Light Show

by Alison

We’ve all seen the dental whitening kits and programs that use special lights to supposedly increase the power of the bleach, and/or decrease the amount of time necessary to get a brighter smile.

Bleaching products that are recommended by your dentist or have the ADA seal of approval are great. But I’ll let you in on a little secret - the light is just a show. The thing that really lightens teeth is the bleaching gel, which is usually a peroxide solution.

There are two things that effect the level of whiteness and the time necessary for teeth to lighten.

  1. The strength of the bleaching gel.
  2. The amount of time you have the gel in contact with the teeth.

As with many things there is a downside to rushing. If you use a very strong gel it will take less time, but it could burn your gums and make your teeth very sensitive. If you use a less strong bleaching gel it will take a longer, but your teeth will be less sensitive, and you will have less chance of burning your gums. That’s why we only use the really strong gel in the office, not for patients at home. In the office we can put a protective coating on your gums and closely monitor you for any potential problems.

Gordon Christensen, one of the most highly regarded dental gurus and researcher, has done clinical experiments and concluded that, “‘Use of lights according to the manufacturer's directions did not improve lightening for any system tested.’ Systems tested in the CRA study were: LaserSmile, LumaArch, Niveous, Opalescence Xtra Boost, PolaOffice, Rembrandt 1 Hour Smile-Whitening Program, and Zoom”

While the bleaching products used by the systems he tested are probably effective, the lights are just a show, a gimmick, a promotional tactic. There is nothing wrong with a good promo but don’t be fooled. It’s the strength of the gel, and time in contact with the teeth that matters, not the light.

If you’d like to have lighter, brighter teeth give us a call. We can help you with that 703-532-1712