How Does LED Light Whiten Teeth?
Yellowing of teeth is 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. In-office teeth whitening and the dentist and cosmetic laser teeth whitening have great results but can be very expensive.
More and more people are now choosing to treat themselves in the comfort of their own home with LED tooth whitening kits. To help you decide when LED teeth whitening is right for you, we will discuss how LED teeth can whiten teeth.
Table Of Contents
- 1 Principles Of Teeth Whitening
- 2 What Is LED Light?
- 3 How Does LED Light Make Teeth Whiter?
- 4 Is LED Tooth Whitening Safe?
- 5 Benefits Of LED Teeth Whitening
- 6 Negatives Of LED Teeth Whitening
- 7 Cost Of LED Teeth Whitening
- 8 Teeth Whitening With An LED Light Instructions
- 9 How To Prolong Your Teeth Whitening Result
- 10 Best Led Teeth Whitening Kit
Principles Of Teeth Whitening
In general teeth whitening works by treating the teeth with an agent which 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 which can cause the mutation of cells and potentially cancer. This is of particular concern in the mouth because the oral tissues are very sensitive.
What Is LED Light?
LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. It is a device which 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 and therefore cannot cause cancer. 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 acts as a catalyst to speed up the reactions when used with a whitening agent. The agent is commonly hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, which are both active ingredients. 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.
Does LED Light Speed Up Teeth Whitening?
Yes, an article 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 a much safer, and more accessible.
Is LED Tooth Whitening Safe?
LED tooth 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 it involves putting bleach into your mouth, so it is important to follow the instructions which are specific to each different kit.
What Are the Risks?
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 involves 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
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.
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 irritations 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 under $100, 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.
There are plenty of at-home teeth whitening kits that you buy to use at home in your own time. This means you can use it as a touch up for a last-minute arrangement, without waiting for an appointment time.
At-home teeth whitening kits can be extremely successful when used correctly. They are easy to use and come with comprehensive instructions to help you. You can often see results straight away, and they should last a while.
No UV Radiation
The use of 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 the safety. Therefore, the best option is to wait until you have had your baby an finished breastfeeding.
Results Based On Causes Of Yellowing
The severity of the yellowing of the teeth will affect the result that is possible. 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 acid in the whitening agent can damage the tooth enamel which can lead to sensitivity and other future problems. Prevent damage by closely following the instructions.
No 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 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.
Cost Of LED Teeth Whitening
Teeth whitening procedures at the dentist vary greatly in price depending on the dentist and the whitening method you choose. Laser whitening, while very effective, can set you back over $1000, while other methods can be between $200 – $1000. This can add up even more when you decide to top up your teeth whitening. A much more affordable and convenient option it at-home LED teeth whitening kits.
Teeth Whitening With An LED Light Instructions
Most at-home LED teeth whitening kits will come with specific instructions for use, but here are some examples of how to use them.
No matter what application method you choose to whiten your teeth is it important that before you begin your teeth whitening procedure, you will need to thoroughly clean and floss your teeth, before drying them. Moisture in the mouth can reduce the efficiency of the whitening procedure. Always remember to read the instructions of the kit you choose and follow them carefully as specific products may have slightly different directions and requirements. Here are some examples for you to consider:
Some LED teeth whitening kits will require you to use a toothbrush or pen to paint the agent onto your teeth. You will need to squeeze the whitening agent onto a brush (provided) which you polish over the surface of the teeth. You then position the LED light to enhance the whitening agent. You will then need to wait for a short period of time for the agent to work. Some agents then dissolve, others will need to be rinsed out with water. It is important that after your treatment you wait a while before eating or drinking.
Tray-Based Whitening System
The tray-based systems use a plate which sits inside the mouth, some of which have a built-in LED light. To use these, you will generally apply a small amount of bleaching agent to the plate with a syringe (usually provided). Next, insert the plate into the mouth and remove excess whitening agents. Position and/or switch on the LED light. You will now need to wait for a while for the whitening reactions to take place. After the time recommended by the manufacturer has passed, turn off the LED light and remove the device. You will now need to rinse out the remaining whitening agent from your mouth and clean the mouthpiece.
In order to allow the enamel to restore minerals and strengthen bonds, you should leave at least two weeks between whitening treatments and restorative dental procedures such as a crown, bonding or veneer fittings.
How To Prolong Your Teeth Whitening Result
Clean them Regularly
Teeth whitening is not a replacement for good oral hygiene. It is important that you thoroughly brush and floss them twice a day. This will remove food residue which can act on the teeth and prevent the build-up of tartar, both of which can cause discoloration.
The contents of cigarettes will cause your teeth to yellow much quicker than they normally would. Removing them from your daily habits will lengthen the time your whitening will last.
Avoid Certain Foods And Beverages
Foods such as curries, tomato sauce, sweets and even berries can cause significant staining of your teeth. Beverages are also culprits, particularly coffee, tea and red wine.
Drink Through A Straw
If you are going to drink teeth-staining beverages such as fizzy drinks, choose to drink through a straw which will minimise the contact your teeth will have with the drink.
Best Led Teeth Whitening Kit
There are many at-home LED teeth whitening kits available. We have reviewed some of the best LED teeth whitening kits available to help you decide which is the right one for you. To take a look at the reviews, click here.