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Laser Teeth Whitening

Date Added: December 06, 2010 03:13:26 PM
In recent years there has been a literal explosion in cosmetic dentistry procedures, especially in the area of laser teeth whitening with the use of both in-office and at-home procedures. There is a lot of information floating around the web regarding both techniques and unfortunately, there is much discrepancy as to which is less expensive and/or safer. Even the American Dental Association (ADA) has some concerns as to which procedure offers the least amount of risk to the patient, but admittedly believes that in-office treatments may be safest based on the availability of dental professionals to monitor the patient’s reaction to treatment.

Brief Explanation of Laser Teeth Whitening

Laser teeth whitening, whether at home or in the dentist’s office, utilizes a combination of a bleaching solution and a laser light that both activates and increases the efficacy of the bleach. The main difference is in the quality of the light as well as in the strength of the bleaching solution. Most OTC at home products utilize either a 4% to 6% solution of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. In the dentist’s office that solution would be much stronger with solutions often greater than 28%. Also, the laser light in a dentist’s office is a professional machine that, of course, has greater technology than those handheld at home lights. Both are effective, but the dental procedure is both costlier and quicker.

Comparative Safety of At Home and In Office Solutions and Procedures

One of the obvious concerns that the ADA has is in regard to the safety of consumers using at home bleaching solutions. They have admitted that carbamide peroxide is safer than hydrogen peroxide because it has a higher pH value which is less caustic to soft and hard tissue. Hydrogen peroxide is not only more caustic, but some studies have shown it to cytotoxic resulting in necrosis of the cells of soft and mucous tissue. Some studies also indicate that hydrogen peroxide may be carcinogenic at solutions greater than 10%. As a case in point, the U.K. closely regulates the use of hydrogen peroxide in the field of cosmetology for just this reason. As for the laser lights involved in the treatment, neither at home or in office lights are thought to be harmful when used as directed based on the area of the light spectrum involved.

Although both at home and in office procedures have a certain degree of efficacy in removing yellow and brown stains from teeth, there is no truth to the claims that laser teeth whitening can treat caries (cavities). Also, since many people may be sensitive to the bleaching solution, it is suggested that this type of product only be used at home once a dentist has been consulted.