How long does teeth whitening last?

Teeth whitening is a non-invasive cosmetic or aesthetic dental treatment. This means that through teeth whitening we improve the aesthetics of the patient without harming the health of the teeth in any way.

In the Castelo Clinic we use whitening gels, whose active ingredients act through the pores that the enamel has in its structure, to work at the level of the dentin, which is the tissue that really gives color to the tooth.

Whitening is achieved by lightening the color of the teeth getting a white and bright smile that favors and rejuvenates our appearance.

What is achieved by performing teeth whitening?

Thanks to teeth whitening we can correct alterations in the color of the teeth that may have been caused by:

  • The passage of time
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • The patient’s genetics
  • A disease
  • Intake of certain medications
  • Habits such as smoking
  • Excessive intake of foods that stain the teeth.

Through the application of whitening gels we are able to lighten and correct these color alterations. Always in a personalized way and adapting to each patient. For this it is essential to make a correct diagnosis of the case to find out the origin of the alterations and assess the condition of the patient’s teeth. Based on these parameters we will focus on the patient’s expectations and set the treatment objectives. From there we will design the treatment plan to be carried out.

We can work depending on the case with:

  • Home whitening: It is a treatment that the patient performs at home by applying whitening gels that the patient himself will place in customized splints and these will be placed in the mouth for about 90-120 minutes a day or to sleep.
    The splints are transparent and are made under vacuum so that they adapt perfectly to the anatomy of the teeth and allow you to speak without problems.
  • Whitening with cold LED light lamp Zoom in clinic: This treatment is performed in clinic and is done in a single appointment of about 90 minutes. The dental specialist will apply highly concentrated whitening gels. To work with them it is necessary to make a previous isolation of the patient’s soft tissues to avoid injuries. Once the working field is isolated, the gel is spread on the surface of the teeth and this will be activated by the application of a special light emitted by the whitening lamp. Clínica Castelo has what is considered to be the best whitening lamp on the market: the Philips Zoom lamp. It is a cold LED light lamp. This technology avoids overheating of the tooth during treatment, considerably reducing the risk of dental hypersensitivity linked to whitening. In a single appointment, an average of 8 tones are lightened.
  • Combined whitening: This is undoubtedly the treatment of choice for cases where spectacular results are desired and that are also stable over time. The technique consists of combining the two techniques explained above, since working in isolation with either of the two techniques considerably limits the results. The ideal way to work with this type of whitening is to perform a personalized treatment, adapted to the patient’s situation.
  • Internal Whitening: Indicated for cases of endodontic (or devitalized) teeth that have darkened over time. For these cases it is necessary to work from the inside of the tooth which is where we have the origin of the problem.
    The process of this technique is as follows: o Application of whitening gels in the pulp chamber (internal cavity of the crown of the tooth that previously housed part of the nerve of the same). o The gel is left inside the pulp chamber o After a week, the gel is removed and it is evaluated according to the results achieved during that week if the procedure is repeated.
    Usually several applications are necessary. This treatment can be performed alone or combined with external bleaching of the rest of the mouth.
    Sometimes these teeth do not respond as well as the vital teeth and to achieve a perfect color uniformity with the rest of the pieces may be necessary to make a subsequent aesthetic restoration, such as a ceramic veneer or composite veneer.

How long does this type of whitening usually last and are there any complications?

A good whitening carried out by good specialists and with good products achieves great results, which will also be stable over time. This does not mean that the color we get at the end of the treatment will be unalterable for the rest of our life. We all understand that the skin of a person who sunbathes a lot without protection does not age in the same way as another person who takes good care of his or her skin, sunbathes little and always with protection… Well, the same thing happens with teeth.

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We must be aware that teeth whitening is a non-invasive treatment that is limited to lightening the color of the tooth, and that we are keeping it as it is, without damaging its structure or vitality. Therefore, as the years go by, our teeth will behave like natural teeth and will acquire color depending on our habits: oral-dental hygiene, ingestion of foods that stain the teeth, smoking ….. In other words, how our teeth age with the passing of time will depend to a great extent on ourselves.

The most common complication that can occur in a whitening treatment is the appearance of dental hypersensitivity associated with the treatment. It is not dangerous, because when the treatment is withdrawn it disappears shortly after, but it is very annoying while it is being suffered and can cause the patient to abandon the treatment before it is completed, preventing the desired results from being achieved.

To avoid this, the state of the patient’s enamel must be taken into account when making the initial diagnosis. Remineralizing treatments can be applied prior to whitening in all those patients who show sensitivity or who, without showing it, the specialists consider that due to the deterioration of their enamel they are potential patients to develop hypersensitivity during whitening.

For these patients with tooth sensitivity there is a specific whitening protocol for sensitive teeth, whereby the enamel is remineralized throughout the treatment at the same time as the whitening is performed.

In other words, the structure of the enamel is reinforced before and during whitening. In this way, this annoying complication is avoided and the teeth are stronger after the treatment than before.

How to keep teeth white as long as possible after treatment?

After whitening, as we mentioned above, the maintenance of the color in the long term will depend fundamentally on our habits: oral-dental hygiene, intake of foods that stain the teeth, smoking ….. But it is true that there is a critical period, which is the 72 hours after the light treatment. After the session with the lamp, the enamel of the teeth is very porous and is very susceptible to absorb stains.

During these 72 hours it is recommended to follow what we call “White Diet”, that is, to avoid dark colored foods that stain, such as chocolate, coffee, tea, red fruits, of course no tobacco… The ideal is to give patients all the recommendations in writing so that they have no doubts about what they should avoid eating. For a long time, it was recommended to do the same during the time one was undergoing home whitening. Nowadays, there are studies that question whether this really influences the result of the treatment.

Once the treatment is finished, I recommend the use of a daily mouthwash that forms a protective film around the tooth, making it difficult for stains and stains to adhere.

For very demanding patients who do not tolerate any loss of tone in the Castelo Clinic recommend a toothpaste that can only be obtained through specialists, you can not buy it at the pharmacy. This paste is the only one that really has a real whitening agent in its composition and should be used following certain guidelines and never keep it as a regular paste. In this way we get a reinforcement of whitening in a very very soft way.

Another guideline is to do a whitening maintenance once a year. The patient is scheduled for a general check-up of the state of his mouth and if indicated, a cleaning is performed and a 10-minute whitening reminder session is scheduled with a Zoom cold LED light lamp.

There are different alternatives for whitening and for a good maintenance of the color in a simple way. The important thing is always a good diagnosis and to put yourself in the hands of trustworthy professionals.