Zoom Whitening: Is it Right For You?
Zoom is a bleaching process widely used throughout the country and around the world to lighten discoloration of enamel and dentin. Tooth discoloration may result from drinking coffee, tea, cola and red wine; or from smoking. The aging process also can stain and darken your teeth. The Zoom in-office tooth whitening procedure uses the Zoom Advanced Power Chairside Lamp – said to accelerate the bleaching process – to activate the 25 percent hydrogen peroxide whitening. As the hydrogen peroxide is broken down, oxygen enters the enamel and dentin to bleach the stained substances, leaving the structure of the tooth unchanged.
Consultation and Treatment Planning
Before deciding whether Zoom in-office teeth whitening is right for you, your dentist will conduct a comprehensive examination of your teeth and gums to ensure proper health, as well as talk with you about your oral hygiene and lifestyle habits to determine if you will benefit from whitening. This will help you and your dentist agree on the whitening product or technique that’s best for you.
Your dentist also may require you to undergo whitening if you are planning other cosmetic dental procedures, such as veneers or composite bonding, in order to ensure a better match between the restoration and your natural dentition, or after the removal of braces. Depending on the condition of your teeth and your goals for changing the look of your smile, whitening may not be your best option.
During your consultation and evaluation, your dentist also will note existing dental work, such as crowns and veneers, which will not respond to conventional whitening agents.
The Zoom Procedure
The complete procedure takes less than an hour, but a regular teeth cleaning is recommended prior to the actual Zoom teeth whitening session. The procedure begins with a short preparation to cover the lips and gums, leaving the teeth exposed. The dentist or dental assistant then applies the Zoom hydrogen peroxide whitening gel, which works together with the Zoom light to penetrate the teeth and break up the stains and discoloration. The gel remains in place for 15 minutes while the light is activated. During this time, you can relax, watch TV or listen to music.
The gel is applied for three 15-minute sessions of light activation, for a total treatment time of 45 minutes. Individuals with a strong gag reflex or anxiety may have difficulty undergoing the entire procedure. Immediately afterwards, a sensitivity-reducing fluoride paste-gel is applied to the teeth.
Aftercare: Maintaining Whitening Effects
You will be given a Zoom home-use touch-up kit that includes custom-fitted whitening trays. Follow your dentist’s instructions for when and how to use this touch-up kit.
To help maintain the whitening effects of your treatment, your dentist may advise you to avoid certain foods and beverages, or consume them in moderation to avoid staining your teeth. This includes tea, coffee, red wine, cola, etc.
Additionally, tobacco products will stain teeth, even after whitening treatments. As such, your dentist will suggest you quit using them. Maintain an appropriate oral hygiene (brushing and flossing) regimen to prevent stains from reforming, and see your dentist and hygienist regularly for scheduled teeth cleanings.
Toothpastes containing whitening agents also may be suggested by your dentist to maintain the results of the procedure.
Sensitivity during treatment may occur in some people. The Zoom light produces minimal heat, which is usually the source of discomfort. Rarely, minor tingling is experienced immediately after the procedure, but always dissipates. Ask your dentist for an anti-sensitivity toothpaste prior to treatment to lessen sensitivity.
As with other whitening products, Zoom is not recommended for children under 13 years of age, or for pregnant or lactating women. Also, it is important to remember that whitening treatment may not be as effective for some people as it is for others. Only your dentist can determine if teeth whitening is right for you after performing a thorough oral examination that includes a shade assessment.
Cost and Treatment Time
The average cost of Zoom teeth whitening is $500 (compare with other teeth whitening costs); this includes the supplemental take-home trays designed to maximize results. Most cosmetic dentistry treatments are not covered by dental insurance. Zoom costs are therefore unaffected by most insurance plans.
Treatment time varies; however, average Zoom chair time is approximately one hour.