Hairstyles and fashion trends may come and go faster than anybody can really keep track of, but a shiny white smile never goes out of style, and someone looking to brighten their yellowing, discoloured teeth has more options than ever before to obtain a movie-star smile. One of the most popular modern additions to the field of tooth whitening is laser whitening treatments, which use precise, non-damaging lasers to 'lit' stains away from the surface of your teeth.
While laser whitening treatments like this were once limited to the most expensive and exclusive cosmetic dental practices, advances in technology have made them far more affordable, and you'll probably have a variety of clinics to choose from if you want to undergo a laser whitening treatment. However, while laser whitening treatments are cutting-edge, they still have one or two drawbacks when compared with conventional, gel-based tooth whitening treatments, so you should familiarise yourself with the pros and cons of laser teeth whitening before investing in a session.
What are the advantages of choosing laser whitening treatments over conventional treatments?
Having your teeth whitened using conventional oxidising gels can be a time-consuming process, and many gels need to be left on overnight and used repeatedly over several weeks before real, cosmetically significant results can be achieved. Laser whitening treatments require far less patience and diligence; each session rarely takes longer than half an hour to complete, and you should notice significant cosmetic improvements after a single session, with most patients achieving satisfactory results within two or three.
Directed stain removal
Since whitening gels are spread evenly across the surface of your teeth, they whiten your teeth equally. While this may sound like a beneficial property, in practise gels are less effective at tackling badly-stained teeth because their whitening powers cannot be directed. While a stained tooth may be significantly whitened by a oxidising gel, the surrounding teeth will also be whitened, so the contrast between your more discoloured and less discoloured teeth remains the same.
With laser treatments, more intense whitening power can be focused on these trouble spots, making lasers much more effective at removing localised areas of staining. This is particularly useful for treating coffee, wine and tobacco stains, which tend to be concentrated in isolated areas of the mouth.
Laser whitening produces penetrate the outer surface of your teeth more deeply than whitening gels, which tends to make the results of laser treatments last longer. Many people who undergo laser whitening treatments do not need to schedule repeat treatments for many years.
What are the disadvantages of choosing laser whitening treatments over conventional treatments?
Unsuitable for very sensitive teeth
Laser teeth whitening treatments cause teeth to heat up slightly as they are treated, and while this heat generally does not cause any problems with healthy teeth, it can cause significant pain for people with very sensitive teeth. Any teeth with metal fillings can be particularly vulnerable to pain, and should not be treated with laser therapy.
More expensive than conventional treatments
Like so many things in life, getting the best often means paying through the nose, and laser whitening treatments tend to be significantly more expensive than conventional gel treatments. However, their long-lasting results can make them a more attractive long-term investment.