Teeth whitening products come in several different forms and prices. These products can include whitening toothpastes, pens, strips, mouthwashes and finally the gel-based trays with LED kits. They do whiten teeth but with various levels of effectiveness. Here, we will go through LED whitening kits with trays to know more about this widely used home tooth-whitening option.
Generally, teeth whitening works in two ways to whiten teeth:
- either by chemical bleaching to lighten up stain and break apart the tooth discoloration on teeth
- or by using abrasive agents that achieve whitening process with mechanical removal of stains
While professional teeth whitening by dentists is the best way to get rid of yellow teeth, over-the-counter teeth whitening kits have proven to be effective yet cheaper alternative. Dentists usually use high concentration of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, which are the bleaching agents to remove stains and whiten teeth. They also use light-activated techniques in teeth whitening process to whiten teeth in dental clinics. The common light treatments used in teeth whitening at dentists’ office are:
- UV (ultraviolet) light:
- Halogen light:
- LED light:
UV light and halogen light were the primary lights used by dentists in professional teeth whitening. However, the newer and safer LED light were manufactured to be used for the whitening purpose. Therefore, the LED light is also marketed in over-the-counter (OTC) teeth whitening products to accelerate the chemical reaction of the whitening gel.
What are LED light teeth whitening kits?
Certain teeth whitening kits include different components and kits to whiten teeth at home. The LED kits come with a mouthpiece tray that you fit over your teeth. The LED device is usually attached to the tray for easy and comfortable teeth whitening process to take place. Some products may have syringes or pens containing the whitening gel or some other may have pre-filled trays. Today, you can even find whitening strips that feature the blue LED light.
Each brand instructs you to use the whitening kit for a recommended period of time to get the results you want. Usually, 10 to 30 minutes daily application in a period of 2 weeks or even more applications may be needed. Follow the instructions of each product’s guidelines to ensure a safe experience and better results.
How do LED whitening kits work?
LED, stands for light-emitting diode, is the light technique used alongside with whitening gels such as hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide to whiten teeth. LED light is used to break apart the whitening gel and activate the chemical reaction of the molecules in the bleaching agents. The chemical reaction lifts off stains and results in whiter and brighter teeth.
The blue LED light in whitening kits is designed for the goal of faster whitening and longer-lasting whiteness in tooth shade and color. It does not have the whitening impacts. The whitening formula in whitening gels such as the hydrogen peroxide or other specially made ingredients are the game-changing factors and play the major role in whitening power and stain-removing process. There are conflicting sides on whether the light-activation has any effects on results. In a study, it is concluded that light sources like LED did not seem to affect the improvements or color stability. However, in another study, which examined light-activation sources from laser and halogen in bleaching, it shows that the light-activation techniques have had significant effects in results and also longer maintenance of shade in teeth after bleaching is done.
Are LED light teeth whitening kits safe?
It is always the best idea to ask your dentist before trying any form of tooth-whitening option. It comes down to you on how you use the LED whitening kits and for how long. Keep in mind that no teeth whitening lasts forever and nothing can replace your daily toothbrushing and other oral hygiene routines. If you want faster results for having whiter and brighter teeth at home, check out whether the product is safe and do not try every product that you get your hands on.
Generally, whitening kits with LED are made to be a safe option for home use, but it doesn’t mean you overuse the product and let your guard down completely. There are gingival irritation and tooth sensitivity associated with not just LED teeth whitening kits but in most over-the-counter teeth whitening options. Once you stop using them, the sensitivity and irritation goes away. The rule of thumb is to look for lower concentrations of peroxide if you worry about sensitivity issues. Light-activation teeth whitening methods like halogen and UV light are restricted for dentists only due to safety concerns. Although LED light is used in dental offices and is manufactured for home use in teeth whitening kits, be sure to follow the instructions provided by manufacturer in how to use the LED light safely and the length of time for its application.
In addition, if you have cavities, extreme tooth decay and unrestored teeth, teeth whitening can cause sensitivity because of risks of damaged pulp.
Pros and cons of blue LED light teeth whitening kits
There are both advantages and disadvantages of whitening kits paired with LED blue light.
- Increased confidence with having whiter and brighter teeth
- Whiter teeth and improvement in smile
- Easier whitening teeth at home and free of hassles
- Affordable prices
- LED light are more convenient options compared to UV or other light equipment
- Tooth sensitivity and gum irritations which can result due to too much exposure of teeth and soft tissues like your gums to the peroxide-based bleaching agents or harsh ingredients used
- Damages to teeth enamel or delicate soft tissues of mouth which may leave sensitivity, burns and irritation that can occur due to excessive use of teeth whitening kits with LED light device or incorrect use
- Not as fast result as professional in-office teeth whitening done by dentists (products are not allowed to have higher percentage of hydrogen peroxide for home use)
- Whitening results are different. Different teeth whitening kits are available in different brands and some may not live up to their claims in whitening teeth.
Can whitening kits with LED really work for all type of stains?
If used as directed, at-home LED teeth whitening kits have shown to work well in removing surface stains and much stubborn tooth discoloration. You can expect pearly whites to appear and see significant improvements on your teeth. However, there are intrinsic stains that can be caused by enamel deficiencies, injuries or medications, which require dentists’ intervention for removal.
What determines the whitening efficacy is the whitening formula that is used, the type of stain on teeth and the number of applications. So, nothing works for all. If you have intrinsic stains like tetracycline stains, instead of home options, better look for a professional in-office teeth whitening treatment.
Whether you are using OTC whitening kits with LED or you are undergoing in-office whitening treatments, the ingredients and whitening formula are key factors in how well teeth can be whitened. As said, the percentage of hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide are higher in professional in-office teeth whitening. This means more teeth sensitivity but it can be supervised by dentists through remineralizing agents such as fluoride or through combining the whitening gel with abrasives and lowering the amount of peroxide bleaches. On the other hand, LED whitening kits contain lower dosage of peroxide to reduce sensitivity issues.
The final say
Consult your dentists on what suits you best in teeth whitening. What may work for others may not be suitable for you. You may have deeper stains and severe tooth discoloration which require much intense teeth whitening procedures done by dentists. Therefore, trying frequently store-bought home options can even leave permanent damages to teeth. If your teeth can be whitened by over-the-counter teeth whitening kits and this is what your dentist may find no problems in, you can whiten teeth in the comfort of your home but with safer and reliable products.