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.), coffee, tea, cola, or tobacco use.
Yellow, brown stained teeth.
What does tooth whitening involve?
Take Home Method
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.
Expect 7-14 days to reach your desired shade.
Zoom!® Chairside Whitening
A pearly-white smile is beautiful to look at and can greatly improve self-confidence. Many people are opting for the Zoom!® Chairside Whitening System (Zoom!®) for fast, safe and effective teeth whitening. Zoom!® combines the newest advances in dental technology with proven chemical formulas. This ensures that the bleaching experience is painless, and the results are satisfying.
Zoom!® has many advantages over these other treatments, including:
All teeth treated simultaneously.
Faster treatment times.
Longer lasting results.
Removal of stains on crowns, veneers and other restorations.
Safe procedure and treatment.
Treatments are performed by an experienced professional.
It is important to seek advice from the Dr. Scott prior to beginning a bleaching regime. Women who are pregnant or lactating should not seek bleaching treatment.
How does Zoom!® whiten the teeth?
Zoom!® is a bleaching process that lightens the dentin and enamel of the teeth. Zoom!® contains a hydrogen peroxide component (25%), which is the active ingredient in the gel. When hydrogen peroxide is applied to the teeth, the peroxide component breaks down into tiny oxygen bubbles. It is these bubbles that eliminate yellowing and staining.
A mercury metal halide light is used to activate the gel and expedite the whitening process. This specialized light contains a unique infrared filter that works to reduce the amount of heat (and therefore sensitivity) on the surface of the teeth during the procedure. The internal structure of the teeth remains completely healthy and intact during and after the treatment.
As with any whitening system, the post-treatment results can vary according to the degree of staining and the condition of the teeth. A consultation with the dentist prior to treatment will provide information as to what kind of results Zoom!® can provide in specific instances. Zoom!® is only applied to healthy teeth and gums. If tooth decay or gum disease is an issue, these need to be controlled before the bleaching treatment is performed.
How is the Zoom!® treatment performed?
Prior to treatment, there will be a consultation where the dentist will outline the exact procedure. On treatment day, a deep cleaning (prophylaxis) will be performed to rid the teeth of any debris and plaque. Then, special eyewear will be provided to protect the eyes from the halide light, and splashguards to protect the clothing from the bleaching agent.
Here is a brief overview of the Zoom!® procedure:
Cheek retractors will be placed to expose the entire surface of the teeth.
The gums will be painted or covered to reduce sensitivity.
The dentist will apply the whitening gel to the teeth.
The halide light will then be applied to activate the gel. This specialized Zoom!® light can be positioned to work on all the teeth simultaneously.
After 15 minutes, gel will be removed from the teeth and the mouth will be rinsed.
More gel will be applied for another 15 minutes.
Again, the gel will be removed and the mouth will be thoroughly cleansed.
The final treatment of gel will be applied for 15 minutes.
The gel will be removed for the final time.
What happens after treatment?
The same external factors that caused the discoloration in the first place can quickly work their way back onto the teeth. For this reason, the dentist recommends flossing once a day, thorough cleaning with anti-sensitivity toothpaste twice a day, and occasional retreatment with Zoom!® Weekender. These post-treatment measures will ensure that the smile stays at its whitest for a long time.
If you have questions about the Zoom!® Chairside System, please contact our office at 703-971-4333.