Zoom Bleaching:
Is It Right For You?
12 Questions and Answers

Zoom bleaching has really taken off in popularity. Thanks to this  technology, busy professionals can get whiter teeth and brighter smiles easier and faster.

This article has answers to common questions about this bleaching proceedure and will help you determine if it’s something for you.

Before getting into the questions and answers, I spoke with a friend who recently used it to whiten his teeth and got a few pointers to share with you.

Zoom Bleaching: One Patient’s Experience

The corporate website claims it is an advanced, clinically-proven tooth whitening (teeth bleaching) procedure. Most patients get immediate and long-lasting results without wearing whitening trays, applying gels, or using whitening strips that can take days or weeks to work.

In the case of my friend, JC, those claims held up. He says he’s satisfied with the results. His teeth are whiter and the color is more even. The dentist told him they were able to get this teeth about 2 to 3 shades whiter (which is low, the average is much higher)...

JC’s teeth were not very yellow to begin with. He only drinks coffee and soda occasionally, not daily. Sugary drinks and dark liquids like coffee and red wine are very good at discoloring teeth, so beware. He also doesn’t smoke (smoking is another way to stain teeth, avoid it).

Since he didn’t have a bad case of yellow teeth, I asked why he invested the time and money into Zoom whitening? A couple of things happened:

  • A co-worker mentioned that he “could” whiten his teeth. Proving that people notice your teeth more than you realize;
  • Next, he needs to get a dental implant for one of his front teeth and thought it would be good idea to get his teeth whiter beforehand. 

Because implants, crowns, and veneers are made from man-made materials like porcelain, they do not respond to teeth bleaching procedures.

It’s recommended to whiten your teeth first. Then, the dentist and dental technician matches the implant, crown, or veneer to your surrounding teeth.

JC spent about one hour to complete his procedure. This was broken down into three separate visits. So, when you include the driving, parking, and waiting, it took a little more than one hour total.

He felt some minor discomfort while the dentist applied the bleaching material. But had no discomfort after the appointments. Overall, JC would recommend Zoom Teeth Whitening to others.

12 Zoom Whitening Questions and Answers

This procedure is designed to significantly lighten the color of teeth using the combination of a proprietary hydrogen peroxide whitening gel and a specially designed ultraviolet lamp. A dentist trained in the Zoom Teeth Whitening procedure performs the treatment in the office.

1. What can you expect at your Zoom Teeth Whitening appointment?

  • Before the treatment begins, the dentist covers the lips, gums and tongue, leaving only the teeth exposed. This step minimizes any sensitivity or discomfort caused by the whitening gel or the ultraviolet light;
  • During the bleaching process, the gel is applied to the teeth, then they are  exposed to the light from the Zoom! lamp for three, 15-minute sessions. The light activates and accelerates the gel’s bleaching ability; enabling it to effectively and gently penetrate the enamel to remove deep stains and discoloration;
  • A five-minute sensitivity-reducing fluoride treatment completes the procedure. The process takes about one hour, is simple, and, in most cases, painless. (However, some people do experience pain or discomfort afterward.)

You can expect teeth to become at least six to 10 shades whiter after a treatment, with eight shades of improvement being the average.

The treatment successfully removes stains and discoloration caused by aging and coffee, tea, cola, tobacco, red wine, and other foods and beverages that stain teeth. Zoom may also remove stains caused by tetracycline, certain antibiotics, or excessive fluoride.

2. Why do they use the ultraviolet lamp?

The whitening gel used during this procedure combines a hydrogen peroxide based gel with an activation cream. This combination yields a 25% concentration of hydrogen peroxide with a pH level between 7.5 and 8.5 when applied.

The mercury halide lamp, provides a small amount of UVB (ultra-violet) light that both activates and accelerates the bleaching process.

3. Who can benefit from Zoom Bleaching?

Almost anyone. For some individuals treatment may not be as effective. A dentist, however, can tell you if you're a viable candidate by conducting a thorough oral exam, a shade assessment, and takes your lifestyle habits in consideration.  For instance, teeth whitening may not be the best option if a person’s teeth and gums are in poor health.

Individuals who are planning other cosmetic dental procedures, such as veneers or composite bonding, may want to complete teeth whitening first. This helps ensure a better match between their restored and natural teeth. Also, anyone who has braces removed may benefit.

