LED Teeth Whitening: Advantages, Disadvantages, and Care

More and more people are looking for a radiant and attractive smile. We'll tell you about LED teeth whitening, one of the most common options to achieve it.
LED Teeth Whitening: Advantages, Disadvantages, and Care
Vanesa Evangelina Buffa

Written and verified by the dentist Vanesa Evangelina Buffa.

Last update: 24 October, 2022

If you’re looking for a beautiful, radiant smile like celebrities, LED teeth whitening treatments may be an option for you. With this procedure, stained teeth will no longer be a problem, and you will achieve a flawless smile.

The passage of time, smoking, poor hygiene habits, and consumption of colored foods and beverages darken teeth. Having stained teeth can cause feelings of embarrassment, lack of self-esteem, and difficulties in relating to others.

Fortunately, there are several alternatives that allow you to deal with pigmentation in the teeth and achieve a more attractive smile. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about LED teeth whitening, one of the options that can improve the appearance of the teeth.

What is teeth whitening?

Teeth whitening is a dental procedure that seeks to reduce the shades of the teeth to make them look lighter in color. For this purpose, whitening agents are applied to the teeth.

Hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide, in different concentrations, are the most commonly used products. These substances, when in contact with the tooth surfaces, generate chemical oxidation capable of making the elements whiter, but without damaging or modifying their structure.

This procedure should ideally be performed or supervised by a qualified dentist in a dental office. The process by experienced hands decreases the risk of complications.

However, there are alternatives for people to whiten their teeth at home. These home methods are riskier for oral health, and the results are not as effective as those achieved with professional treatments.

We think you may also enjoy reading this article: 9 Natural and Effective Tips for Taking Care of Your Teeth

What is LED teeth whitening?

LED teeth whitening is one of the most in-demand cosmetic dental treatments today. It’s also known as photoactivation or cold light lamp whitening.

It’s generally performed in the dental clinic and combines the use of whitening agents with a special light that activates the product. The cold radiation of the LED lamp accelerates the release of the bleaching molecules contained in the peroxides.

LED tooth whitening is a painless, fast, and very effective treatment. It’s usually performed in a single session, although some cases require splitting the procedure into several appointments.

This type of procedure is replacing laser teeth whitening. Although the method is similar and may even be confused for it, there’s a big difference between them: LED light is cold, doesn’t give off heat, and has lower intensity, which favors the health of the tooth.

Because it’s less strong and condensed, LED light can cover large areas of the teeth. This helps to perform whitening at the same time without damaging the enamel.

a white smile due to LED teeth whitening
The color of the teeth varies from person to person and based on the many different external factors that can affect it.

What are the phases of LED teeth whitening?

Before performing any type of whitening, whether professional or domestic, it’s very important that the dentist performs an examination of the mouth and treats any active disease or condition. For these treatments, the mouth must be in excellent health. Otherwise, substances used to lighten teeth can cause problems.

Once the dentist has assessed the oral health and performed any necessary procedures, it’s possible to begin. Before any products are applied to the mouth, a professional cleaning is performed. This removes tartar, plaque buildup, and some surface stains.

LED light whitening is usually done in a single visit. However, in patients who experience tooth sensitivity, it’s best to divide it into several phases.

On the day of whitening, the dentist places separators in the patient’s mouth and isolates the lips and gums with a special gel. This protects the mucous membranes and prevents them from coming into contact with the whitening product, which could irritate or burn them.

The dentist then applies the agent to the surfaces with a dispensing syringe. Hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide is used.

Then the cold light lamp is placed, which illuminates the patient’s mouth. It is usually used for 30 to 45 minutes, divided into three cycles of 10 to 15 minutes each. After each of these lapses, there’s a pause to remove and clean the whitening gel and perform a new application.

After the total time, the remains of the whitening product are removed and washed from the teeth and mucosal isolation. The results will be immediately evident.

Many times, this type of treatment is complemented with other techniques, in which the patient applies a whitening product with special splints at home. In this way, the results are usually more effective and longer lasting.

LED teeth whitening products for use at home

There are LED teeth whitening kits that allow people to whiten their teeth at home. These at-home methods usually contain whitening agents of lower concentrations than those for professional use, so the results aren’t as noticeable.

The presentation usually contains whitening strips impregnated with the agent or plastic trays that are filled with the gel product. In addition, they come with a battery-operated LED light.

