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Teeth Whitening - Results and Maintenance
By Stephen Yang, DMD, MS
Board Certified Orthodontist
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What is Whitening
Products and Cost
Results and Maintenance
Side Effects
When to Whiten

Evaluating tooth shade

To determine how white your teeth are after undergoing tooth whitening treatment, your dentist will usually compare your before and after tooth shades using the standardized Vitapan Classic Shade Guide.  This long-used guide has 16 different shades that vary by brightness and color.  The shades are sorted from lightest to darkest.  The dentist matches your tooth color to the closest color on the Shade Guide before and after teeth whitening so you can see how many shades brighter your new smile is.

Average shade improvement

Teeth whitening results differ from patient to patient.  Yellow teeth generally whiten easier than grey teeth.  Extrinsic stains lighten better than intrinsic stains.  Most people that bleach their teeth can expect to see a difference of one to eight shades with generally greatest changes for laser tooth whitening, moderate changes for home whitening kits given by the dentist, and least  changes for over-the-counter products and whitening toothpastes.

How long does whitening last?

Results of tooth whitening are not permanent.  Someone who smokes or consumes coffee, tea, wine, or other intensely-colored foods or drinks may see their results fade after only a few weeks.  Those who are careful in their diet and other habits may see lasting results for over a year.  


To maximize the length of time with your bright smile your dentist may recommend the following:

Continue occasionally with home whitening trays

Avoid consuming intensely-colored beverages or foods such as coffee, tea, wine, or oranges.  If you have to drink those drinks, do so through a straw.

Teeth Whitening Side Effects>>

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Dr. Yang is a Board Certified Orthodontist practicing in Antioch, California. Read more about Dr. Yang.



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