Teeth whitening is a simple, conservative way to improve the appearance of a smile and reduce tooth discoloration. Whiter teeth can make one look younger and, as most people agree, more attractive.
The options for teeth whitening today are almost endless, and one of the more popular professional options is laser teeth whitening.
Laser teeth whitening treatment is a cosmetic dentistry procedure that adds the use of a laser to in-office teeth whitening.
The procedure is completed in a dental office. It involves placing a concentrated whitening gel on your teeth and then using a laser to heat it up, which whitens your teeth quickly.
Extrinsic tooth discoloration affects the outside of teeth. Certain foods and beverages such as tea, soda, red wine, dark berries, and coffee cause this type of discoloration. These stains can be easily removed with at-home whitening products.
Intrinsic discoloration develops on the inside of teeth. It can be caused by certain diseases and medical treatments (like chemotherapy), genetics, trauma, medications, and aging. These stains are more difficult to remove and typically require professional teeth whitening.
Many people confuse other types of teeth whitening procedures performed in the dental office with laser teeth whitening.
Most in-office teeth whitening products, like ZOOM! and Sapphire, use a light, not a laser. They may appear to have similar steps as you undergo the procedure, but they function differently.
In true laser teeth whitening, the laser is required to activate the chemicals in the whitening gel, producing faster and more effective results.
In whitening techniques using lights, including those products you can use at home, the light only functions to produce heat. When whitening gel containing peroxide chemicals heats up, it works faster.
Laser teeth whitening is completed in a dental office, and the procedure consists of a few simple steps:
Laser teeth whitening is a safe and effective procedure. It is unlikely to cause serious side effects but can cause temporary discomfort.
Tooth sensitivity and minor gum irritation are the most common side effects. They are typically mild and short-lasting but can be severe in some people. An allergic reaction is also possible.
To prevent these adverse effects, avoid hot and cold substances for a few days after the procedure.
Lastly, pregnant and nursing women should not undergo laser teeth whitening (or any form of teeth whitening).
After your laser teeth whitening session, drink only clear liquids for at least two hours. Then, after this time has passed, only eat foods that won't stain your teeth. Avoid eating dark-pigmented foods, coffee, tea, and soda for at least 24 hours.
When a properly trained and certified dentist performs laser teeth whitening, there are several advantages.
Laser teeth whitening has certain disadvantages when compared to other whitening methods.
Compared to traditional teeth whitening treatment that uses either over-the-counter products or professional products used at home, laser teeth whitening differs in several ways.
A dental professional must perform laser whitening because it uses a much higher concentration of the active ingredient. This high-strength gel can cause chemical burns on the soft tissues of the mouth, so professional oversight is mandatory.
The procedure length of laser teeth whitening is relatively short. Most appointments take only about an hour. The dentist will monitor the whitening process continuously throughout the procedure.
Brown or stained teeth? Learn more about LED Teeth Whitening
As teeth whitening increases in popularity, so do the options for professional teeth whitening.
Lasers are a commonly used dental instrument for various procedures, and whitening may involve the use of different types of lasers. These include argon, KTP, diode, and Nd:YAG lasers.
Because there is so much variety in the types of lasers used, the settings used with each laser, and the type and concentration of whitening gels, making one concise statement about the effectiveness of laser teeth whitening is impossible.
In order to make that claim, there must be more research and some standardization. For this reason, we cannot say with certainty that it produces better results than other forms of in-office whitening.
The cost of laser teeth whitening is tough to pin down. Because it is a cosmetic procedure and not covered by dental insurance companies, there is no “standard” fee. Depending on your location, the cost can range from $400 to $1,500.
To the surprise of some, the cost is usually a little higher in rural areas where there is less competition among dentists. In a city or suburb with a dentist on every corner, they will offer more competitive pricing for procedures not covered under dental insurance.
A reasonable price for laser teeth whitening is more likely to fall within the $600 to 800 range. This is consistent with the cost of the supplies needed for the procedure and an hour or more of the dentist’s time.
If you do not want to invest in laser teeth whitening, there are less expensive at-home solutions to choose from.
Laser teeth whitening is faster, but not necessarily better than other teeth whitening methods.
Those in a hurry or wish to avoid the hassle of performing the tasks of whitening at home are the most likely to spring for the extra cost of in-office laser teeth whitening.
Read NewMouth's reviews of the Top Teeth Whitening Products of 2021
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