Basic Steps to Laser Teeth Whitening
If you decide to get laser teeth whitening, our dentist will follow an established procedure with a few basic steps:
It is reccommended that pregnant woman and adolescents delay laser teeth whitening if possible. If tooth discoloration is a significant concern, teenagers can have their teeth whitened with close supervision by one of our dentists.
During the initial screening, the dentist will also check to see if your gums have receded to expose a significant amount of the tooth root. If this is the case, your teeth may bleach somewhat unevenly, because the roots of teeth are resistant to bleaching. The dentist may be able to offer alternatives to bleaching.
The next step is for our dentist or hygienist to 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.
Any form of tooth whitening can cause temporary sensitivity, especially in persons who already have some sensitivity in their teeth. For this reason, our dentist may prescribe a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication prior to the first whitening session.
When it’s time to begin whitening, you’ll lean back in the dentist chair as usual, and our 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 which 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.
When all of the teeth have been whitened by the laser, our 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.
You’ll know that you’re reaching the end of the session when the dentist carefully rinses your mouth out, then gently removes the protective layer from your gums.
Please be aware that the teeth whitening process is not permanent. Teeth can be re-stained, especially by cigarettes, beverages such as coffee or tea, or some foods. The effectiveness of the whitening lasts for as few as six months or as long as several years.
After a whitening session, you may find that your teeth have increased sensitivity, especially in the first few days. This varies by patient; some report no sensitivity, more report mild sensitivity, and a few patients have compared it to being hit by a hammer. Our dentist can prescribe medication to avoid or reduce sensitivity, and of course the sensitivity will wear off after a few days. You should also follow up with our dentist if you find that your gums are white or sore, but this is less common than sensitivity.
If you’re ready for laser teeth whitening, we can book your treatment as soon as you let us know when you would like to get this treatment. If you have any remaining questions, I’ll gladly answer them.