You're probably familiar with most teeth whitening procedures, but many dental offices are now using power teeth whitening to knock out tooth stains -- and it may not be what you think. While power whitening may utilize laser dentistry, it's less about the process and more about the substance. It's called power teeth whitening because of the high level of hydrogen peroxide, the active ingredient in tooth whitening gels.
During power teeth whitening, hydrogen peroxide turns into oxygen, which penetrates your tooth enamel to break down stains set deep inside of your teeth. The higher the level of hydrogen peroxide, the more oxygen molecules are created -- the greater the amount of oxygen, the more stains are removed and the whiter your teeth will appear.
Power teeth whitening is faster and more effective than using take-home teeth whitening trays alone. Most over-the-counter tooth whitening kits contain 10 to 16 percent hydrogen peroxide, while whitening toothpastes may contain as little as one percent hydrogen peroxide. Power teeth whitening systems normally use 30 to 35 percent hydrogen peroxide for the best results possible.
A Typical Solution
There are several ways that power whitening can be achieved. The most common power bleaching procedure is laser teeth whitening -- also called in-office tooth whitening, power laser whitening gives you a brighter smile in just one dental visit.
During the procedure, your dentist will place a rubber dam over your gums to protect them from damage. The power bleaching solution is applied to your teeth and a dental laser or light is used to activate the hydrogen peroxide. The dental laser enhances the tooth whitening process, resulting in whiter teeth in about an hour. Some patients may prefer the convenience of power laser teeth whitening over other forms of power teeth whitening, which can take days or weeks to complete.
Another type of power teeth whitening combines laser teeth whitening with take-home trays. Prior to the procedure, your dentist will take an impression of your teeth. Custom trays are then designed to seal off and protect your gums from the peroxide solution. These trays will be worn at night for approximately two weeks prior to or after laser teeth whitening. The process may take longer, but the results are worth waiting for, sometimes whitening beyond the five to six shades normally attained when laser whitening is performed alone.