Teeth whitening is the process of removing stains and discolouration from teeth, and improving their colour through a bleaching process to make them look “whiter”. At Dentists@work we use the ZOOM! Advance Power Teeth procedure for teeth whitening, and we also provide at-home teeth whitening kits.
ZOOM! teeth whitening is a procedure designed to lighten the colour of the teeth using a combination of a hydrogen peroxide gel and a specially designed ultraviolet lamp. As the hydrogen peroxide is broken down, oxygen enters the enamel and dentin, bleaching coloured substances while ensuring that the structure of the teeth is unchanged. ZOOM! whitening treatments are not intended to lighten artificial teeth, crowns, veneers or porcelain, as well as composite or other restorative materials. Better results are frequently achieved with darkly stained yellow or yellow-brown teeth, compared to grey or bluish-grey teeth.
What does the procedure involve?
During the procedure, which takes 60 to 90 minutes (1 visit), the whitening gel is applied to the teeth, and the teeth are exposed to the light from the ZOOM! lamp for a total of three (3), 15-minute applications. During the entire process, a plastic retractor is placed inside the mouth to keep it open, and the soft tissues of the mouth (i.e. lips, gums, cheeks and tongue) are covered to ensure that they are not exposed to either the gel or the light. Lip balm (with an SPF rating of 30+) is also applied as needed, and protective eyewear is supplied.
Prior to the ZOOM! teeth whitening treatment, all cavities and leaking fillings need to be filled or restored, and patients with toothbrush abrasion or erosion lesions will need to have those areas covered with a dental dam.
Following the treatment, custom-made take-home trays are supplied to all patients that may be used to improve the initial results. Intermittent use will also maintain the desired tooth shade.
In the first few days following your ZOOM! teeth whitening treatment, your teeth enamel will act like a sponge. To ensure that your whitening results last for as long as possible, it is essential to avoid food and beverages that have the potential to re-stain your teeth. These include, but are not limited to, tea, coffee, red wine and Coke, as well as berries, curries and beetroot. And of course, smoking will also stain the surface of your teeth.
Be sure to use the whitening gel and whitening toothpaste as instructed. While relapses after teeth whitening treatments are natural, they should be very gradual, so avoid exposing your teeth to various staining agents that might accelerate the process.
Is teeth whitening safe?
Yes. Extensive research and clinical studies all indicate that whitening your teeth under the supervision of a dentist is safe. In fact, many dentists consider whitening the safest cosmetic dental procedure available.
The ZOOM! teeth whitening treatment is not recommended for children under 13 years of age, pregnant or lactating women, light sensitive individuals, patients receiving PUVA (Psoralen +UVA radiation) or other photochemotherapeutic drugs or treatments, and patients with melanoma, diabetes or heart conditions. It should be noted that the ZOOM! lamp emits ultraviolet radiation (UVA), and patients taking any drugs that increase photosensitivity should consult their physician before undergoing the ZOOM! teeth whitening treatment.
Complications of treatment
Tooth sensitivity/pain during the 24 to 48 hours following treatment might occur, but this is usually minor and lasts for only a short period of time. Treat with Ibuprofen and desensitising agents as directed by your dentist. If sensitivity persists, contact your dentist.
In some cases, gum, lip or cheek inflammation and/or dry, chapped lips might occur. Root resorption might also occur, but very rarely, and is more likely to present itself in teeth that have had root canals. In a limited number of patients, allergies might be a problem. In the event of an allergic reaction, treatment will be suspended.
Teeth with multiple colourations, bands, splotches or spots due to tetracycline use or flourosis do not whiten as well, and might need either multiple treatments or cannot be whitened at all.
Benefits of teeth whitening
For many people, an increased confidence in their appearance is the biggest benefit of having their teeth whitened. Smokers and regular tea or coffee drinkers will often notice that their teeth have discoloured over time, causing them to be more self conscious of their smile and appearance, and teeth whitening is a safe, quick and easy way to fix that.