Laser Teeth Whitening: The Process and Benefits
Teeth whitening procedures are some of the most common treatments at the Houston dentist’s office. Professional Houston teeth whitening can deliver long lasting, superior results. And now, some dental practices have a new tool to brighten up smiles in the form of dental lasers. Laser teeth whitening is gaining in popularity among patients and dental practices. That’s because laser whitening is well tolerated by patients and provides a brighter, whiter smile that is often longer lasting.
How Laser Teeth Whitening Works
Dental lasers can be used in a huge variety of cosmetic, periodontal and surgical procedures, in addition to teeth whitening. Their unmatched precision and finely calibrated power give dental
professionals total control over the process. As for the process, this is what patients can expect from laser teeth whitening:
- A mold is taken of the patient’s teeth – Before the whitening process begins, the dental team will first take dental impressions. These impressions are used to fabricate a custom set of whitening trays that will be needed following treatment. Because the trays are fabricated from the patient’s own bite pattern, they provide a perfect fit.
- The patient’s mouth is prepared for the procedure – Dental lasers are high powered tools and therefore require a couple of precautions. First, a set of filtering glasses are
given to the patient to wear. These glasses wear like normal eyeglasses and protect the patient’s eyes from any stray beams. They’re also designed to filter out specific wavelengths of light, so they’re matched to the laser’s output range.
To protect tissues inside the mouth (the gums, tongue, and other periodontal structures), the dentist will place a rubber dam and cheek retractors for the duration of the procedure.
- High-concentration hydrogen peroxide gel is applied – Hydrogen peroxide is the active ingredient in all teeth whitening gels, but dentists use a higher concentration version that provides better results. Given its additional strength, this high concentration peroxide isn’t appropriate for over-the-counter use, but it is perfectly safe when handled by a professional. Care is taken to ensure the gel is only applied where it’s needed.
- The dental laser is used to activate the gel – This is where the laser comes in. Once the whitening solution is applied, a dental laser is used to supply thermal energy and activate the gel. At this point, the peroxide will do its job over the course of 30-60 minutes.
- The dentist makes fine adjustments until whitening is complete – It takes a short time for the bleaching gel to work its magic, and during this time, the dentist will keep an eye on how the process is going. If needed, they will apply a bit more gel to achieve the desired results. If there is any discomfort during treatment (high-strength peroxide may cause minor irritation in some patients), the dental professional can apply a soothing gel to reduce the discomfort.
Once this process is complete, the patient is ready to go home with a whiter, brighter smile.
What to Expect After a Laser Teeth Whitening Appointment
Patients will have whiter teeth right away, but there is minor maintenance required to optimize results. This maintenance period is short-lived and easy to manage, but essential to achieving maximum brightness. It includes:
- Avoiding foods and beverages that may stain – For about a week following laser whitening, it’s strongly recommended that patients avoid any food or drink likely to cause discoloration. Coffee, pasta sauce, red wine, dark colored fruit (like blueberries) are some of the foods and beverages that may leave stains that undermine whitening treatment. If you can’t live without coffee or tea, drinking it through a straw will minimize stain risk.
- Using dental trays to reapply take-home whitening solution – For a short time following treatment, patients are encouraged to reapply take-home whitening solution using their custom dental trays. This whitening solution is of a lower strength, so it’s safe to use at home, and will help the laser teeth whitening results last longer. With just a bit of after-appointment care and attention, patients can unlock the full potential of laser teeth whitening and extend their results for as long as possible.
Four Advantages of Laser Teeth Whitening
Dental lasers are proven tools in many dentistry treatments, given their strong safety and efficacy profile. The technology is also well-adapted for teeth whitening. Here are four reasons
why patients and practitioners alike are turning to laser power:
- Laser teeth whitening can often be done in under an hour – Laser whitening treatment is characterized by convenience. For most people, it takes less than an hour from start to finish.
- Laser teeth whitening offers professional results – Professional teeth whitening is always going to be more effective than at-home whitening products. This is partly due to stronger whitening solutions found in professional settings. It’s also partly due to professional supervision, as the dental professional will make subtle adjustments during treatment that ensure better results.
- Dental lasers come with minimal risk – Dental lasers are high-powered tools, but in the hands of a trained professional, they are safe to use. Laser technology is already
used for more intensive dental procedures, such as removing fibromas or tongue ties. Teeth whitening is a minor process, comparatively. Some patients may experience some tooth or gum sensitivity, but these side effects of laser teeth whitening are not long-lasting and are generally easy to manage.
- Laser whitening lasts longer than over-the-counter teeth whitening – Once patients are done with their course of laser teeth whitening (it may take a few visits to achieve the final look) their brighter smile will last longer than at-home whitening methods. With proper care and maintenance, some patients won’t need another tooth touchup for a year or longer. These are the kind of results that whitening strips and other over-the-counter products can’t match.
Laser Teeth Whitening Gives Patients Something to Smile About
Most people can undergo laser teeth whitening without issue, but it’s not an option for everyone. As such, your Houston dentist will examine your teeth beforehand to ensure you are a candidate. People with significant enamel damage may need to consider alternative whitening methods – but a Houston dentist can clarify this for their patients and identify the best approach for each person.
If the Houston dentist determines that laser teeth whitening is an option for you, it’s a fast track to a brighter, more beautiful smile. For many people, there’s no putting a price tag on that.