What Is It?
Tooth whitening lightens teeth by helping to remove stains and discoloration. Whitening is among the most popular cosmetic dental procedures because it can greatly improve how your teeth look.
Whitening is not a one-time procedure. It will need to be repeated from time to time if you want to maintain the brighter color.
Common reasons why teeth stains
The most common reasons for teeth to get yellow or stained are:
-Drinking dark-colored liquids such as coffee, cola, tea and red wine
-Not taking good care of your teeth
-Aging makes teeth less bright as the enamel gets thinner and the dentin becomes darker.
Intrinsic Teeth Stain
It is also possible to have stains inside the tooth. These are called intrinsic stains. Intrinsic stains can be caused by exposure to too much fluoride as a child while teeth are developing or other causes include tetracycline antibiotics. Trauma may also darken a tooth.
Tooth whitening is most effective on surface (extrinsic) stains.
In Office whitening (ZOOM)
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.
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 complete procedure takes less than an hour, 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 dental assistant then applies the Zoom hydrogen peroxide whitening gel, which works together with the Zoom light to penetrate the teeth.The gel remains in place for 15 minutes while the light is activated.
The gel is applied for two to four 15-minute sessions of light activation.
How to maintain 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. 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.
Sensitivity during treatment may occur in some people.
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.