In a quest to be our best self, many people often turn to over-the-counter whitening products. Because our patients frequently ask us about these products, we decided to go undercover for an investigation of whitening strips, pens and lights – an inside view of one facet of cosmetic dentistry in Milwaukee and across the nation. The first installment of our investigation was about whitening strips and the second researched whitening pens. This third and last one is about whitening lights.
We were very surprised to learn that one local drugstore carried tooth whitening light systems. All these systems used some sort of light, which the product literature indicated would speed the whitening process. Basically, you apply a whitening solution to your teeth and then place the curved light over the solution and bite down. The systems range in cost from $44 to $300.
Study after study has concluded that the use of light activator sources with in-office bleaching treatment of vital teeth did not increase the efficacy of bleaching or accelerate the bleaching. Light is basically superfluous in professional whitening systems, which leads us to conclude that at-home systems would not be effective either.
You may notice a slightly whiter shade after you whiten with a light and whitening gel but studies indicate that the lightening is a result of dehydration of the tooth structure and once the structure re-hydrates, the color will rebound to the previous shade.
For more information on Getting the Right White, download our free ebook of the same name. And, if you want to schedule an appointment with a dentist who keeps up-to-date on whitening products, click here.