Cosmetic Dentistry: Ultraviolet Teeth Whitening

Wouldn’t all of us love to have whiter, brighter teeth? One of the most advanced and most requested methods of whitening teeth is ultraviolet tooth whitening. This method was designed for the tanning industry. That’s right! Now you can have your teeth whitened while you are getting your luscious, golden tan. Ultraviolet tooth whitening can be used by anyone over the age of 15 wanting to significantly whiten their teeth.

What causes teeth to stain or discolor to the extent that we consider cosmetic dentistry to whiten or bleach them? The white, outer part of our teeth is enamel. It usually starts out clean and white, but as the years go by, enamel is worn down and, in the process, becomes more transparent. At this point, enamel begins to let the yellow color of dentin, which is the tooth’s core material, show through. During the normal process of chewing, dentin remains unimpaired but tiny, microscopic cracks occur in the enamel, millions of them. As these tiny cracks slowly fill up with debris and stains, yellowing or discoloration begins. There are two types of stains, extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic stain appears on the surface of teeth.

Whether you choose to whiten your teeth by going to a dentist or ultraviolet teeth whitening, you most likely want the best method available for a reasonable price. Of these choices, in-office dental whitening will be the most expensive procedure. The average cost, nationwide, is over $600.00. This process will take approximately an hour per treatment session. The dentist will use a solution of 25 - 35% hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide in a custom-fitted tray. To make the bleaching process work more quickly, he or she will also employ heat or light. You might also want to consider the wait for appointments and the convenience of traveling to your dentist’s location. Additional treatments at the dentist’s office may also be required.

UV Teeth Whitening

Ultraviolet teeth whitening is an innovative method of bleaching or whitening teeth. Since whitening sounds more acceptable as a term than bleaching, the term whitening is used more often. Bleaching, as a description, can only be used when teeth can be whitened beyond their natural color. Since the Ultraviolet teeth whitening system uses carbamide peroxide, it does lighten the shade of teeth beyond their natural color.Most commonly used in your tanning salon, it can be used every time you tan.

Ideally, the UV teeth whitening treatment will occur every other day for eight to ten sessions. A tray is used to apply carbamide peroxide in the same concentration used in dentist’s offices. The carbamide peroxide is heated and activated by use of ultraviolet light so that in it penetrates pores in the surface of the teeth and removes stains by the process of oxidation. This process results in a rapid change in tooth shade and lasts up to six months, at which time touch up or maintenance treatments may be needed.


Some of the advantages of UV teeth whitening are accessibility, cost, and effectiveness. If you are in a tanning salon anyway, it will not take any extra time or effort on your part to have your teeth whitened at the same time. There is no discomfort during the process and the results are noticeable after a 15 to 20 minute session. The cost is definitely lower than a visit to your dentist, averaging around $35.00 to $45.00 per session.

UV whitening results are more uniform results than other methods due to the fact that a universal mouthpiece is used. It doesn’t have contact directly with the tooth surface but does allow the UV heat and light access to the tooth surface and to the heat activated gel. This results in restoration of the tooth surfaces because any dirt and debris is removed. The gel is thick enough to prevent its being displaced in the tray, which would result in uneven results; all teeth are bleached to a consistent, lighter, brighter shade. A pleasant, mint-flavored taste is an added bonus.


Possible disadvantages of UV teeth whitening systems are that UV light can be harmful to the skin or eyes. The solution for this possible problem is in the limited amount of time you will be exposed to UV light and the fact that eye shields or guards are used in tanning salons.

Another disadvantage is that tooth or gum sensitivity may occur. Most commonly, this sensitivity lasts for only a brief period of time, often only during and immediately after the treatment. If the sensitivity continues, or is more severe than expected, any sensitivity will disappear after a brief, usually 1 or 2 day, break from the process.

Toothpastes designed for sensitive teeth may also be helpful. In 99% of cases, any side effects are short term and minor in nature and should not deter you from choosing UV teeth whitening as a preferable option to other procedures. UV teeth whitening can only bleach natural tooth enamel, so if you have had restorative dental work like crowns, bonding or bridgework, these will not show any whitening result.

Last Words

Among the advantages of Ultraviolet Teeth Whitening are the rapid change in tooth shade, often six to eight shades lighter than you previously experienced. This positive change is tooth shade usually lasts up to six months, at which time touch up or maintenance visits will restore or enhance the lighter, whiter shade you originally experienced and loved. If cost is a factor, UV whitening is more affordable.The treatment is utilized during the time you would be getting your tan, so there is no extra expenditure of your time or transportation.

Regardless of which method you decide on, it is definitely a procedure to consider if you are self-conscious about your smile and would like to be more confident and assured when that first impression is made. Clients who have tried the Ultraviolet teeth whitening procedure report that it is comfortable and easy and that the results are astounding. With the cost of the treatment being so competitive, it may be well worth your time to experience the UV teeth whitening experience.

Video: Teeth Whitening Tips

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Comments 8 comments

Ted Smith 2 years ago

That is interesting how dentists can use ultraviolet light to whiten your teeth. I didn't know that this method of whitening your teeth existed. How much does it usually cost? I have been using the whitening strips to whiten my teeth, but I don't see much improvement. I would like to try the ultraviolet light technique.

Jackson Willis 21 months ago

I think it would be awesome to be able to do something like this. Yellow teeth can be really difficult to have to live with. I know that I would want to do everything within my power to correct it if I was dealing with this. I hope that more people are able to do this and get the help they need.

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