Laser teeth whitening is increasingly becoming popular. It is fast, less painful and offers lasting results. Here is more on laser teeth whitening; cost, reviews, side effects before & after results.
‘Flashed the million dollar smile ‘this has been used in many newspaper captions and unless it’s referring to hip- hop artists who have very costly ‘grills ‘on their teeth the term describes the beauty of a clean white smile.
But a majority of the population who do want to have such great smiles and often take care of their teeth often end up with discolored teeth and eventually low self-esteem. This may be due to a number of reasons that include excessive consumption of tannin, acid and caffeine-rich products such as tea, wine, soda, and coffee. It may also result from poor oral hygiene, health issues, medication to allergies, cigarette smoke, genetics and age that leave stains on teeth.
Teeth whitening is the use of different procedures and treatments to remove the stains on the teeth and make them appear whiter. The treatment both natural and chemically induced should be target more than the surface removal of the stains but rather it should target the tooth enamel itself to bring long lasting effects. There are many ways of teeth whitening but laser treatment is one of the most effective and it is professionally monitored to ensure only correct doses are used.
What is Laser Treatment?
It is the use of a laser light which produces heat energy that works on the bleach applied on the front exterior of each tooth. The bleach is usually hydrogen or carbamide peroxide used at high concentrations of up to 40 percent depending on the level of discoloration and this is higher than the 10 percent approved. In this form of non-invasive treatment, it is the bleach that does all the cleaning and brightening eight times beyond their existing shade in just one session.
Hydrogen peroxide known for its multi-purpose uses in the household for cooking, treating minor infections, cleaning, and personal grooming has great benefits in this procedure.
It contains antifungal, anti-viral, germicidal and anti-bacterial properties that are able to work on teeth, eradicating tooth decay that often leads to discoloration. Stains on the teeth are organic in nature and when applied hydrogen peroxide pumps a lot of oxygen that controllably burns the stains removing them completely.
A thorough dental analysis is conducted on each patient before the treatment to diagnose the intensity and level on the tooth to ascertain possible treatment sessions. If early tooth sensitivity is detected especially in patients with creased teeth then deep teeth enamel fluoridation is conducted beforehand.
How does Laser Teeth Whitening Work?
Before the process both the patient and doctor wear protective goggles to shield for the strong laser lights. Then the process begins where the teeth and gums are a thoroughly cleaned use of ultrasonic devices to remove any bacteria, tartar, and plaque that appear on the teeth surface and dried using an airflow.
Next, a shielding gel is applied on the lips and the gums which are also covered in a gum protector and cotton wool strips which help to soak in the saliva that will be produced in the process and avoid interference. Thereafter using a spatula there is an application of the hydrogen or carbamide peroxide gel used carefully and gently on each tooth avoiding the gums and it’s ready for the laser treatment. This is to avoid damage to the soft tissues which can be exacerbated by the laser use. The laser is used for thirty seconds on each tooth.
For a period of ten minutes, the gel is left on the teeth to allow it to clean and a new coat of gel is applied five to ten minutes after the removal of each layer. The gel is applied three to four times for each treatment session.
The laser which contains carbon dioxide or argon heats the bleach paste applied and its heats the oxygen present very fast.The molecules pass through the dental enamel and destroy the chemical bonds on the stains disintegrating them and whitening the teeth. This reaction is photochemical, photothermal and photocatalytic in nature.
Cotton wool is used to remove the remaining gel and the teeth are thoroughly cleaned and dried before covering them with a gel containing fluorine.
The process is effective on mild to moderate discolorations including the yellow or browned stains that are caused by aging that result in dentine exposure and from reaction to medicine such as tetracycline. However, it is limited to discolorations that appear white or gray, periodontitis, gingivitis and those caused by ‘dead’ teeth in the dental cavity.
Laser treatment is also limited in use as the procedure might not work well on teeth that have veneers, bonding or crowns as the bleach may not have the desired effect. However, if the client so desires it involves removal of the restorations, whitening of the teeth the installation of new veneers that match. But this is limited for any future treatments.
Laser Teeth Whitening- Pros and Cons
It is Fast
Laser treatment usually takes twenty to sixty minutes and each treatment whitens the teeth at least eight times more. Compared to other teeth whitening treatments including homemade ones that use activated charcoal and baking soda the results can be seen instantly.
The treatment results which initially require two to four treatments can last five to ten years with regular professional touch ups done bi-yearly or yearly depending on the patient.
However the longevity of this treatment is dependent upon the oral hygiene practiced thereafter that includes a change in diet to eliminate foods and drinks that cause teeth discoloration, frequent plaque removal to prevent build up, teeth cleaning using the ultrasonic devices that remove even the microscopic particles and occasional use of whitening kinds of toothpaste.
During the initial consultation, a shade analysis is conducted which depicts the current smile shade and a future possible smile shed so that the patient can be able to evaluate the difference between each treatment.
