Laser teeth whitening is a bleaching procedure done in a dentist’s office. It’s different from other teeth whitening methods, as the procedure involves a bleaching gel and laser. A laser is a beam of high intensity light.
This article covers the process, side effects, and costs of laser teeth whitening. It also explains how long you can expect the results to last.
Laser teeth whitening is a procedure designed to brighten your teeth. It’s also known as laser teeth bleaching.
During the procedure, a bleaching gel is applied to your teeth. A laser is then directed onto your teeth, which heats up the gel. This activates its whitening properties and alters stain molecules on the teeth.
The goal of laser teeth whitening is to reduce discoloration and make your teeth look whiter.
Tooth discoloration can happen for many reasons, including:
- consuming certain foods and drinks, like coffee and tea
- using tobacco
- injury to the mouth
- certain medications, like antihistamines and chemotherapy
Compared with other in-office whitening procedures using either UV light or whitening gels, the results are about equal, according to a
Because of this, laser teeth whitening is considered by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an “off-label” use of lasers in dentistry, and as a result, lasers are not endorsed by the American Dental Association, according to a
Laser teeth whitening must be done in a dentist’s office. The bleaching procedure takes 30 to 60 minutes.
Depending on your needs, the exact steps may vary. Here’s what a typical treatment involves:
- Your dentist will place a rubber or plastic prop in your mouth to help keep it open.
- Next, they’ll have you wear protective glasses to protect your eyes.
- They’ll also add a gum barrier to protect your gums. The barrier may be a light-cured resin material.
- Your dentist applies a bleaching gel on your front teeth.
- After a few minutes, your dentist directs a laser onto your teeth.
- The laser heats the bleaching gel, which activates its whitening properties.
- Your dentist will remove the gum barrier and rinse out the bleaching gel.
According to anecdotal evidence, laser teeth whitening is painless. However, your teeth might be more sensitive than usual for about 24 hours after the procedure.
Teeth bleaching may damage tooth enamel or pulp. Tooth pulp is the innermost layer of tooth that contains blood vessels and nerves.
To protect your teeth, it’s important to avoid whitening your teeth too often. An experienced dentist can explain the best frequency for you. They can also perform the procedure in a way that protects your teeth and gums.
Laser teeth whitening can effectively reduce teeth discoloration.
This procedure typically uses stronger chemicals than those available in at-home whitening treatments. As a result, laser teeth whitening is more effective and yields faster results than home treatments like daily whitening strips or whitening toothpastes.
The whitening effects are temporary and may last between a few months to 3 years. This is longer than most other treatments, including whitening strips and toothpastes.
Your results and how long they last will depend on several factors, including:
- the original color of your teeth
- the frequency of treatments
- your lifestyle habits
- the bleaching gel and lasers used
For best results, you’ll likely need three or four sessions in total.
Making changes to the following habits may also help maintain your results:
- limiting or avoiding tobacco use, including cigarettes
- limiting or avoiding foods and drinks that stain teeth, like coffee or red wine
- reducing the risk of mouth trauma, which can increase stains
- yields faster results than at-home treatments
- effects can last up to 3 years
- performed by a trained professional
- costs more than at-home treatments
- may require multiple trips to the dentist
- may increase gum irritation and tooth sensitivity
Laser teeth whitening is not without risks. Possible side effects include:
- increased tooth sensitivity
- gum irritation or damage
- damage to tooth pulp or mouth tissues
- loss of fluoride and minerals in the teeth
- increased risk of tooth erosion or decay
Also, the procedure might not be suitable if you:
- are currently completing orthodontic treatment
- have tetracycline stains on your teeth
- have an orofacial tumor, tooth malformation, or mouth injury
- are taking analgesic, anti-inflammatory, or antibiotic medications
- have exposed dentin or weak enamel
Laser teeth bleaching doesn’t work on dentures or crowns. If you have either device in your front teeth, the procedure might not be right for you.
Laser teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure. This type of procedure isn’t typically covered by dental insurance. This means you’ll need to pay out of pocket. One session can cost about $100 to $450, depending on your dentist and location.
Keep in mind that you’ll need three to four sessions to achieve brighter teeth. This means you can expect to pay between $400 to $1800 or more. For actual cost estimates, contact your preferred dentist if you have one.
Laser teeth whitening is a cosmetic dental procedure. It uses bleaching gel and lasers to reduce discoloration on teeth. This can make your teeth look brighter and whiter.
Compared with at-home treatments like whitening strips, laser teeth bleaching is more effective. However, it’s more expensive and isn’t covered by dental insurance.
The procedure can also cause side effects like increased tooth sensitivity, erosion, and decay. To determine if laser teeth whitening is right for you, talk with a dentist.