It’s a sad fact that ALL parts of our bodies age as Father Time piles on the years…and when I say ALL parts…yes, I mean even our teeth.
Of course, there are the usual-suspect “smile-stealers” like tobacco and coffee drinking stains and even some medications which can render our teeth grey or dull over time. But tooth enamel will thin as we age, causing teeth to look a little less than pearly white and yes, this adds years onto our appearance.
A whiter smile can make you feel more confident, which can definitely translate into thinking, acting and looking younger. And hello, this is L.A. — a city where the ability to light up a room with a smile is a resume-builder.
So, in the spirit of science, I decided to Zooma Zooma Zoom it to a dentist’s office and check out one of the most buzzed about in-office whitening procedures around: Zoom Whitening.
In the Zoom procedure, a hydrogen peroxide gel is applied onto your teeth and heated with a UV light. Zoom Whitening is reported to get your teeth 8 shades whiter after 45 minutes.
Probably one of the most important decisions you can make AFTER you decide to get Zoom, is WHERE to get Zoom. If you check out the internet, it has it’s share of horror-story reviews posted from patients. I’ve seen complaints of lip blisters resulting from an uneducated technician who did not cover their patients’ lips and tales of “zingers” or sharp pains from sensitivity.
So, I figured there could be no safer office to visit for my Zoom Whitening than the office of Dr. Steven Donia, DDS. I mean after all, he was the expert cosmetic dentist who performed amazing before and after smile transformations on ABC’s “Extreme Makeover” show. His dental career spans over 30 years. And ZOOM has been used in his office over 10 years, since 2001.
Why Zoom? Dr. Donia says:
“The ZOOM whitening brand is widely recognized by his patients and trusted. It is a fairly quick procedure compared to take home trays or overnight bleaching. The results produced keep patients happy. It’s a great kick start for touching up a smile, and if followed with take home trays you can expect results to last even longer. It also produces the least amount of sensitivity for in-office bleaching procedures.”
Dr. Donia’s office was offering an amazing coupon deal for guests of a TMG pre-Oscar event. I could get a full exam, cleaning and x-rays for $49.00 and a complimentary Zoom whitening. Who’s gonna pass THAT up?
My exam with Dr. Donia was very thorough. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from interviewing/visiting spa owners and doctors at the top of their field, it’s that these people take care of every one of your concerns, don’t rush you through the office like cattle, and educate you on what you need to know. Ivanna, who handled my teeth cleaning, took good care of me. I put her to work scraping that tartar off my teeth since, I uhhhhhh ….might’ve missed some cleanings.
The Zoom Experience
What went down: Well, first, the lovely lip separator is inserted…next, lots of gauge went into mouth corners and under top and bottom lip. Next, a topical flouride treatment, to lessen any sensitivity that may occur. The technician then applies a different gel over all of your exposed gums, then hits this with a small heat gun, which solidifies the gel. This provides a layer or hard protection for your gums from the UV light. And then the peroxide gel is applied and you’re set up rather close to the UV light, as it shines directly in your mouth. Special eye protective wear is supplied.
Despite all the mouth gear involved, I experienced no discomfort. The technician came back after 15 minutes to suction off the gel and reapply it. Zoom involves three 15 minute sessions with the gel and the light. I opted for 2 sessions since I know my teeth are sensitive.
Zoom and Sensitivity
Ten years ago, when Brite Smile was all the rage, I gave it a try with great results, but with a TON of sensitivity and pain afterwards…so going into the Zoom treatment, I wanted to err on the side of caution.
I asked Dr. Donia if he had any advise on pre-cautions to take for patients with sensitive teeth. He says:
“If a person knows that they have sensitive teeth then there are a few things you can do beforehand to help minimize it. First, brush using an anti-sensitivity toothpaste for 1-2 weeks beforehand. You can also utilize a fluoride gel treatment as well. After treatment, follow with anti-sensitivity toothpaste until sensitivity subsides.”
If patients cannot tolerate the ZOOM treatment we usually recommend using take-home trays and bleaching gel. The bleaching percentage is lower, but still whitens the teeth in a gradual fashion.”
The doctor gave me 800 mg of Motrin or Advil prior to the procedure to help with any discomfort.
I really only experienced a few “zingers” afterwards so I would have to say I had MUCH less discomfort with Zoom than with Brite Smile, which resulted in throbbing pain.
Of course, some people don’t experience any sensitivity at all. We sensitive-teeth people are just lucky, I guess!
The Zoom After-Treatment
The procedure dehydrates teeth and they become porous, so PUT DOWN THE BLACK JELLY BEANS! It’s very important you stay away from any staining foods for at least 24 hours after this procedure is done. No red wine or colas, or soy sauce or ketchup allowed! I immediately picked up a carton of cottage cheese….and went for a non-staining turkey lunch meat.
As in shopping for a bikini, teeth whitening is all about the lighting….
I wouldn’t say it’s a shocking transformation, but I think I definitely went up more than a few shades….check out the photos!
|This is the before shot.|
|This is after TWO (not the normal 3) 15 minute sessions with Zoom.|
Other Whitening Options
Of course, you want to get your choppers professionally cleaned every 6 months to keep them pearly white. In between cleanings, there’s a flood of at-home whitening options from brush on gels to whitening pens and trays, etc.
Crest 3D White toothpaste says it “can” remove up to 80% of surface stains in 14 days. It doesn’t say it WILL…. it says it “can”. I’ve been using this toothpaste regularly and noppers, it didn’t. Which is why I went in for the Zoom.
Crest Whitening Strips is another option that people seem to love, although the majority of people think it’s a hassle due to the mess.
And the ODDEST recommendation I’ve seen so far for at-home natural tooth whitening?
Yep, some TEENAGER on the internet, who of course has been whitening her teeth since she’s been NINE, (she must be a VERY heavy smoker) recommends that the inside peel of a banana will whiten your teeth naturally. Just rub the peel and let it sit on your teeth for a bit before wiping off. Give it about a week for results to kick in.
Anybody up for trying it? Or do you have an at-home whitening treatment you can’t live without? Please comment!
Always talk to an experienced cosmetic dentist about your whitening options.
Dr. Steven Donia (www.stevendoniadds.com) not only offers Zoom Whitening. He is uber skilled (over 30 years) in cosmetic dental makeovers, veneers, bonding, Invisalign and more. His office is located at 16133 Ventura Blvd., Suite 1045, in Encino, CA 91436. Call (818) 772-1048 to schedule an appointment.
Brush ’em if ya got ’em.
~The Anti-Aging Analyst