Today’s dentistry is as much as about providing you with a beautiful smile as it is about keeping your teeth healthy. Even a perfect smile deteriorates with age but there are various methods these days to boost your smile’s dazzle. One of the more popular whitening options include laser-activated bleaching or more commonly known as laser teeth whitening or laser bleaching.
What is Laser Teeth Whitening?
It is a professional in-office procedure whereby a laser light source is used in combination with a concentrated hydrogen peroxide solution to accelerate the process of bleaching of teeth. The laser tooth whitening treatment can remove extrinsic (superficial) and to some extent, intrinsic (deeper) stains on your teeth. In addition, it can provide a whitening effect that can last for a few years.
How does the laser teeth whitening procedure work?
First, your dentist will remove any visible plaque on your teeth. Then a rubber dental dam is placed around the necks of the teeth and once placed, a protective gel is applied over the gums. The bleaching agent is painted onto the teeth and a laser beam is used to activate it. Two types of laser can be utilized – argon laser that emits visible blue light and carbon-dioxide laser that emits invisible infra-red light. Stain molecules on tooth surface are targeted by these lasers which then rapidly break down the oxidizing agents (hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide) into oxygen and water. The light energy also enhances penetration and chemical reaction rate of peroxide leading to faster whitening results. This technique works best on teeth with yellowish-hue. Antibiotic tetracycline-stained teeth may however require repeated treatment to remove the deep stains.
Why opt for laser teeth whitening?
This is the quickest method of brightening and whitening teeth whereby you see immediate results in a single visit within an hour and there is no need for at-home trays (though some dentists will provide you with at-home kits for touch-ups). Furthermore with the use of argon laser, there are no side effects of heat-induced sensitivity and chemical burns caused by gel bleaching. Individuals with generally sensitive teeth can opt for laser as there is no repeated use of bleaching agents that can cause irritation to the gums and teeth.
Are there any risks with laser teeth whitening treatment?
The office procedure is usually painless and requires no anesthesia though it can be a bit uncomfortable due to the rubber dam placed around your teeth. During the procedure the peroxide and laser combination may be damaging but have no worries as your dentist will protect your soft tissues and eyes using a rubber dental dam and protective goggles. Post-treatment teeth sensitivity can occur in some cases. Pregnant and breast-feeding women should avoid any forms of bleaching until more are known about the effects on their health.
What are the disadvantages of laser teeth whitening?
Like any kind of bleaching, the results are unpredictable and not permanent as your teeth can become stained again. Take note that not all types of discoloration may be corrected. For example, brownish and grayish-hued teeth may not bleach as well as yellowish-hued ones. Filling, veneers and crowns will not lighten after treatment therefore you will need to replace them to match the rest of the mouth. Moreover as appealing how instantaneously whiter your teeth can get, laser treatment is the costliest option available.
Will laser tooth whitening give longer lasting results than other whitening methods?
Like any other whitening procedures, you do not always get an even or long lasting result despite how expensive the treatment may be. Your teeth will naturally get darker due to age or by stains from food, beverages or cigarettes. The whitening effects can be maintained by avoiding smoking and restricting intake of stain-causing food such as coffee and tea. Proper oral hygiene has to be practiced by brushing twice daily to avoid plaque accumulation. Rebleaching or annual touch-ups may be required. The permanent way to having whiter teeth would be by placing porcelain veneers on the affected teeth.
How much would laser teeth whitening cost?
Price usually vary depending on the laser teeth whitening system, degree of stain, technology and the area/country you live in but laser treatment basically starts from $1000 onwards.
Laser teeth whitening or laser bleaching is definitely one of the more attractive and faster method to obtaining a whiter smile but be reminded that there is the availability of effective, less costly alternatives for whitening teeth so consult your dentist to find out which procedure would best suit you.
Find out more about other teeth whitening alternatives here.