The effects of professional teeth whitening won't last forever, but this isn't exactly a closely-guarded secret. The results can be immediate and striking, but re-treatment will eventually prove to be necessary if you want to maintain the colour of your teeth. Some people might require additional whitening treatment within months, whereas others won't need to consider the possibility for a year or more. How can you make these effects last for as long as possible?

Scaling and Polishing

Your teeth whitening treatment should be preceded by professional teeth cleaning. This is known as scaling and polishing, which gives you a hint about the method. Extrinsic surface stains are gently scaled away, which can already begin to lighten your teeth. Teeth that have been scaled and polished will respond more favourably to the whitening treatment.

At-Home Maintenance

While at your dentist, you might want to ask them to make a bleaching tray made specifically for the dimensions of your teeth. Home whitening treatments can give inconsistent results, however, if you're simply maintaining a professional treatment, the whitening agent in an at-home kit can certainly assist you. A custom bleaching tray ensures that the whitening agent is applied precisely and evenly to your teeth, without any seepage into your mouth (which is a real possibility with the generic trays that came with the kit). 

The Next Couple of Days

Once your dentist has whitened your teeth, the next couple of days are crucial, and it's all too easy to accidentally derail your progress. The whitening agent has penetrated the pores of your dental enamel, putting your teeth into a receptive state. Your dentist will give you more precise instructions, but teeth can be highly susceptible to discolouration as they recover from the treatment. Avoid foods and drinks known to discolour teeth, so coffee, tea, and red wine should be off the menu for a day or two.

Staining Foods and Drinks

Some people can happily live without red wine, tea, or coffee. For other people, living without these beverages is unthinkable. You must abstain for a day or two following your whitening treatment, but this is only a temporary precaution. Where possible, drink these beverages through a straw, so that they can enter your throat while largely bypassing your teeth. Of course, you might not want to drink your red wine through a straw when you go out for dinner, but it's always wise to rinse your mouth out after consuming foods and drinks that are notorious for discolouring teeth. When rinsing your mouth out isn't practical, be sure to have some sugar-free gum handy. This will stimulate saliva production, which helps to irritate your mouth.

You will need to eventually have your teeth whitened again, but just how long it takes until that becomes necessary is actually in your hands. Contact dentists who offer teeth whitening services to learn more.