Tooth whitening (or bleaching) is a simple, non-invasive dental treatment used to change the color of natural tooth enamel and is an ideal way to enhance the beauty of your smile.
Because having whiter teeth has now become the number one aesthetic concern of most patients, there are a number of ways to whiten teeth. The most popular method is using a home tooth whitening system that will whiten teeth dramatically. Since tooth whitening only works on natural tooth enamel, it is important to evaluate replacement of any old fillings, crowns, etc. Replacement of any restorations will be done after bleaching so they will match the newly bleached teeth.
Tooth whitening is not permanent. A touch-up maybe needed every several years, and more often if you smoke, drink coffee, tea, or wine.
Reasons for tooth whitening:
- Fluorosis (excessive fluoridation during tooth development).
- Normal wear of outer tooth layer.
- Stained teeth due to medications (tetracycline, etc.).
- Yellow, brown stained teeth.
What does tooth whitening involve?
This type of tooth whitening usually requires two visits. At the first appointment, impressions (molds) will be made of your teeth to fabricate custom, clear plastic, trays.
At your second appointment, you will try on the trays for proper fit, and adjustments will be made if necessary. The trays are worn with special whitening solution either twice a day for 30 minutes or overnight for a couple of weeks depending on the degree of staining and desired level of whitening. It is normal to experience tooth sensitivity during the time you are whitening your teeth, but it will subside shortly after you have stopped bleaching.
You will receive care instructions for your teeth and trays, and be encouraged to visit your dentist regularly to help maintain a beautiful, healthy, white smile.
Q. What is ZOOM!™ tooth whitening?
A. ZOOM!™ is a bleaching process that lightens discoloration of enamel and dentin.
Q. What causes tooth discoloration?
A. There are many causes. The most common include aging and consumption of staining substances such as coffee, tea, colas, tobacco, red wine, etc. During tooth formation, consumption of tetracycline, certain antibiotics or excessive fluoride may also cause tooth discoloration.
Q. Who may benefit from tooth whitening?
A. Almost anyone. However, treatment may not be as effective for some as it is for others. Your dental professional can determine if you are a viable candidate for this procedure through a thorough oral exam, including a shade assessment.
Q. Do many people whiten their teeth?
A. More people than you might imagine. A bright, sparkling smile can make a big difference for everyone. The ZOOM! ™ Whitening System makes it easier and faster than ever before.
Q. Is whitening safe?
A. Yes, extensive research and clinical studies indicate that whitening teeth under the supervision of a dentist is safe. In fact, many dentists consider whitening the safest cosmetic dental procedure available. As with any tooth whitening product, ZOOM!™ is not recommended for children under 13 years of age and pregnant or lactating women.
Q. How does ZOOM!™ work?
A. The ZOOM!™ light-activated whitening gel’s active ingredient is Hydrogen Peroxide. As the Hydrogen peroxide gel is broken down, oxygen enters the enamel and dentin, bleaching colored substances while the structure of the tooth is unchanged.
Q. What does a patient experience during the ZOOM!™ procedure?
A. During the procedure, patients may comfortably watch television or listen to music. Many actually fall asleep. Individuals with a strong gag reflex or anxiety may have difficulty undergoing the entire procedure.
Q. How is exposure to the ZOOM!™ light controlled?
A. The ZOOM!™ procedure requires that all soft tissue in and around the mouth be protected. The clinician is required to monitor the procedure to insure any exposed skin to tissue is isolated and protected. Protective eyewear is required during the procedure.
Light sensitive individuals including those undergoing PUVA therapy (Psoralen+UV Radiation) or other photo-chemotherapy, as well as patients with melanoma, should not undergo the ZOOM!™ in-office procedure. Also, patients taking any light sensitive drugs or substances, whether over-the-counter, prescription or homeopathic, should consult their primary physician prior to procedure.
Q. How long does ZOOM!™ Whitening take?
A. The complete procedure takes just over an hour. The procedure begins with a preparation period followed by one hour of bleaching. A five minute fluoride treatment completes the procedure. (A cleaning is recommended prior to the actual ZOOM!™ Whitening session).
Q. Are there any side effects?
A. Sensitivity during the treatment may occur with some patients. The ZOOM!™ light generates minimal heat, which is the usual source for discomfort. On rare occasions, minor tingling sensations are experienced immediately after the procedure but always dissipate.
Q. How long do the results last?
A. By following the ZOOM!™ Post Whitening Care Instructions, your teeth will always be lighter than they were prior to the procedure. The ZOOM!™ whitening procedure includes a take-home touch-up kit and trays that can be used whenever discoloration is notices. Most often a touch-up once a year will maintain a whiter smile that sparkles for years.