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What Is Laser Teeth Whitening? [Cosmetic Dentistry]
Lasers have become a widely used tool by dentists for a variety of dental procedures, including professional teeth whitening treatments. By combining traditional bleaching products used for in-office whitening with a laser, dentists can help patients whiten the teeth by several shades in a short period of time.
Understanding the laser teeth whitening process
Learn how a dentist can use laser teeth whitening to help patients brighten the teeth in a dental office setting.
What type of laser is used for in-office whitening treatments?
Currently, there are only three types of lasers that have been approved by the FDA for laser teeth whitening. These are argon, carbon dioxide and diode lasers. The type of lights used for the procedure have various wavelengths and can have different effects on the bleaching process, so it is never a bad idea to ask a dentist about what type of technology is being used. While these lasers are considered safe to use under the professional guidance of a dentist, some patients may experience increased sensitivity during or following the treatment.
How does laser teeth whitening work?
The dentist starts by preparing the mouth by isolating the teeth using cheek retractors and covering the gums with a liquid or rubber dam. This extra precaution helps prevent unnecessary contact between the whitening product and the surrounding soft tissue. Next, a whitening gel is applied. This professional bleaching solution often contains a high dose of hydrogen peroxide that is absorbed by the porous enamel of the tooth to break down stains both on the surface and deep inside. A laser is then directed on each tooth to expedite the whitening process. The energy from the laser is designed to instigate a chemical reaction that causes the bleaching agent to foam and remove discoloration.
How many treatments are needed?
The effects of laser teeth whitening are often immediate and dramatic. Depending on a patient’s cosmetic goals, one 45-minute to two-hour application may be enough to produce the desired results. However, repeat sessions may help address especially stubborn stains. If further treatment is desired, a gap of approximately two weeks is necessary to reduce tooth sensitivity and prevent damage to the enamel of the teeth.
What care is required following treatment?
Patients are often instructed to eat a restricted diet of white or light-colored foods for the 48 hours directly following a laser teeth whitening session. After this time period has passed, only regular brushing and flossing is required. The results of bleaching is temporary and can be maintained for longer periods of time by limiting dark-colored foods and drinks and brushing after every meal. Patients should also continue visiting a dentist for regular cleanings at least twice a year.
Laser teeth whitening can only be performed in a dental office where a dentist can ensure this technology is being used effectively and safely. An initial consultation is important for discussing what options are available with a dentist and learning if you are a candidate for this procedure.
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