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cosmetic dentistry_ beauty & science

12 I I special topic _ TouchWhite Figs. 1a & b_Lateral view thermal images of a tooth under Er:YAG (a) and diode (b) laser illumination. cosmeticdentistry 1_2012 _White teeth have long been cosmetically desirable. Studies suggest that at least a third of dental patients are not satisfied with the colour or aesthetic appearance of their natural teeth.1–3 As demand for aesthetic dental care has grown steadily over the years, many methods have been introduced to whiten teeth that are naturally off-white or that have become stained through smoking and dietary factors.4, 5 The most basic methods for enhancing the ap- pearance of discoloured teeth involve the applica- tion of gels, pastes or liquids that are mechanically applied to the tooth surface to remove stains throughanabrasiveprocess.Moreeffectivemeth- ods involve tooth-whitening products that acti- vate a chemical bleaching effect during contact with the stained teeth.6 Many dental practitioners also employ lasers or other high-intensity light sources to enhance thebleachingprocessandreducetheoveralltreat- ment time. However, not all laser-assisted tooth- whitening methods are equal. A more effective and patient-friendly tooth- whitening solution is presented in this paper. The novel and proprietary TouchWhite method (Fotona) eliminates the main disadvantages of other laser-assisted whitening methods. The pro- cedure is simple to perform, requiring only a stan- dard water-based bleaching agent that is heated by means of a pulsed Er:YAG laser source. The key to the superior effectiveness of the procedure lies in the unique nature of this particular laser wave- length and the specific TouchWhite treatment parameters. _TouchWhite versus traditional laser-assisted tooth whitening In order to understand the reason that Touch- White is superior to other bleaching methods, it is helpful to take a closer look at some of the main concerns and disadvantages of typical laser- assisted bleaching solutions:7 _To start with, other laser bleaching systems re- quireaspecialised(andmorecostly)bleachinggel that contains a special high-tech blend of light- absorbing particles, together with a compatible laser device that emits light at the exact, corre- sponding absorption wavelength of the absorb- ing particles. _It can be inconvenient and more difficult to clean teeth that have been coloured by gels that are infused with these particles after the procedure. _The dental practitioner has little choice but to trust that the added light-absorbing particles are non-toxic, biocompatible, and effective enough at absorbing laser light to guarantee a safe treat- ment. Unfortunately, the density of the light-absorb- ing particles in laser-enhanced bleaching gels is typicallysuchthatlightfromthelasersourceisnot fully absorbed in the relatively thin layer of gel that isappliedtothetoothsurface.Owingtothisineffi- cient light absorption, some of the laser energy will be transmitted directly into dental tissues. This can lead to an undesired heating of the patient’s whole tooth and dental pulp, possibly leading to pain and irreversibledamage.Indeed,someofthetreatment procedures recommend applying laser light to a tooth until the patient reports feeling pain. The TouchWhite method uses a very different approach, which eliminates all such concerns TouchWhite— Next-generationtoothwhitening Author_Dr Jugoslav Jovanović, Bosnia and Herzegovina Fig. 1a Fig. 1b