In this paper we describe a novel, erbium laser- assisted whitening method, TouchWhiteTM, which pertains to chemical strategies for removing tooth stains by means of laser-activated aqueous gels or pastes.
The TouchWhiteTM method makes use of the fact that the Er:YAG laser wavelength has a water absorption peak in the vicinity of 3 μm. Since water is the major component of the aqueous bleaching gels, this eliminates the need for any additional absorbing particles in the bleaching gels. More importantly, taking into account thermal burden considerations, the TouchWhiteTM procedure represents the most effective and least invasive laser-assisted tooth whitening method possible. Due to its high absorption in bleaching gels, the Er:YAG laser beam is fully absorbed in the gel and does not penetrate to the hard tissue or the pulp. All of the laser energy is thus effectively used for the heating of the gel. There is no direct heating of the dental tissue and the pulp, as is the case with other laser-assisted whitening methods. As a consequence, the procedure can be performed with a minimal undesirable thermal burden on the tooth, and the tooth whitening speed can be safely increased by 5 – 10 times.