Your smile says a lot about you. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, 99.7% of people believe a smile is an important social asset and nearly three-quarters believe people with an unattractive smile may be hurting their chances at a successful career. In one survey, when asked what they would most like to improve about their smile, the majority of individuals responded with, "whiter, brighter teeth." Whitening or bleaching teeth is the most common cosmetic dental procedure, and while many over-the-counter whitening kits promise results, in-office procedures are generally regarded as safer and more effective. Laser teeth whitening, also known as light-accelerated bleaching, is one of the more popular dentist-supervised treatments many people opt for in search of whiter teeth. Read on to learn more about the process and see if it's right for you.
How It Works
From beginning to end, the laser teeth whitening process usually lasts 1-2 hours. It begins with your dentist cleaning your teeth, to remove any buildup and surface stains. Your mouth is then prepared to have the whitening agent applied. This involves the use of a retractor to keep the lips and cheeks from touching the teeth. The gums are covered to avoid contact with the whitening gel.
Once your mouth has been prepped, the bleaching solution, which can contain up to 6% peroxide, is applied to the teeth minutes. During that time, the bleach is exposed to a high energy light, usually halogen, LED, or plasma-arc, which strengthens the effect of the peroxide.
According to dentists.org, the light breaks down the peroxide in the gel, releasing oxygen particles that then bond with particles that cause tooth discoloration. Once the oxygen has bonded to these particles, they can be removed much more easily.
After approximately 15 minutes, your dentist will remove the whitening solution. Patients have reported results as much as 10 shades lighter following a single treatment.
Possible Side Effects
Unlike some other cosmetic dentistry procedures, no recovery time is needed following teeth whitening. There are no serious side effects associated with laser teeth whitening, but some people report increased sensitivity or irritated gums following the procedure. Irritation is usually due to unintentional contact between the bleaching compound and the gums. To avoid compounding the problem, most dentists recommend avoiding very hot or very cold drinks and foods for a short time after having your teeth whitened. These side effects usually disappear within a short time. You can learn more about accelerated bleaching by visiting http://www.vernonhillsdentist.com.