In Office Whitening “Laser”


Tooth whitening is designed to lighten the color of your teeth.  Significant whitening can be achieved in the vast majority of cases, but the results cannot be guaranteed.  When done properly, the whitening will not harm your teeth or gums.  However, like any other treatment, it has some inherent risks and limitations.  These are seldom serious enough to discourage you from having your teeth whitened, but should be considered when deciding to have the treatment.


Candidates for tooth whitening

Almost anyone can be a candidate for tooth whitening.  However, people with dark yellow or yellow-brown teeth tend to whiten better than people with gray or bluish-gray teeth.  The degree of whitening varies from patient to patient based on the type of stain, enamel thickness, tooth structure and age.  Teeth with restorations, such as fillings, porcelain crowns, onlays and inlays, cannot be whitened.  (Any other conditions which are not indicated for tooth whitening will be explained to you by your dentist.)  


Laser tooth whitening system uses a low power diode laser in conjunction with a proprietary hydrogen peroxide-based dental whitening gel, Laserwhite20.  The laser, through a specialized hand piece and delivery system, activates the gel, which in turn lightens the teeth.  The entire process is usually done in one visit and takes approximately 45 min.

Potential Risks

a.   Sensitivity:  during the first 24- 48 hours following whitening, some patients experience transient sensitivity from the gel.  This sensitivity is usually mild to moderate depending on how sensitive your teeth are to hydrogen peroxide.  This sensitivity will usually subside in 1 – 2 days.  However, if your teeth are normally sensitive, whitening may make your teeth more sensitive for an extended period of time.  A mild analgesic, such as [Tylenol or Advil or preferred], is usually effective in making you more comfortable until your tooth sensitivity returns to normal.

b.   Gum irritation:  this is the result of a small amount of the hydrogen-peroxide-based solution coming into contact with the gums.  This can cause temporary inflammation and white spots, and a burning sensation on your gums may also occur.  This should resolve itself between a few hours to a few days.

Completion of treatment

a.   Level of whitening:  there is no totally reliable way to predict how light your teeth will whiten.  With in-office whitening, one session usually significantly whitens your teeth.  Some patients may require an additional session.  

b.   Relapse:  following completion of whitening, pigments found in food and drinks will re-stain your teeth, commonly called whitening relapse.  To help prevent relapse, try to refrain from eating or drinking these foods too frequently and within 48 hours post-treatment.

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