What’s the Best Teeth Whitening Method – Strips, Trays, or Laser?
October 6, 2023
Is Laser Whitening Safe for Tooth Enamel?Laser whitening, often referred to as power whitening or Zoom whitening, stands out as a rapid method for achieving significant teeth whitening results. In this in-office procedure, the dentist applies a high-concentration peroxide gel to your teeth and employs a specialized light or laser to expedite the whitening process. The light energy enhances the chemical interaction between the peroxide and tooth stains. Typically, the treatment duration is approximately an hour, and patients typically notice a remarkable improvement of up to eight shades in teeth color after just one session. However, there are some risks to be aware of with laser whitening. The high-intensity light and concentrated peroxide can increase tooth sensitivity and damage tooth enamel if not done correctly. Sensitivity and irritation usually resolve within a few days after treatment. To protect enamel, it's important to have the procedure done by an experienced dentist like those at Pro Dental. The dentist can monitor your teeth and stop treatment if needed. Proper use of laser whitening is considered safe for enamel by most dental organizations.
Which Whitening Method Is Fastest?If you're looking for quick whitening results, laser treatments deliver the fastest effects. You can achieve dramatically whiter teeth after just one in-office visit. Over-the-counter methods like whitening strips take much longer to see results. Using whitening strips for 30 minutes daily can take up to four weeks to see a noticeable difference in tooth shade. Custom-fitted whitening trays filled with a peroxide gel are the next fastest option. Using the trays for a few hours each day for one to two weeks results in a few shades of whiter teeth on average. So, while strips and trays require more patience, they can still significantly brighten your smile. But laser whitening is the speediest way to go if you have an upcoming event or photo shoot.
Which Method Causes the Most Sensitivity?It's common to experience some mild tooth sensitivity when whitening your teeth. This is caused by the peroxide whitening gel seeping through the enamel into the inner tooth layers. Sensitivity is usually temporary and goes away within a few days after treatment. Laser whitening often causes the most sensitivity because of the higher peroxide concentrations. Up to two-thirds of patients experience sensitivity to laser whitening, especially within the first 24 hours after treatment. Whitening strips can also irritate sensitive teeth, as the gel has direct contact with teeth for an extended period. The strips also don't fully adapt to tooth surfaces, allowing excess gel to seep into crevices. Custom whitening trays with a peroxide gel tend to cause the least sensitivity. The trays are custom-fitted to your teeth to minimize excess gel exposure. Your dentist can also adjust the peroxide concentration based on your sensitivity. If you experience ongoing pain or discomfort, talk to your dentist about options to make whitening more comfortable. For example, your Blaine dental clinic, like Pro Dental, may recommend potassium nitrate treatments to relieve sensitivity before and after whitening.
Other Whitening ConsiderationsWhen deciding which whitening treatment is best for you, keep these other factors in mind:
- Budget - Laser whitening costs the most, followed by custom trays and then strips. Talk to your dentist about costs.
- Duration - Trays and strips take consistent use over weeks, while laser whitening is completed in one visit.
- Existing dental work - Perioxide-based whiteners can only lighten natural teeth. Any dental restorations like crowns or veneers won't change color.
- Stain type - Surface stains respond better to any whitening method vs. deep-set tetracycline stains.
- Maintenance - Periodic touch-up whitening helps maintain results from any method.