Overall teeth treatment
Hydrogen peroxide has excellent germicidal properties which destroy the bacteria’s such a cariogenic bacteria, viruses, and fungi in the mouth by neutralizing them. It is mainly composed of water and oxygen which makes it non-toxic in nature. Its ability to break down into very small molecules helps it to effectively attack and destroy microorganisms that are stuck in the teeth.
The laser treatment can help to treat inflammation and tooth pain if the heat touches the temporomandibular jaw joint. The teeth surface should remain untouched in the process.
The process is generally non-invasive in nature and doesn’t cause any bleeding, swelling. It does not require any use of anesthesia that can cause further damage. More so it is one of the best treatments for patients who have anxiety issues with the dentist visit. It is very simple.
Whitening trays which can be a bit uncomfortable due to the required diet change. Laser treatment requires a shorter period such as 48 hours for the sensitivity and possible swelling to subside.
Protects the gums and cheeks
The use of cofferdam on the gums helps to separate the teeth from the gums. That way, they are not affected by the hydrogen peroxide when it is applied on the teeth.
The use of gels on the lips and cotton wool on the cheeks help to protect from any further damage.
If carefully administered it protects the enamel and dentine. It is not used on patients with fillings thus cannot cause damage.
Hardens the enamel
Discoloration of the teeth occurs when the enamel is corroded. It leaves the dentin which is very thin and yellowish in color to cover the teeth.
During the digestion process, the teeth may lose a lot of minerals. This happens when acting on foods and drinks that are very acidic and sugary and this weakens the enamel.
The use of hydrogen peroxide in the laser treatments provides the necessary oxygen. It allows for remineralization of the enamel thus hardening and fully repairing it.
Control oral PH
The erosion of the enamel and tooth discoloration is sometimes caused by excess acidic saliva. It damages the enamel during the digestive process in the mouth.
Dehydration is also known for its contribution to the discoloration of the teeth. It doesn’t allow for the complete breakdown of food resulting in a buildup of particles on the teeth.
Hydrogen peroxide contains water and oxygen which act on the acid in saliva neutralizing it. It also provides enough water to loosen the buildup on teeth thus whitening them.
Laser treatment is also noninvasive. There are no chances that there will be the use of incisions, chemicals, and ingredients. These will interfere with the oral PH or later cause infections in the oral cavity.
Teeth discoloration can occur on all or some of the teeth. Laser treatment is procedural in nature. It involves careful application of the gel on each tooth. Then there is the use laser heat on each with equal timing. This leads to even whitening of teeth. It creates an even smile compared to other cleaning methods that whiten in parts.
The light from the laser is targeted such that it is able to work specifically.
Laser Teeth Whitening Side Effects
However, laser teeth whitening has some temporary negative effects which include:
The treatment involves the use of high concentration levels of hydrogen or carbamide peroxide. At 30 percent more than the normal use. This level can cause tooth sensitivity and slight irritation. It’s best avoided by persons who already have sensitive teeth.
After the procedure patients are also advised to avoid very hot or cold foods for forty-eight hours. You can also use straws when consuming the liquids to avoid any triggers. The use of sensitive kinds of toothpaste which contain potassium nitrate can also provide relief.
Damaged tooth pulp
If discoloration is as a result of exposed thin dentine use of laser heat can cause a lot of damage. In the treatment, heat is administered both from the ultrasonic cleaning and the laser. If in excess it can affect the teeth bones, nerves, ligament, and roots on the pulp.
Gum damage and irritation
The use of gum protectors, cheek retractors soothing gels and desensitizing pastes and cotton wool during the process are meant to protect the gums, lips and oral tissues from bleach and heat. If not well protected they can be severely damaged during the process and it is worsened in patients who have pre-existing gum disorders.
The treatment is quite expensive to maintain costing about $1000 -$1500for. It is spaced out at least two weeks apart. It may be a bit difficult to afford it.
The treatment is also restrictive in nature as it is unsuitable for expectant mothers. It is also not suitable for patients with worn enamels, thyroid glands problems, and diabetes.
Laser Teeth Whitening Near Me
Most dental clinics offer various teeth whitening procedures. Laser teeth whitening is now more available than before. Most people prefer this procedure as it is painless and offers faster results. Depending on where you are, check into your nearest dental clinic or hospital for consultation. Just make sure to research on reviews and rating of the clinic before. Do not fall prey for fake dentists who will bring more harm to your teeth.
Laser Teeth Whitening Cost
Advanced treatments like laser are more costly than simple chemical bleaching. Laster teeth whitening prices range between $300 to $1000 depending on your location, your dentist, and duration of treatment.
Before and After
Most dentists keep a gallery of their past treatments. Ask to check through their before and after photos. Reviews the end results. Is there a noticeable difference? This will help you to decide whether you’d like to go on with the procedure or not. Here are some before and after photos of laser teeth whitening:
Check online for reviews on various teeth whitening procedures. Find out who is the best dentist near you. Reviews and ratings from his clients will help you decide how and where you want the procedure to be done.