How Does Laser Teeth Whitening Work?

Author: Arlene Connolly

Laser teeth whitening is a procedure requiring special equipment that must be performed by a dentist. In the process of laser bleaching, a translucent gel containing peroxide in concentrations ranging from 15-35 percent is applied to the teeth. A special light or a laser may be used to activate the crystals contained in the gel as they absorb the light's energy. As the crystals penetrate the teeth's enamel, they will begin to whiten. The length of the procedure will be based on the amount of discoloration to be removed, but in general, this will take from one to two hours.

Laser Teeth Whitening Is Preferred

Since it was approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), laser teeth whitening has become quite popular with patients. The procedure was developed after consumers indicated that traditional bleaching caused inflammation and was often quite painful. The use of lasers proved to be beneficial because this procedure requires fewer treatments and the bleaching agent to be on the teeth for a shorter time.  Unlike other bleaching methods, a barrier, such as a rubber shield or neutralizing gel is used to protect both the surrounding teeth and soft tissues from the bleaching ingredients contained in the crystals.

Following the procedure, the cosmetic dentist may follow it with a fluoride treatment to strengthen the teeth and provide a lustrous shine, and may provide you with a custom-fit tray that you can use at home to maintain the whiteness of your teeth. At the same time, dentists recommend that you avoid the following, which are known to tarnish the teeth: tea, coffee, cola, blueberries, and smoking.

Teeth Whitening and Other Procedures

Note that laser teeth whitening is not permanent and further treatment may be needed at intervals of two or three years. Also, if you are planning on having any other type of dental work, your teeth whitening should precede it because bridges, veneers, crowns, and implants cannot be bleached, and they may be ruined in the process.

If you have sensitive teeth, the single-application approach offered by laser whitening appears to be a suitable approach.


Works Cited

Harvard Health Publications
Time for tooth whitening?

American Dental Association
ADA: American Dental Association - Statement on the Safety and Effectiveness of Tooth Whitening Products

New Jersey Dental School
Dental Bytes

Expert Opinion 

Quote:   "All whitening systems use peroxides to "bleach" the teeth. Current laser whitening systems utilize hydrogen peroxide and laser energy to "excite" the hydrogen peroxide into a higher energy state which expels, or "kicks off," the free radical oxygen; this, in turn, "attacks" the organic molecule which constitutes the stain."

Source: Jan Linhart D.D.S. PC  PearlinBrite

purple arrowCite this Article

"How Does Laser Teeth Whitening Work?." Sophisticated Edge. N.p., n.d. Web. . <>.  

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to treat or diagnose any health problems or illnesses without consulting a physician. It is not meant to take the place of health care or services you may need. Please consult a physician with any questions you may have regarding your health.

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