4. Is teeth whitening safe?

Yes. Numerous research and clinical studies confirm that whitening teeth using hydrogen peroxide under a dentist’s supervision is safe and does not adversely affect a tooth’s enamel surface. Many dentists, in fact, claim whitening is the safest cosmetic dental procedure available.

5. Who should not undergo a Zoom whitening procedure?

It is not recommended for children under 13 or pregnant and lactating women.

Persons who have existing dental restorations may not want to undergo a whitening procedure. Why? Because existing restorations such as crowns, bonding, veneers, bridges, and tooth-colored fillings do not lighten. So there may be a marked difference in color between the natural teeth and the restorations, especially in the front of the mouth.

However, many patients in this situation still move forward with whitening. What the dentist does is bleach first, then replace the pre-existing dental work with new restorations that match the new tooth color.

6. Does Zoom whitening have side effects?

Most patients experience some minor tooth and gum sensitivity during or shortly after treatment, and that’s all. For others, these symptoms last a little longer but  disappear within one to three days after the treatment.

In a few rare cases, people have suffered substantial pain and swelling from the treatment. In one instance, the dental professional apparently failed to take proper safeguards to protect the person’s lips and gums.

To prevent side effects when using their at-home kit (only available through participating dentists), the at-home whitening products contain two mild desensitizing agents, potassium nitrate and Amorphous Calcium Phosphate (ACP), to minimize tooth sensitivity.

7. How long do the results last?

No teeth whitening treatment is permanent. People who consume foods and beverages that stain (i.e. berries, coffee, tea, cola, and red wine), or who use tobacco, may see the whiteness start to fade in about a month or so.

Avoiding these foods and beverages, or consuming them in moderation, as well as refraining from tobacco products, will enable the whiteness to last upwards of a year or more before needing touch-up or another treatment.

Patients can ensure they maintain their new white smile by following some simple post-whitening instructions:

  • Floss
  • Brush twice daily with Zoom Whitening Toothpaste*
  • Apply occasional touch-ups with Zoom Take-Home Gel*
  • Visit their dentist regularly for scheduled teeth cleanings.

*These are specially formulated products only available through participating dentists. You could also follow these 7 inexpensive ways to whiten teeth naturally.

8. How does it compare with over-the-counter teeth whiteners?

Zoom bleaching is considered one of the best teeth whitening treatments available today. The evidence is outlined in the chart below:

Whitening your teeth through a dentist will cost more, but the results are faster. I know many people who simply want to improve their color, and use home whitening kits available at the local store or online and are satisfied with the results as well. If budget a concern, you could give a home whitening kit a try first.

But if you want speed and more noticeable results, then it makes sense to discuss teeth whitening with a dentist.

9. Is Zoom Teeth Whitening the same as Laser Teeth Whitening?

It is sometimes referred to as laser teeth whitening. But that’s not accurate. Zoom is actually categorized as light activated tooth whitening and does not involve the use of a laser at all. Both Zoom and laser teeth whitening are effective procedures; however, they use different technologies.

Another light activated tooth whitening system is Britesmile. It preceded Zoom in the market and quickly became a big hit. Zoom whitening, originally developed by a company called Discus Dental Inc., and later sold to Philips, followed soon after.

Exposure on the hit TV show Extreme Makeover made it into an overnight success. Subsequent appearances on The Tonight Show, EXTRA, and Entertainment Tonight also helped make it the #1 patient-requested professional whitening treatment.

10. Does dental insurance cover the cost of a Zoom Teeth Whitening treatment?

No. Dental insurance ordinarily does not cover the cost for whitening teeth treatments because it is considered a voluntary cosmetic procedure. However, some dental plans may help you secure a discount.

11. Is Zoom whitening available for use at home?

Yes, but it’s only available through a participating dentist; not your local pharmacy, retail store, or online.

12. How much does this cost?

The cost varies widely depending on the dental professional’s experience and location. Typically, the average cost for in-office treatment is $375. Some reviewers report paying considerably more, around $500. While occasionally, you can find advertised discounts for under $200.

Keep in mind, that some dentists may recommend teeth cleaning or other procedures to ensure the best treatment results. This will add to the final cost. Also, there are post-whitening procedures that are recommended in order to maintain the new shade of white.

You’ll find these pages helpful:

Dental Insurance 101

How to Choose a Teeth Whitening Professional

Teeth Veneers and Cosmetic Dentistry

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