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Tooth stains and discoloration are the bane of anyone who values a bright and brilliant smile. Based on the number of tooth-whitening products on store shelves, most people do. From whitening toothpaste to special kits, DIY tooth whitening is all the rage. But despite products showing up in every dental hygiene aisle, the promised results are often too good to be true. For the most part, store-bought whitening solutions just don’t get the job done. After facing the dissatisfaction of failed DIY whitening, many people consider getting their teeth whitened professionally. So what can you expect from in-office teeth whitening, and how long does it last? 

Can I Get My Teeth Whitened at the Dentist?

Not only can you get your teeth whitened at the dentist, it’s also far safer and more effective than any other alternative. Legal restrictions on the active ingredients in over-the-counter tooth whitening kits mean that they just can’t measure up to professional dental teeth whitening methods. There’s also a big difference between removing surface stains on your teeth compared to lightening the entire tooth itself. One may temporarily provide the appearance of lighter tooth enamel, but the dentin beneath–which is where most of the color in your teeth comes from–remains unchanged. For permanent long-term stains caused by coffee, red wine, or aging, DIY whitening might not result in any difference at all. 

Your dentist has the tools to make a noticeable and long-lasting impact on the brightness of your smile. But how does it work, and how much longer does in-office teeth whitening last than over-the-counter procedures?

How Professional Teeth Whitening Works

A dentist’s teeth whitening procedure is pretty simple. Your dentist will put in a pre-filled whitening tray and use a light for about 30 minutes . If you still haven’t reached your desired shade, you can come back for follow-up treatments until your teeth are just right. 

One thing that makes dentist teeth whitening so appealing is how long it lasts. A toothpaste might lighten the color of your teeth slightly while you use it, but this effect is mainly temporary. After completing a two-week gel kit, you might see lighter results for up to four months. While results vary from person to person depending on the state of their teeth and their usual dental habits, in-office teeth whitening can last for up to one year.. 

Work With Your Dentist for a Beautiful Smile

Of course, there’s only so much your dentist can do to maintain the bright smile of your dreams. Your personal eating and dental hygiene habits play the most important role in determining how long your dentist teeth whitening lasts. Avoiding highly staining foods and practicing rigorous teeth cleaning are essential parts of keeping your smile bright and beautiful. At Pinnacle Dental Associates, we love helping you love your teeth. If you’d like to chat about our in-office teeth whitening and how to make your results last, we’d love to hear from you!