and teeth, such as using a gum shield or a rubber dam. They may also recommend using desensitising toothpaste or fluoride treatments.

If you experience this following an at-home whitening procedure, stop using the whitening product for a few days and consult your dentist. They may recommend using a different type of product or method.

Gum Irritation

The bleaching agents in teeth whitening products can also irritate your gums, especially if you have performed a DIY whitening treatment. At-home treatments carry a greater risk of causing gum irritation because dentists are trained to use and apply the bleaching agents correctly.

This is usually temporary and will go away after a few days. If the irritation persists, stop using the product and consult your dentist.

Risk of Damage to Teeth and Gums

When not done properly and in rare cases, teeth whitening treatments can cause damage to your teeth’s enamel and gums. That is why it is essential only to have this procedure done by a licensed dentist or another qualified dental professional.


Teeth whitening is not a permanent solution. You need to have touch-ups every six months to one year in an in-office treatment, depending on how you take care of your teeth after the procedure.

On the other hand, if you use over-the-counter tooth whiteners, you may need to use them more frequently to maintain your desired level of whiteness. Some people may have to use them as often as every week or month.

How Long Do Teeth Whitening Results Last?

The results of teeth whitening treatment vary based on the method you use, as well as your habits and lifestyle.

Professional teeth whitening in a dental clinic may last up to 3 years if you religiously follow your dentist’s after-care instructions. Otherwise, it will only last up to 6 months, and you need to have a touch-up, which means you need to pay for another session.

If you whiten your teeth at home using over-the-counter products, the results may only last up to 1 month if you don’t take care of your teeth properly. You also need to be careful when choosing a product, as some may contain harmful chemicals that can damage your teeth and gums.

For whitening toothpaste, you may need to use it for 2 to 6 weeks before you see results that may last up to 6 months if you practise measures that avoid teeth staining. Meanwhile, when you use whitening mouthwashes or rinses alone, you may not see significant results, or they may not be long-lasting. Whitening strips may give you results that could last up to 6 months, while the effects of whitening pens may only last up to a week, and the results are minimal. Finally, at-home whitening gel trays may last up to a year or longer if combined with good oral hygiene.

It’s important to note that the results of teeth whitening vary from person to person. There are different factors that can affect the duration of the effect.

Factors Affecting the Longevity of Your Teeth Whitening Results

The following are factors that may affect how long your teeth whitening results last:

  • Your smoking habits.
    Tobacco products can help stain your teeth and make the results of your treatment last for a shorter period of time.

  • Your oral hygiene habits.
    If you fail to clean your teeth on a regular basis or visit the dentist for regular checkups and cleanings, plaque and tartar can build up on your teeth. Tartar is prone to staining, making your teeth appear yellow or discoloured.

  • The type of whitening method used.
    Some whitening methods are more effective than others (like professional whitening) in giving you long-lasting results.

  • Your eating habits.
    Frequent consumption of certain types of food and beverages, especially those dark in colour, can stain your teeth over time.

What Not to Eat and Drink after Teeth Whitening Treatment

After the whitening process, you must take care of your teeth by avoiding foods and drinks that can quickly make them look yellow or stained again. These include:

  • Coffee.
    Coffee is one of the main culprits in giving you yellow teeth soon after a whitening treatment. The coffee stains can penetrate the enamel and cause discolouration.

  • Tea.
    Just like coffee, tea can also quickly make your teeth look yellow because of its dark shade and colour.

  • Wine.
    Wine, especially red wine, can quickly make your teeth look stained. The tannins and natural dyes in wine can cause staining.

  • Soda or soft drink.
    Soda contains sugar and acid that can erode your tooth enamel and make them prone to staining.

  • Curry.
    Because of the turmeric, curry can quickly make your teeth look yellow over time.

  • Berries.
    Berries are also known to cause staining because of their pigment.

  • Beets.
    Beets can quickly make your teeth look red or purple because of their colour.

  • Soy sauce.
    Soy sauce is another food that can quickly make your teeth look stained because of its dark colour.

  • Tomato sauce.
    Tomato sauce can also quickly stain your teeth because of its acidity and pigment.

