How Long Does Teeth Whitening Take?

Published On: May 11, 2022

For many, teeth whitening is a way to brighten your smile and make it more attractive. There are two variables when determining the necessary time for whitening, whether you want a quick fix or something that lasts.

The first variable is determined by the type of treatment you choose. The second one has to do with your individual needs.

How Long Does Teeth Whitening Take?

Teeth bleaching treatments can take anywhere between 15-30 minutes and last between 3-12 weeks, depending on the type of treatment used. The most common forms of teeth whitening are:

  • The teeth bleaching kits that you can buy over-the-counter.
  • Professional treatments in a dental clinic and take-home.
  • Customized whitening trays.

Teeth Whitening Kit

If you decide to do teeth whitening at home, the process is quite straightforward. Depending on the type of kit you choose (tray-based or gel), you will need to start using it regularly for a few minutes each day. Once your teeth are bleached to the desired shade, you can use it less often. When using a tooth whitening kit at home, it usually takes 4 to 6 weeks for your teeth to be fully whitened.

In-Office Teeth Whitening Treatment

If you decide to go with a professional tooth whitening treatment, the process is somewhat similar. Your dentist will likely examine your teeth and decide on a suitable bleaching agent. There are several options to choose from – carbamide peroxide, hydrogen peroxide, or in some cases – laser light. In case of sensitivity, teeth whitening treatments are carried out under a protective layer of tooth enamel (except for the most advanced laser systems, which can penetrate through enamel). This is achieved using carbamide peroxide trays or gels applied by your dentist.

The first session usually takes 15 to 40 minutes, depending on the extent of whitening needed. For example, teeth whitening treatments at RenovaSmiles bring brightness to your smile in less than an hour. Additional sessions take less time, around 10 to 20 minutes. If you have a lot of surface staining and yellow teeth, your dentist may recommend a series of treatments over several months. The number of treatments you’ll need will depend on the amount and depth of staining and the porosity and color of your teeth.

Take-Home Whitening Trays

If you decide against treatment at a dental office, you can buy custom fit trays from your dentist or an online retailer and do it yourself. The procedure is pretty simple and does not require any special training. All you need to do is:

  • Purchase a tray for teeth whitening
  • Apply the gel to your teeth once a day for 15-30 minutes
  • Brush your teeth after each use to remove any residue.
  • Check the instructions on the package for more information.

When using take-home whitening trays, it usually takes 4 – 6 weeks for your teeth to be completely white. You can continue using it beyond this point if you desire stronger or longer-lasting effects. The higher bleaching strength of these kits will make this process slightly faster, but they won’t significantly lengthen the time required for your teeth to be fully bleached.