Yellowing teeth are an unfortunate fact of aging, sped up by a number of different lifestyle factors such as smoking and drinking. Many people are now turning to teeth whitening methods to restore their pearly whites. Historically, people headed to their dentist for teeth whitening, and although they can give you great results, it can also be quite expensive.
Principles Of Teeth Whitening
In general, the teeth whitening process works by treating the teeth with an agent that may or may not be bleach-based. Then, to speed up the reaction, a blue light source is shone on the treated teeth. In the past, Ultra Violet (UV) light has widely been used as the light source. However, there are now concerns over the risks of using UV light. UV light is a form of ionizing radiation that can cause the mutation of cells. This is of particular concern in the mouth because the oral tissues are very sensitive, as shown in this study.
LED can be used in place of the UV light as a safer alternative to whiten your teeth. Blue LED light can also be used to speed up the whitening reaction but without the risks of UV light.
What Is LED Light?
LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. It is a device that releases visible light when supplied with an electrical current. Often, the light is a single color which can be anywhere between red and blue-violet on the visible light scale. LED lights can be very intense and often brighter than their halogen or incandescent lamp counterparts. They are also a lot cooler as they have very efficient heat-dissipating designs.
LED lights do not need much power but are highly efficient and last a long time, particularly in comparison to other light sources. They do not have a warm-up time, so they switch on at their highest intensity straight away. They are a form of visible light, so they are not a type of ionizing radiation, which means they cannot cause cell mutations. It is a safer alternative to UV light for use in teeth whitening procedures.
How Does LED Light Make Teeth Whiter?
LED light works alongside a tooth-whitening agent. The light will not change the color of your teeth if used alone. However, it does act as a catalyst to speed up the reactions in the whitening process when combined with a whitening agent. Commonly-used whitening agents are hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. Carbamide peroxide, for example, is a slow-acting bleach that when applied to teeth will react, breaking down into hydrogen peroxide and urea. Urea is a waste product, but the hydrogen peroxide removes superficial stains and deeper discoloration by altering their chemical structure.
LED Light Speeds Up Teeth Whitening
A study published in the Open Dentistry Journal found that light speeds up the whitening process, and is backed up by many other studies. This is found in particular when LED activator light is used in conjunction with carbamide peroxide-based whitening agent gels. Where in the past, UV light had been used as a catalyst to speed up the time taken for teeth whitening to occur, LED light is now much safer, and more accessible.
Is LED Teeth Whitening Safe?
LED whitening has been developed to be safe for home use. The use of an LED light source as opposed to older, UV light sources, is much safer. However, bear in mind that while the light is safe, teeth whitening often involves putting bleach into your mouth, so it is important to follow the instructions which are specific to each different kit.
Teeth whitening usually involves applying the bleaching agent either directly to your teeth or to a tray – like a sports mouthguard – which you hold in place for the duration of the treatment. There are different types of tray – some give a universal fit, while others you warm up and shape specifically for your teeth. The LED light will usually fix to the tray.
What Are the Risks of LED Teeth Whitening?
At-home teeth whitening can be done very safely with minimal complications. Kits have been developed to make the administration as easy as possible. However, as mentioned before, teeth whitening can involve putting bleach into your mouth, so it is important that you take care. Oral tissues are sensitive, so you must try not to get any of the whitening agent on your gums as this could cause sensitivity and irritation. Swallowing the agent could also result in a temporary sore throat.
TEETH WHITENING LED LIGHT SIDE EFFECTS
Sensitivity – You may find that your teeth temporarily become more sensitive after LED teeth whitening. This is usually not permanent, and you can look after your teeth by using toothpaste for sensitive teeth, and also by being very gentle with your toothbrush. You may want to buy a softer toothbrush for while your gums recover.
Gum Irritation – If the whitening agent comes into contact with the delicate tissues of the mouth, such as the tongue or gums, the tissues may become irritated. Cell turnover in the mouth is quick, so the irritation will not usually last long.
Damage From Overuse – Repeated tooth whitening in quick succession, using too much whitening agent or leaving the agent on for too long can all cause permanent damage to the teeth. This can be prevented by understanding the instructions of the kit and following them carefully.
BENEFITS OF LED TEETH WHITENING
Many at-home LED teeth whitening kits can be bought for a small token, making it much more affordable than in-office teeth whitening at your dentist. While it may not last as long, at-home kits can still give great results but then it can’t be compared to the technology we employ in delivering this service.
There is no downtime when you come in for teeth whitening treatments neither does the procedure take long. It is something you can simply visit our office for and still be able to return to your daily activities afterwards.
Our teeth whitening method has been tested and proven to be very safe and effective in bringing that bright sparkle to any set of teeth or dental structures regardless of the state of the gum.
No UV Radiation
The use of blue LED light as a catalyst instead of UV light, which has been previously used, is much safer. Unlike UV light, LED cannot cause mutations as it does not affect tissue on a cellular level.
NEGATIVES OF LED TEETH WHITENING
No Whitening Method Is Permanent
Due to the nature of tooth yellowing, no whitening method is ever going to be permanent. Different peoples’ teeth will yellow at different rates, but this will be sped up by lifestyle factors and genetic disposition. The natural thinning of enamel and pigmentation of the internal dentin that no matter what whitening method you choose, your teeth will continue to turn yellow. This may take weeks, months or years.
Should Not Be Used During Pregnancy
If you are pregnant, trying to get pregnant or nursing a baby, it is best to delay your teeth whitening. There has been little research into teeth whitening during pregnancy to assess its safety. Therefore, the best option is to wait until you have had your baby and finished breastfeeding.
Results Based On Causes Of Yellowing
The severity of the yellowing of your teeth will affect the possible result. Very yellow teeth may require more treatments; however, it is important not to over-treat teeth. Try to consider the natural color of your teeth objectively and be realistic about the color your aim to achieve.
Can Be Over Done
No tooth whitening method should be done too often or for longer than the instructions say. This is because if left on or repeated too soon the whitening agent can damage the tooth enamel which can lead to sensitivity and other future problems. Prevent damage by closely following the instructions.
Not Suitable For Everyone
Teeth whitening kits should not be used on children’s teeth. You should instead consult your dentist if you are worried about the color of your child’s teeth. Teeth whitening will not work on dentures or restorative dentistry, for example, crowns, veneers and bridges. These materials will not whiten and so using whitening products on teeth around these materials will cause uneven color throughout the mouth.
How Often Can I Whiten My Teeth?
There are three main warning signs when it comes to repeated tooth whitening. If any of them apply, then it is too soon for you to whiten your teeth again:
- Tooth sensitivity
- Poor gum condition, such as swelling or bleeding
- Tooth transparency/appearing blue.