Everything you need to know about Zoom Whitening
Thinking about taking the plunge and brightening up those pearly whites? You’ve probably got a few questions then, haven’t you? With Zoom Whitening being one of the most popular methods of in-chair whitening – and one of the most pain-free too – we asked an expert to answer all our nitty gritty questions to help you decide whether this method of teeth whitening may be right for you. Here’s Sydney-based cosmetic dentist and owner of Quality Dental, Dr Luke Cronin, with everything you need to know about Zoom Whitening.
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As a side note, I recently found out I wasn’t a candidate for Zoom Whitening due to fluorosis on my front teeth – which is where my quest to find out more about the procedure began. That’s why it’s recommended that you get a proper check-up first before you go ahead and book one of those discount whitening treatments online that might not offer you your money back – or worse, fail to provide you with the right information before you get in the chair. When it comes to any type of cosmetic treatments, it always pays to seek proper medical advice before you proceed.
What is Philips Zoom Whitening and how does it differ from other types of teeth whitening?
Zoom Whitening is what we call an in-chair treatment, which means it’s done at a dentist by a dental professional. Philips Zoom Whitening is very, very effective, using a patented whitening gel and LED light technology to make teeth up to eight shades whiter in around one hour. How it works is the light activates the peroxide in the gel to safely accelerate the whitening process at a pace that reduces the sensitivity sometimes associated with teeth whitening.
There are lots of at-home whitening kits but having your teeth whitened at the dentist gives you better whitening, with limited sensitivity and a more predictable end result in a shorter period of time. This is because it’s done under the supervision of a dental professional and uses a higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide, the active ingredient used to whiten teeth.
At-home whitening kits are convenient and cheaper but there are a few things you should consider. Over-the-counter products have a lower percentage of hydrogen peroxide so they won’t achieve the same results you see with professional dental teeth whitening, even with repeat applications. These kits come with whitening trays which need your dentist to personalise for you. Without personalised trays there is a greater risk that the generic trays won’t fit your teeth properly which can affect the whitening outcome and increase the risk of irritated gums. Also, if you don’t follow the instructions carefully you may end up with teeth sensitivity.
How long does it take and does it hurt?
It takes about an hour to have your teeth whitened with Philips Zoom – this is made up of three 15-minute sessions using the whitening gel and LED light.
A small minority of patients experience temporary sensitivity during or immediately after their whitening treatment. This sensitivity is unique to every patient and is related to the condition of the tooth’s enamel and dentin. This happens because during treatment, tiny tubules in the enamel are opened up so that the whitening agent can penetrate the tooth and the dentin. This is temporary and reduces and disappears over one to four hours.
There are a few things you can do to reduce sensitivity, including using a range of desensitising products prior and post whitening. If your teeth are generally sensitive, try an enamel strengthening toothpaste or Tooth Creme 1-2 weeks prior to your treatment.
Is the process complete in one appointment and do clients usually require top-ups after a certain period of time?
Teeth whitening works by bleaching noticeable stains and discolouration from the tooth’s surface to create a more uniform, brighter shade of white. Philips Zoom whitening is completed from start to finish in around one hour. Certain lifestyle choices can reduce the whiteness of the enamel over time – if you’re a heavy coffee or wine drinker, for example. If you feel that the brightness of your teeth has dulled over time, a top-up whitening treatment is a great solution.
How should someone prep their teeth before a Zoom appointment?
If it’s been over 12 months since your last checkup and clean, we recommend you book in to get that done before your whitening treatment to ensure they’re in good condition. If your teeth are generally sensitive, use an enamel strengthening toothpaste or Tooth Creme for 1-2 weeks prior to your treatment.
What type of aftercare / at-home care is recommended?
Immediately after having your teeth whitening we recommend avoiding foods and liquids that can stain your teeth including coffee, tea, red wine, curries, and red berries – all the things that can the potential to cause stains! If you do have sensitivity post-whitening your dentist can provide Relief ACP gel, which helps manage any sensitivity symptoms.
How many shades whiter is it humanly possible to go with Zoom?
Up to eight shades! It's important to remember that everybody is unique and this is true of your teeth, too. Genetics play a significant role in the natural colour or yellowness of our teeth, as well as exposure to medications in utero and childhood, diet and oral hygiene. To get technical for a second, it’s the thickness of transparency of the tooth’s enamel and the colour of the tooth’s internal tissue – dentine – that is naturally yellow, which will determine a patient’s whitening result.
I recently found out I can't get Zoom whitening due to fluorosis on my teeth. Can you please explain why it can't be done to teeth like mine?
Fluorosis is a common cosmetic condition. In mild to moderate cases it presents as white spots or streaks on the tooth’s enamel, and in more severe cases the tooth’s surface can become pitted and have brown or black spots. Fluorosis can be caused by an excessive intake of fluoride before the age of eight when permanent or second teeth are forming enamel. Other causes can be repeated high temperatures during early childhood, or trauma to the teeth and surrounding bone.
While fluorosis doesn’t prevent you from whitening your teeth, it's not recommended as it will emphasise the existing contrast in colour on the surface of the tooth.
Are there any other factors that can mean a person may not be a candidate for Zoom?
If a person has compromised enamel and is already experiencing moderate to severe sensitivity to hot and cold, we would not recommend teeth whitening. Activities such as over brushing and consuming acidic drinks (water with lemon, or wine) and then immediately brushing your teeth can dramatically thin the tooth’s enamel over time.
In cases where Zoom isn't appropriate, what alternative methods would you recommend?
If teeth whitening treatments aren’t recommended due to sensitivity, then you can try over-the-counter whitening products that have a significantly lower percentage of whitening agent, including whitening toothpastes from reputable brands.
If you are concerned with the appearance of your teeth I would recommend having a consultation appointment with a cosmetic dentist as the first step. They will be able to provide you with a treatment plan tailored to address your specific concerns.
Have you tried Zoom Whitening? Let us know about your results in the comments below!