a close up image of a woman wearing red lipstick is smiling with white teeth

Is Laser Teeth Whitening an Option For You?

What Is Laser Teeth Whitening?

While it's not plastic surgery, laser teeth whitening is considered a cosmetic dental procedure that shows significant improvement — up to 10 shades — to the brightness of your teeth. Bleach is applied to each tooth while a laser generates heat that enhances its effectiveness, which ultimately speeds up the process and leads to quick, dramatic results.

How Does Laser Whitening Work?

It is not a long process, but it is precise. Check out the step-by-step breakdown below:

  • Preparation:
    • 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.
  • Procedure:
    • A protective coating is placed over the gums to protect your mouth and gums from the bleaching gel.
    • A bleaching gel containing 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 shines onto the teeth to activate the bleaching process.
    • Some whitening systems consist of three 15-minute sessions in one sitting.
    • The gauze and the liquid dam materials will be monitored between sessions to ensure that the mouth's soft tissues are safe and dry.
  • Post-procedure:
    • After the treatment, avoid certain foods and drinks for a few days as the pores of enamel are more susceptible to absorbing stains (lipstick, coffee, soda, etc.) and sensitive to cold food items (ice cream, cold beverages, etc.).

What Will Laser Teeth Whitening Cost?

Most agree that laser teeth whitening is the most effective whitening treatment, but it is not an inexpensive option.

  • Medical aid: Chances are you'll be paying for it out-of-pocket, since most medical aids don't cover this procedure.
  • 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: its quick and effective results are a combination that's tough to beat.

How Do You Maintain Your Laser Teeth Whitening?

You got your teeth laser-whitened. You love it.Professional teeth whitening can last from six months to two years. So, how do you keep those pearly whites so white? Here are a few things you can do to maintain your new bright 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 if necessary.

What Are My Alternatives to Laser Teeth Whitening?

Perhaps you prefer passing on the laser-in-your-mouth option. There are a variety of options 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:

Anything Else I Should Know About Laser Teeth Whitening?

Here are a few more things to keep in mind when considering laser teeth whitening:

  • Your dentist will 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.

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.