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Should I Use an Online Company Offering Laser Teeth Whitening?

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 14 May 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Laser Whitening Dentist Tooth Teeth

Q.

I am interested in having my teeth whitened. I am 50 years old and they have yellowed somewhat. I am not a smoker. My dentist has suggested using a gel and tray system, costing £420. On the web, there seem to be a number of places offering a laser approach for about £100. Am I a safe to use one of these companies? Is there anything I need to watch out for when selecting a company to use?

(T.R, 17 May 2009)

A.

Your question is an excellent one, particularly as many people are looking to improve their appearance through a more attractive smile. However, there are some important points to keep in mind when searching for the best practitioner. But first, let's look at the technique itself and how it works before considering what can go wrong and how best to ensure you find someone to minimise these risks.

Laser Tooth Whitening

Laser tooth whitening is a relatively new technique in comparison with the older, more traditional 'tray and gel' styles of tooth whitening. They offer a rapid way to whiten teeth up to five or six shades whiter in a single session. In this procedure, a rubber dam is placed on teeth to offer protection to your gums.

After, a substance to bleach the teeth is applied. The laser is used to make this substance 'active', which then whitens teeth. This laser essentially works as a catalyst to speed up the whitening you would normally get from the tray and gel style of whitening.

Private Dentists

As you already indicated, you're comparing costs. The NHS doesn't cover whitening treatments – private costs vary tremendously. One thing you should do involves obtaining a written estimate of the procedure prior to having it done. This way, there are no hidden extras or surprises later.

Risks of Laser Whitening

You should also consider that teeth can become much more sensitive to cold drinks or foods after you have laser whitening. Other people find that their gums are sensitive or their throat may feel sore. For most, the effects are temporary and will resolve over time though.

Choose Wisely

Make sure you choose a registered dentist to perform the treatment and preferably one within Britain. Many of these sites are ones outside of Britain, where people take 'dental holidays' to obtain cheaper services. However, there is no guarantee that they are subject to the same stringent standards of dentistry here.

Other local places cite that they are 'dentist trained,' but this does not mean they are dentists! It simply means they learned how to perform the procedure from a dentist. That is a far cry from the years of experience and training that a dentist undergoes to become registered.

While you certainly want to get the best price possible, it shouldn't be at the expense of your health and safety. Choose wisely and you can enjoy a whiter smile at a cost that makes it worth the procedure.

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