  • Other food and drinks.
    Other foods and beverages that can quickly make your teeth look yellow or stained after a whitening treatment include: soy milk, balsamic vinegar, sports drinks, and hard candy.

Steps in Making Your Teeth Whitening Results Last Longer

Now that you know what to avoid to protect your whitened teeth, you may be wondering what you can do to make your results last longer. They are as follows:

  • Practise good oral hygiene. This means brushing at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Flossing daily and regularly visit your dentist (at least two times yearly) or more for checkups and dental cleanings.

  • Avoid or limit your intake of foods and drinks that can cause staining. If you can’t avoid them completely, brush your teeth or rinse your mouth with water after eating or drinking them.

  • Use whitening toothpaste once or twice a week. Using a whitening toothpaste can help remove or reduce surface stains and maintain your results.

  • Be sure to get touch-ups as recommended by your dentist.

  • Consider quitting or avoiding smoking. As mentioned above, smoking can stain your teeth and make the results of your treatment last for a shorter period of time.

When to Contact a Dentist After Teeth Whitening Treatment

Some side effects of teeth whitening are temporary and will go away on their own, but others may require treatment by your dentist.

Contact or visit your dentist if you experience any of the following side effects:

  • Severe tooth pain or sensitivity
  • Gums that are sore, red or bleeding
  • Swelling and blisters on your gums, mouth and lips
  • Burning sensation in or numbing of your lips

They will be able to take the appropriate steps to manage your symptoms. To minimise these side effects, they will assess whether or not you are a good candidate for teeth whitening.

Who Is Not a Candidate for Teeth Whitening Treatment?

In general, teeth whitening is safe for most people. However, some people are not good candidates for teeth whitening and should consider alternatives. These include:

  • People with sensitive teeth.
    If you have sensitive teeth, you may experience more pain or sensitivity during and after treatment.

  • People with gum disease.
    If you have gum disease, the chemicals in the whitening gel can irritate your gums and worsen your condition.

  • People with worn enamel.
    If you have worn enamel, the whitening gel can penetrate through the thin enamel and into the dentin, which can cause more pain or sensitivity.

  • People with cavities.
    Decayed teeth, which are already damaged, can become more sensitive to the bleaching agents used in teeth whitening.

  • People with crowns, veneers, or fillings.
    Teeth whitening products don’t affect dental restorations because they are not porous like our natural teeth.

  • Pregnant and lactating women.
    While no studies prove that this treatment is unsafe for pregnant and breastfeeding women, there are also no studies to show that it is safe. As a precaution, these women should avoid teeth whitening.

  • Children under the age of 16.
    Children’s teeth are still developing, and their tooth enamel is thinner than that of adults. As a result, whitening gel can penetrate the dentin and cause pain or sensitivity. In addition, children’s gums are more sensitive than those of adults and can easily become irritated by the whitening gel.

  • People with unrealistic expectations.
    Teeth whitening will not make your teeth look perfect. It can only make them look whiter than their current shade. If you have other conditions or teeth imperfections, you may need to consider other options.

Final Thoughts

Teeth whitening treatments can help you achieve a bright smile. However, it is important to remember that this dental procedure is not for everyone. In addition, you need to take care of your teeth with proper oral hygiene habits, a healthy lifestyle, and regular dental visits to maintain your results.

If you are considering teeth whitening, book an appointment with Comfort Care Dental by calling (08) 9349-0800. You may message us on our website, too, if you are more comfortable with that. Our friendly staff will be happy to help you decide if teeth whitening is the best option for you.

Comfort Care Dental offers a broad range of dental care services, including teeth whitening treatments. We are proud to have been providing quality dental care to our patients for 50 years. We accept various payment options, including major insurance plans, and we are conveniently located in Balcatta, Western Australia. Ultimately, our state-of-the-art facility is equipped with the latest technology to provide you with favourable results. Call us today at (08) 9349-0800 to book an appointment!


Dr. Karthik Lakkaraju

For Dr Karthik, dentistry is the complete package. He most enjoys the feeling he gets when he sees a patient achieve a beautiful smile, or can put an end to pain and increase the quality of life. He believes oral health is a mirror of general health and reflects the person’s personality and confidence.

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