Cosmetic Dental Treatment: Laser Teeth Whitening
Over time, teeth naturally change colour, usually darkening or yellowing as we age. Tooth colour is affected by a number of factors, including consumption of food, drink, and tobacco products. It can be difficult to determine the best and safest treatments for whitening teeth. We don’t recommend store-bought products such as whitening toothpastes and white strips because most products scrub off the tooth enamel in order to achieve the whitening result – this can be dangerous for your dental health in the long run. Furthermore, the results will generally be slight, so these products are not recommended for patients seeking a dramatic improvement. Professional whitening treatments that take place in the dental office reach below the tooth’s surface, for a more dramatic, lasting result.
The Laser Whitening Procedure
The in-office laser whitening procedure is a simplified, less messy alternative to brightening your smile using traditional tray delivery systems. No longer do you have to wait weeks for results or wear those uncomfortable trays for extended periods of time. The process takes about 2 hours to achieve the desired results. While relaxing in one of our comfortable dental chairs, the teeth to be whitened are isolated with barrier control solutions, and the whitening gel placed. The Zoom “laser” is placed into position and activated. The photo initiators contained in the whitening gel are activated with the use of the laser, and the process begins. The whitening gel is removed and re-applied for up to three sessions. Each session lasts approximately 20 minutes. Once complete, all the barriers and solutions are removed and rinsed clean.
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Professional Teeth Whitening
Most whitening treatments use hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide as the active ingredient in whitening gels. Hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent that converts into water, releasing an oxygen molecule during this process. The oxygen penetrates the tooth to dislodge stains. Some refer to this as “bleaching” the teeth, but it is not the same as the bleach you use at home for laundry and other cleaning tasks.
Many of the products available in stores provide limited results, and some may simply remove surface stains while risking damage to tooth enamel and increased tooth sensitivity. The quest for whiter teeth takes many forms, but for the best, longest-lasting results, a professional whitening treatment is advised.
Your dentist can offer you safe, effective whitening treatments, including laser teeth whitening.
Vancouver Laser Teeth Whitening
Laser teeth whitening is a popular tooth-whitening treatment. It adds the use of laser dentistry to the in-office whitening, working via a combination of hydrogen peroxide and heat. It is a safe and effective whitening treatment that provides lasting results.
The laser teeth whitening process is fairly simple:
- A shade indicator is used to determine the colour and shade of your teeth.
- A picture is taken for before and after comparison.
- An SPF lotion with moisturizers is used to protect your lips.
- A cheek retractor is inserted into your mouth and cotton is placed under the lips.
- Your gums are coated to protect them from the bleaching gel.
After these preparation steps are completed, the laser teeth whitening procedure itself takes place:
- The bleaching gel, which consists of hydrogen peroxide and thickening agents, is applied to the front of the teeth.
- A laser will shine onto your teeth to activate the process.
- The gauze and liquid dam will be checked throughout the procedure to ensure that your mouth’s soft tissues are safe and dry.
Following the laser teeth whitening treatment, you will need to avoid certain foods and drinks for a few days. This is because the enamel will briefly be more susceptible to absorbing stains. You will also experience some tooth sensitivity to cold foods and drinks.
Laser teeth whitening can provide you with pearly white teeth that are up to 10 shades whiter, so enjoy your new smile!
Teeth Whitening FAQ
Studies have shown teeth whitening to have no adverse effect on tooth enamel. During the whitening process, enamel pores are widened and this can cause sensitivity to hot and cold, but this effect will last only one or two days.
HOW LONG DOES THE WHITENING LAST?
Food and drink will cause teeth to discolour again over time, avoiding red wine, coffee, tea and smoking will help preserve the results. Typically patients can expect results to last one to two years before another whitening treatment is required.
HOW ARE DENTAL WHITENING PROCEDURES DIFFERENT FROM OVER THE COUNTER PRODUCTS?
Whitening toothpastes and other products found in stores only clean stains on the surface of teeth. Dental laser whitening changes the tooth enamel colour, for dramatic results.