Fact Checked

How Long Does Teeth Whitening Take?

Written by Fernanda Elizalde

August 22, 2022

Medically Reviewed

By Dr. James Younan, DDS

The amount of time it takes for whitening teeth depends on the method.

Choosing an effective at-home teeth whitening solution or having your teeth professionally whitened at a dentist's office for faster results is a great way to brighten your smile.

Having whiter teeth will increase your confidence as well as your appearance. In a study, it was estimated that over 80% of Americans prefer white teeth.

This shouldn't come as a surprise considering everyone wants a brighter smile.

But the real question is how long does teeth whitening take? Let's find out.

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How does teeth whitening work?

Many factors can contribute to teeth discoloration and teeth stains. Factors include consuming sugary beverages, eating junk food, dark-tinted foods and drinks, and smoking.

There are different ways dentists can approach this problem.

Methods of Teeth Whitening

One of them is bleach-hydrogen peroxide, while the other is carbamide peroxide. Dentists may also recommend whitening strips and whitening toothpaste to whiten teeth.

Both of these bleaching agents help get rid of the stains and give you a white smile. Besides tooth bleaching, dentists also use treatments involving fluoride. When they add fluoride to a teeth whitener, it helps strengthen the teeth and reduces sensitivity.

Professional teeth whitening at a dentist's office

The overall duration of getting rid of yellow teeth may depend on the extent of discoloration and the procedure your dentist uses. It can take anywhere between an hour or two.

After the procedure is complete, your teeth will instantly look brighter, and your smile will look and feel much more beautiful. However, if patients have extremely discolored teeth, the process may take two to six weeks and multiple visits to the dentist's office.

Side effects of teeth whitening

After the whitening procedure, you may experience tooth sensitivity. Especially when eating or drinking hot or cold food and beverages. It is also normal to face temperature-induced sensitivity in your teeth, especially when exposed to cold air. It shouldn't last longer than 48 hours. If it does, then make sure to consult your dentist.

Does bleaching teeth work on dental crowns?

Teeth bleaching only works on natural teeth. The procedure will not work on artificial teeth if you have crowns or veneers. If you've had any dental work done, you'll need to replace the crowns, so they match the rest of your newly whitened teeth. Discuss the procedure with your dentist first before deciding on a tooth whitening treatment.

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At-home home teeth whitening

There are numerous teeth whitening products available on the market. These include whitening gels, whitening toothpaste, and whitening strips. Compared to in-office whitening, home treatments have lower concentration formulas.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), at-home treatments are safe as long as they are used according to the directions and in moderation. They also recommend using the best bleaching agent for your specific needs.

How long does it take to see results?

Wondering how soon you can expect a fresh set of pearly whites after teeth whitening? This article will cover everything you need to know about the teeth whitening process and how long it takes to brighten your smile.

If the discoloration is not extreme, you may start seeing improvements after the first session, whether it's professional or at-home treatment. It may take a dentist just under an hour or several hours to complete the whitening treatment.

Which option is best for me?

The good news is that you can whiten your teeth from home if you use the right teeth whitening products. If you are starting at home, you can try using a whitening toothpaste, whitening strips, or a teeth whitening kit.

You can also implement new habits to improve your oral care. One of them is to brush regularly and use whitening toothpaste. Also, make sure to rinse your mouth after eating dark-tinted foods. With the help of the latest modern technology, teeth whitening products today deliver stunning results.

No matter what treatment you choose, you will be able to whiten your teeth to some degree. It all depends on your personal goals and how stained your teeth are.

Shades of Teeth Whitening

The intensity of a teeth whitening treatment depends on your unique case. Generally, your teeth can be whitened six to twelve shades lighter.

Tooth whitening will help you get rid of brown or yellow-stained teeth and lift stubborn extrinsic stains.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most commonly asked teeth whitening questions.

Do teeth whitening treatments hurt?

Teeth whitening may trigger sensitivity in the teeth and gums, leading to short-term discomfort. These side effects will gradually fade away a few days after your whitening treatment.

Is whitening gel safe for teeth?

Yes, it is ADA-approved and is safe and effective for patients since it uses hydrogen peroxide. If you're using at-home treatments, you'll need to follow the directions in order to avoid any side effects.

Should I brush my teeth after whitening trays?

Yes, it's good to brush your teeth after using whitening trays. It'll help remove excess gel and give your teeth a good cleaning. Avoid eating, smoking, or drinking when you have whitening trays in.

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Is teeth whitening safe?

Over the years, teeth whitening procedures have been critically evaluated to ensure their safety. Although the procedures are safe, the success depends on the whitening agents and whitening methods a dentist might use and the concentration levels sold in over-the-counter products.

Low-quality products may cause unfavorable results such as swelling, pain, and irritation in the mouth. You also want to be careful not to leave at-home products on for longer than directed. That can also lead to uncomfortable side effects.

Professional teeth whitening treatments should only be done with the help of a hygienist or dentist. Remember to always consult with your dentist first to ensure the teeth whitening process goes as smoothly as possible.