LED teeth whitening kits for home use work as follows:

  1. The whitening product is worn on the teeth. The whitening strips are glued onto the teeth, or the whitening gel is inserted into the trays and placed in the mouth.
  2. Application of the LED light to activate the product. In some kits, the light is attached to the mouthpiece of the tray, holding it securely in place. It also turns off automatically after a set time of use.

It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s exact instructions to avoid inconveniences. However, as mentioned above, it’s always advisable to perform this type of treatment with and under the supervision of a dentist.

The advantages of LED teeth whitening

LED teeth whitening treatment has many advantages in terms of the results it achieves and dental health:

  • It’s fast: Thanks to the wide area covered by the LED light, a single session is enough to lighten the shade of the entire dentition.
  • It is effective: The results of the treatment are evident and noticeable at the end of the first consultation.
  • It does not cause discomfort: LED lamps, by emitting a cold light, don’t transmit heat to the tooth. This reduces tooth sensitivity and reduces damage to the enamel.
  • Encourages dental hygiene: When they see the results obtained, patients are often committed to taking care of their teeth to maintain the radiant appearance of their smile.

The disadvantages of LED teeth whitening

Although LED teeth whitening is one of the safest and most effective procedures when it comes to lightening teeth, there can be some associated complications. One of these is tooth sensitivity during and after treatment. In general, this discomfort is temporary and disappears after a few weeks.

Other drawbacks associated with any type of teeth whitening are dietary restrictions. For the results of the treatment to be sustained, it’s necessary to follow a white food diet, avoiding any type of coloring, natural or artificial.

After the treatment, the porosity of the enamel increases, and, if people consume foods or drinks with pigments, they can stain the teeth.

Like this article? You may also like to read: Seven Home Remedies for Removing Plaque From Your Teeth

Who can get LED teeth whitening?

LED teeth whitening is recommended to improve the appearance of stained and dark teeth. It can be applied to anyone who has healthy teeth and is looking to lighten their teeth.

However, there are some restrictions when applying this treatment. For example, it’s not advisable when the person suffers from any oral disease or has very severe staining.

It’s also not recommended for children and minors, nor for pregnant or breastfeeding women. However, it will always be the dentist who best determines whether it’s possible or not.

LED teeth whitening
Pregnant women should consult their dentist about the options available for safe tooth whitening.

Tips for maintaining teeth whitening

The duration of the results obtained with teeth whitening with LED light depends largely on the routine and hygiene guidelines followed by the patient. In any case, this type of treatment is designed to last for several years.

Maintain a good and thorough oral hygiene

To maintain white teeth, it’s necessary to perform good dental hygiene. Brushing your teeth for two minutes with the correct technique after every meal is essential to avoid new stains.

It’s also important to floss at least once a day to remove food debris and bacteria that accumulate between the teeth. Fluoride kinds of toothpaste help to reduce sensitivity after treatment and keep teeth healthy.

Reduce your consumption of drinks and foods with dyes

It’s important that, during the time immediately following LED teeth whitening, a white food diet is followed. This involves avoiding or at least limiting your consumption of coffee, tea, colored fruits, vegetables and condiments, sugary drinks, and foods with dyes or pigments that can stain tooth enamel.

It’s also advisable to avoid citrus fruits and highly acidic beverages. These substances can cause dental hypersensitivity or alter the results obtained.

Don’t use toothpaste or mouthwash with color

Colored mouthwash and toothpaste should also be avoided. Given the greater porosity of the teeth after whitening, they’re susceptible to staining with artificial colorants or extracts from oral hygiene products.

As we told you, it’s best to use kinds of toothpaste with fluoride or kinds of toothpaste for tooth sensitivity. In this way, the risk of suffering discomfort after whitening is reduced.

Avoid or quit smoking

For the results of LED teeth whitening to be sustained over time, it is recommended not to smoke. The key is to quit this habit for good, but if this isn’t possible, at least stop smoking during the treatment and the following weeks.

Tobacco, in addition to affecting oral and general health, stains the teeth yellow or brown. After whitening, teeth are more likely to become pigmented. Therefore, if you smoke, you will achieve the opposite of the desired effect.

Opt for experienced hands

Now you know that LED teeth whitening is one of the fastest and most effective alternatives when looking for a splendid smile. In addition, it’s one of the safest and most gentle options for the enamel, reducing the risk of further complications.

Although there are methods for home use, remember that it’s always advisable to have the treatment performed by an experienced dentist. This won’t only give you more satisfactory results, but will also guarantee that you’re taking good care of your oral health.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.