Sparkling Smiles – Zoom, Strips and Gels

Everyone wants a white, sparkling smile. Almost everyone thinks the smile in the mirror can be improved. But you can over-improve your smile. “You want to have natural-looking teeth,” says Dr. Carol Ford. “You don’t want super-white, large teeth if that isn’t what suits your mouth. And having your teeth whitened means upkeep. When you choose the method, you choose the upkeep, too,” she adds.

White teeth take time. And there are different choices. “But there are advantages and disadvantages with each whitening choice, and you should ask good questions,” says Dr. Carol Ford.

If time and speed are your priorities, the Zoom method is fast—it takes about two hours. If you choose the Zoom system, the dentist protects your gums with a hardening gel, then paints a bleach solution over your teeth. An ultraviolet light shines on your teeth to brighten them. Eyes are protected with special glasses sunscreen is used to protect lips. There are a number (usually three) short sessions. Between each session, the dentist re-applies the bleach solution and checks the UV-protection. Two hours later, your teeth should be noticeably brighter.

“While it’s fast, it’s good to remember that not all teeth whiten at the same rate. Crowns, teeth with a lot of filling, teeth that are initially very stained, won’t suddenly be perfectly, evenly white,” Dr. Ford cautions. “We discuss the procedure with every client so they know what to expect,” Dr. Ford says. Dr. Ford helps patients understand that tooth whitening can result in temporary tooth sensitivity. “I can’t predict how long it will last, but if you already have sensitive teeth, it may last longer than if you don’t,” she cautions.

Patients can also explore at-home whitening. “You will spend about $500 for gels and kits,” says Dr. Ford. “It’s important to follow directions, and you will have to expect upkeep—repeating the process,” she adds. Teeth don’t stay bleached because everyone eats and drinks foods that stain teeth—coffee, tea, red wine, blueberries. But most people see a satisfying difference.

If you are young and have good teeth, the home kit of Crest Whitestrips® hold on the best and work the best for a fast, home product. “Younger people have the best results with over the counter products. But even with these easy strips, a patient can expect upkeep—doing it again over time, “ Dr. Ford cautions.

“You can do a lot for your smile just by keeping your gums healthy and your teeth clean,” Dr. Ford says,  “that’s a great start already.”


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