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Learn about the safest ways to whiten your teeth.
Tooth whitening is any process that lightens the color of a tooth. Whitening is accomplished by either the physical removal of the stain or a chemical reaction that lightens the tooth color.
LED teeth whitening uses a tooth-whitening agent, such as hydrogen peroxide, and an LED (light-emitting diode) to whiten teeth.
To get a brighter smile, Americans spend $1.4 billion annually on nonprescription teeth whitening products.11 Cosmetic tooth bleaching is a global industry, with people spending $3.2 billion to brighten their teeth worldwide.9
During the LED teeth whitening process, users first treat the teeth with a chemical agent that has bleaching properties. This is usually in the form of a whitening gel or serum. Blue light from the LED activates the whitening agent and starts the chemical reaction.1
When this interaction happens, the blue light penetrates the enamel and lifts existing stains.
LEDs are highly efficient and last longer than other light sources. They do not have a warm-up time and immediately switch on at their highest intensity.
However, the light from an LED will not change the color of your teeth if used alone. It acts as a catalyst to speed up the chemical reaction caused by a whitening agent.
The most commonly used whitening agents are hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide.
LED teeth whitening was developed to be safe for at-home use. Current research shows that LED teeth whitening is safe and effective when users follow the manufacturer's protocols.2, 3
LEDs as a light source are a safer alternative to ultraviolet (UV) light, which can cause cells to mutate. LED light does not cause cell mutations. It speeds up the whitening reaction without UV light risks.
Talk to your dentist before whitening your teeth. Teeth whitening does not work for everyone. Results depend on the user's lifestyle and the cause of their teeth discoloration.
LED teeth whitening works better on yellow teeth compared to brown or gray-hued teeth.
See NewMouth’s top 10 teeth whitening products of 2022.
Blue light LED teeth whitening offers many benefits, including:
Blue light LED teeth whitening also has downsides, including:
Whether or not LED teeth whitening is worth it depends on a person's lifestyle. The longevity of treatment results varies. Several factors can impact tooth discoloration, including:
To maintain a whiter smile after treatment, follow these steps:
All types of bleaching — whether over-the-counter (OTC), take-home kits, or in-office — are temporary, requiring eventual touch-ups. If your lifestyle lets you maintain the results, LED teeth whitening can be worth it.
The risk of side effects is only high if you do not follow the product instructions. Consult your dentist to determine which LED teeth whitening kit is best for you.
The length of time needed to whiten teeth using an LED kit will vary depending on the brand. Some manufacturers claim you can achieve desired results in 10 to 20 minutes. Others require you to use the kit longer.
Most users experience the best results after completing multiple sessions over several days. Always remember to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for your safety.
Like other teeth-whitening methods, the most common side effects of LED teeth whitening kits are tooth sensitivity and mild gingival irritation.3 Factors that increase the risk of these side effects include:
Tooth sensitivity can last several days. It often begins during the whitening treatment. Gingival irritation can begin a day after the treatment and last several days.
Severe side effects include susceptibility to tooth demineralization. This is caused by overexposure to the bleaching agent. Another severe side effect is pulpal damage.
Always follow the manufacturer's instructions when using an at-home whitening system. Each whitening kit is different, so read the directions carefully.
Before whitening your teeth at home, schedule an appointment with your dentist. They will check for any tooth problems that could cause the pulp to become irritated during whitening. This can cause temporary sensitivity and discomfort.
Ask your dentist which teeth-whitening products they recommend, based on your personal needs and dental history.
Once you've achieved your desired shade, you can transition to whitening maintenance depending on your diet and homecare.
LED teeth whitening kits are a great way to achieve a brighter smile at home. However, in-office treatments remain superior. Some advantages of receiving in-office treatments include:
Despite the advantages of in-office treatments, they still have some downsides. In-office treatments are usually more expensive and require multiple visits.
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