Laser teeth whitening, also known as professional teeth whitening, is performed by a dentist in a dental clinic. While it's not plastic surgery, laser teeth whitening is considered a cosmetic dental procedure that shows significant improvement to your teeth's brightness — up to 10 shades brighter. Bleach is applied to each tooth while a laser generates heat that enhances its effectiveness, which ultimately speeds up the process, leading to quick, dramatic results.
Is Laser Teeth Whitening an Option For You?
It's not a long process, but it is precise. Check out the step-by-step breakdown below. This may vary depending on your dental care provider.
- The colour and shade of your existing teeth are determined using a shade indicator.
- A picture of your teeth is taken to see a before/after comparison.
- Your lips are coated with a protective SPF lotion containing moisturisers.
- A cheek retractor is inserted into the mouth, and cotton rolls are placed under the lips.
- A protective coating is placed over the gums to protect your mouth and gums from the bleaching gel.
- A bleaching gel consisting of hydrogen peroxide and thickening agents is applied to the front of your teeth to keep the solution on the surfaces of your teeth.
- Patients must sit still as a bleaching light or laser will shine onto the teeth to activate the bleaching process.
- Laser application can take as little as 10 minutes.
- The gauze and the liquid dam materials will be monitored between sessions to ensure that the mouth's soft tissues are safe and dry.
- After treatment, avoid certain food and drinks for a few days as the pores of enamel are more susceptible to absorbing stains (lipstick, coffee, soft drinks, etc.) and sensitive to cold food items (ice cream, cold beverages, etc.)
Most agree that laser teeth whitening is the most effective whitening treatment. And with that comes cost. Here are the associated costs you can expect when going the laser route:
- Financial: Laser teeth whitening procedures in Singapore cost anything from $950 and above. And chances are you'll be paying for it out-of-pocket as it is considered a cosmetic procedure and is therefore not covered by Medisave, according to this article from human.
- Time: Here's where you can make up for the price as nearly every procedure takes just an hour to complete
There's no doubt that laser teeth whitening is the most expensive of all teeth whitening options, but for a good reason. It's quick and effective results are a combination that's tough to beat.
You got your teeth laser whitened. You love it. But according to the human article mentioned above, in-surgery power bleaching will last for 18 months to 2 years. So how do you keep those pearly whites so white? Here are a few specific things you can do to maintain your bright new smile:
- Avoid dark-coloured beverages and foods that cause staining over time
- Drink with a straw to reduce the effect of staining beverages
- Brush with whitening toothpaste to help whiten and protect your teeth
- Visit your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings
- Schedule a follow-up treatment every six months
Perhaps you prefer passing on the laser-in-your-mouth option. There's still a variety of options for you to choose from. There are two categories for non-laser whitening: over-the-counter (OTC) products or professional systems. The latter can be applied either at home or in-office and achieve better results than OTC due to higher percentages of the bleaching agent and their application method. OTC products come in a variety of forms:
- Toothpaste and rinses
- Gel used in trays
- Whitening strips
- Whitening chewing gum
- Whitening paint-on gel
Here are a few more things to keep in mind when considering laser teeth whitening:
- Let your dentist determine if you're a viable candidate for the procedure
- Multiple treatments may be required for your desired results
- At-home bleaching trays may be required for your desired results
- The role of laser dentistry in dental procedures may well change in the future as technology improves, and that will change the laser teeth whitening experience for people
That concludes Laser Teeth Whitening 101. If you have any questions or want to see if you're a candidate for the procedure, contact your dentist today.