What is the Laser Teeth Whitening Procedure?

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Pearly white teeth are more popular than ever. Those who seek a dazzling smile can choose whether to have a professional teeth whitening procedure, or go DIY with at-home whitening kits. Laser teeth whitening is one of the newest procedures available today. If you’re considering this treatment option, you may be wondering: what is the laser teeth whitening procedure?

What is the Laser Teeth Whitening Procedure?

The term ‘Laser teeth whitening’ may conjure up images of high-powered lasers capable of cutting through steel. In reality, the laser or light used is very mild. You’ll be in and out of your dentist’s office in under an hour with a bright new smile.

laser teeth whitening procedureThe laser teeth whitening process:

  1. A rubber dam is placed over your gums to protect them
  2. The bleaching product (such as hydrogen peroxide bleaching gel) is then painted onto the teeth
  3. A light or laser is placed over the bleaching product to activate the chemical; this speeds up the chemical reaction, and thereby the whitening process
  4. Then, you sit back and relax while you wait for the chemical to work its magic

The entire laser teeth whitening process takes under an hour. In that hour, your teeth can change up to 12 shades!

Unlike other teeth whitening procedures, only one visit is required for laser teeth whitening. No follow up is required, which is perfect for people on a busy schedule. You can enjoy your dazzling smile for as few as 6 or as many as 24 months before your next treatment.

Tooth Stains Over Time

Teeth whitening procedures are not permanent, as teeth naturally become stained over time. People who limit foods and beverages which stain teeth – such as coffee or tea – will be able to enjoy their whitened teeth longer.

Practicing good oral hygiene and visiting your dentist regularly for professional cleanings can help teeth whitening treatments last longer.

Who Can Have Laser Teeth Whitening Treatments?

Not everyone is eligible to have laser teeth whitening. First, consult with your dentist. They will be able to determine if teeth whitening is appropriate for your teeth, and answer any questions you may have.

Teeth whitening is not recommended for:

  • People under age of 16
  • Pregnant women
  • People with sensitive teeth or exposed roots
  • People with receding gums or gum disease
  • People who have worn enamel
  • People with tooth-colored fillings, crowns, or restorations

Is Laser Teeth Whitening Safe?

Even people who are dedicated to perfect oral health may notice that their teeth become stained over time. This is completely natural. Teeth can stain either by changes in the tooth material itself, or on the outside surface of the teeth.

  • laser teeth whitening procedureDeep (intrinsic) stains: Deep stains occur on the dentin, or inner layer, of the teeth. Deep stains can result from trauma to tooth, certain medications, or excessive use of fluoride.
  • Surface (extrinsic) stains: Surface stains affect the tooth’s enamel. Surface stains are a result of exposure to food, soda drinks, coffee, tea, or tobacco use.
  • Age-related stains: Teeth can become discolored from age, a combination of deep and surface stains.

People who want to remove stains from their teeth can opt for a teeth whitening procedure. The term ‘whitening’ is used for any product or service which makes teeth appear more white. This includes both professional and at-home options.

Laser teeth whitening, also known as ‘power whitening’, is very safe as long as the treatment is performed at a licensed dentist’s office. Avoid getting your teeth whitened at a non-licensed dental practice.

Your dentist will consult you about your oral health, history, medications, and goals for your teeth whitening. This consultation, in addition to your dentist’s training, experience, and accreditation, helps ensure that you have the best and safest experience possible.

Laser Teeth Whitening Pros and Cons

As with all dental procedures, there are pros and cons to laser teeth whitening.

Pros

  • The procedure is short – under an hour
  • Only a single procedure needs to be performed
  • Long lasting – anywhere between 6 – 24 months depending on your lifestyle
  • Effective – can lighten teeth 5 – 12 shades in one session
  • No trays or strips, pain, or uncomfortable hardware needed

Cons

  • Cost is higher up front
  • Laser teeth whitening will not work on fillings, crowns, or other restorations, as this can lead to uneven coloring
  • May not live up to unrealistic expectations of the whiteness of teeth

Laser Teeth Whitening Risks and Side Effects

The risks of laser teeth whitening are very low for a person whose teeth are in good health.

Common risks include:

  • Overuse
  • Sensitivity
  • Gum irritation
  • Breakdown of tooth enamel

Side effects of laser tooth whitening are rare. Some people may experience a temporary change in sensitivity, or temporary pain or discomfort.

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