Nd:YAG laser doesn't enhance teeth whitening

Adding laser energy to in-office teeth whitening does not improve the whitening effect, according to a study in Lasers in Medical Science (July 2010, Vol. 25:4, pp. 503-509).

Researchers from Aachen University performed laser-assisted in-office bleaching on the teeth of 20 patients using an Nd:YAG laser (1,064 nm, average power 4 W, pulse repetition rate 10 Hz, pulse duration 320 µs).

The treatment was carried out in a split-mouth design, each patient having two appointments with one week in between. Laser activation of the bleaching agent was performed on teeth 14-11 and 34-31 per session, with a total irradiation time of 30 sec. per tooth. The initial and the final color of the teeth were ascertained by Vita Colorsticks and the dental chromatometer ShadeEye NCC.

The researchers detected whitening detected in both the laser-activated and nonactivated quadrants; however, statistical evaluation showed that the additional activation of the bleaching agent by the Nd:YAG laser had no significant effect on the whitening (p > 0.05).

"The results achieved in this study should be scrutinized critically," the researchers noted. "They give cause for one to reconsider the treatment conditions or the laser parameters used, or even to query the application of the Nd:YAG laser in general during in-office bleaching."

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