Laser Teeth Whitening
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Teeth whitening has become one of the first requests that dental patients have when visiting their dentist.
Laser teeth whitening is administered in a dental office exclusively and is the most expensive method for whitening. Bleach is applied to each tooth, and heat generated by a laser enhances its effectiveness while ultimately speeding up the process. This procedure uses a strong bleaching gel that the laser activates and enhances for quick, dramatic results. The bleach used is a hydrogen peroxide gel that ranges from 25 to 40 percent in concentration levels. With these high concentrations, special precautions are taken to reduce tooth sensitivity, as well as protect the lips, gums and other oral tissues from being damaged.
Laser teeth whitening takes about an hour in the dental office. Oftentimes, several treatments are needed to achieve the desired results and bleaching trays for home use may be needed as well to improve or maintain those results.
The Laser Teeth Whitening Procedure
Pre-Treatment - The dentist or hygienist will clean your teeth. He or she will also ensure that all cavities are treated and filled because otherwise, the whitening solution could penetrate through the cavity into the interior of your tooth.
Medication - Any form of teeth whitening can cause temporary sensitivity, especially in people who already have some sensitivity in their teeth. For this reason, your dentist may prescribe a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication prior to the first whitening session.
The Whitening - The dentist will use a rubber or plastic guard to hold your mouth open. Next, the dentist will apply a barrier over your gums to protect them from the whitening solution. This barrier is often applied as a gel that hardens to a protective rubber-like layer. When the gums are fully protected, the dentist will use a syringe to apply a whitening compound to the front of your teeth. The dentist will use a pen-style laser to activate the compound, which will cause it to foam somewhat as it lifts the stains away.
Repeat if Necessary - When all of the teeth have been whitened by the laser, the dentist will allow the compound to remain for a few minutes, and then wipe off the whitening compound using a small vacuum tool. He or she will then apply a new layer of compound and repeat the process as many as three times.
Follow-up - The teeth whitening process is not permanent. Teeth can be re-stained, especially by cigarettes, beverages such as coffee or tea, or some foods. You may need to schedule a follow-up whitening session; the effectiveness of the whitening lasts for as few as six months or as long as several years.
Laser teeth whitening isn't for everyone and is just one option to whiten your teeth. To find out more about teeth whitening, schedule a consultation at Glen Carbon Family Dentistry by calling us at 618-288-6204.