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LED Teeth Whitening - Pros and Cons

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    What you need to know about LED teeth whitening in Singapore

    When it comes to dental care, teeth whitening is one of the most common treatments that individuals choose to go with. It goes a long way to providing you with many shades of a brighter smile, which can complement your brushing and flossing. There are numerous whitening treatments available. From sessions performed in your dentist's office, to various products like whitening strips, you can use at home, the options are plenty.

    One way you can improve the whiteness of your teeth by at least 8 shades in a single session is the LED light method. It is an increasingly popular method, which uses LED technology to whiten the surface of the teeth. It is non-invasive and a dentist can perform it in a quick session to provide you with a whiter smile. The following guide will give you more information on this whitening system.

    How does LED teeth whitening work?

    dentist performing led teeth whitening from the point of view of the dentist

    In order to deal with stains in the most efficient manner possible, the led light method has been developed. This teeth whitening treatment is one you can do at your dentist's office for a quick result. It is not just the use of LED light involved in the process. There are a few more important steps that take place before the light is even introduced:

    • The dentist will clean the surface of your teeth. This ensures the whitening agent they are going to apply next covers the enamel evenly.
    • Next up, they apply a whitening gel on your teeth as evenly as possible. They may use special tools to keep your mouth open and thus protect the soft tissue there. The whitening gel needs to sit for about 20 minutes.
    • Then, an LED light is introduced. The LED light will activate the whitening gel speeding up the reactions that remove stains from the teeth.

    Teeth are porous and they absorb liquids and food. That is the reason why there are sometimes stains on the enamel of your teeth after drinking tea, red wine or coffee. The pores also absorb the whitening gel applied during the procedure. It contains an active ingredient of hydrogen peroxide. This is the same ingredient found in other over the counter whitening products, though its concentration may vary.

    When hydrogen peroxide gets in contact with teeth, it serves as a catalyst for an oxidation reaction. It breaks down the bonds between discoloured molecules, causing the stains to disappear. And while the whitening session lasts only a limited time, the effect persists for about 24 hours afterwards.

    Does LED teeth whitening work?

    close up photo of a cosmetic dentist performing led teeth whitening on a young female patient

    When you expose a light-emitting diode to electricity, it releases a single colour of light on the visible light spectrum. In the past, UV light was used, but that was found to have the risk of causing cell mutation and so it has been replaced by LED. It only needs minimal power and it really speeds up the chemical reactions that the whitening gel creates on the layer of dentin. The light is intense, but it is also cooler because it dissipates heat. As mentioned before, the effect of a whitening gel is ongoing for about 24 hours after use. So the more intense the reaction is for the time it sits on the teeth, the more effective it can remove stains. This is how LED light teeth whitening works in many dental aesthetic clinics.

    Is LED teeth whitening safe - does LED whitening damage your teeth?

    Like many teeth whitening procedures, LED teeth whitening can lead to tooth sensitivity and mild discomfort due to gum irritation in some people. You should factor this in, especially if you have sensitive teeth. The procedure is safe and any side effects are quick to disperse. But to be 100% safe, you should still consult with your dentist about a suitable solution for whitening teeth. Perhaps they can recommend non-peroxide and non-bleach options, such as using whitening toothpaste as a substitute for more powerful aesthetic treatments.

    LED vs laser teeth whitening

    Laser whitening shares some characteristics with LED whitening. It starts with a thorough cleaning of plaque, filling in cavities, etc. The dentist then fits in a mouth tray with whitening gel over the teeth, along with a plastic dam over the gums, to keep them safe. Then they will use a laser to activate the whitening gel with a concentration of hydrogen peroxide anywhere between 10 and 35%. The goal is to have the whitening agent do its job fast so that it doesn't stay in contact with the teeth for prolonged periods of time. This method is great for heavy stains. For example, if the person has been smoking and chewing tobacco for a long period of time, a dentist may recommend laser whitening.

    Using LED light follows the same principle, only that it takes a bit longer due to the light not having any heating properties. The whitening agent itself contains less hydrogen peroxide - about 6% concentration. Because LED light is safer than a laser, there is less chance for any side effects to occur.

    Those who have tried the LED whitening method report that it works great, even if it takes a little longer than using a laser.

    LED teeth whitening pros and cons

    There are numerous pros to LED teeth whitening:

    • It is very fast - sessions take around 20 minutes
    • It is not harmful to teeth enamel or structure of the teeth
    • It is a modern method developed through the use of technology
    • It doesn't transmit heat to the tooth and doesn't cause discomfort

    Some potential cons:

    • Slight discomfort is possible during the procedure
    • Some teeth sensitivity is to be expected due to the bleaching agent

    LED teeth whitening Side Effects and Risks

    dentist examining the teeth of patient to determine if there is need for further LED teeth whitening

    Some individuals report increased tooth sensitivity after LED whitening, which is normal. Every time teeth are exposed to a whitening agent, there can be some sensitivity. But because LED whitening usually relies on a gel that contains a smaller concentration of hydrogen peroxide, this side effect is not as pronounced as other methods. Even if it does appear, it should go away soon after. Mild irritation of the gums is also likely, but nothing too severe should come out of it.

    To lighten the surface of your teeth properly using the LED method, you should always look to do so in a dental office. Your dental care provider will know how to follow the procedure in the best way possible. From the application of the whitening agent so that it can penetrate teeth stains to using the right tools for the job, they will minimise the risks for you and ensure good results. Side effects are less likely then. Obviously, if you want to repeat the process several times, there is a higher risk that some of these side effects will appear.

    Read our guide on maintaining the results from your teeth bleaching treatment.

    Frequently Asked Questions About LED Teeth Whitening

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