Many patients have a desire for their teeth to appear naturally bright and white. Teeth can become discolored due to many factors including genetic, environmental and pharmacological. This can include discoloring or yellowing due to food and drink, smoking or medications. The aging process also can stain and darken your teeth. Over time, the stains from these sources can penetrate the tooth enamel, which changes the color of the dentin in your teeth. This darkens the overall appearance, because enamel is translucent. Teeth whitening is a great option for reversing the effects of staining and restoring the natural white color to your teeth.
Our office uses a product called ZOOM whitening. Zoom is a bleaching process widely used to lighten discoloration of enamel and dentin. The Zoom Advanced Power Chairside Lamp is said to accelerate the bleaching process and 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.
Before deciding whether Zoom in-office teeth whitening is right for you, your dentist will conduct a comprehensive exam 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.
Your dentist also may recommend that you undergo whitening if you are planning other cosmetic dental procedures, such as veneers or composite bonding. This will ensure a better match between the restoration and your natural teeth. It’s also commonly done after the removal of braces.
The complete procedure takes about an hour. A teeth cleaning is recommended prior to the actual 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.
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. 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. Your dentist may likely recommend you stop smoking, as tobacco products will re-stain the teeth.
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.
Your dentist can help you determine if Zoom teeth whitening is right for you.