I went through the Zoom whitening process 2 weeks ago. I sat in the dental chair for over an hour. It looked great when I left, but now I can’t notice any difference. I paid quite a bit of money for the procedure, but feel mislead. What should I do?

I would like to explain how teeth stain and the different options in whitening before directly answering your question about the Power Whitening.

Over time, your teeth darken as minerals penetrate their outer enamel layer. This darkening can be caused by foods and beverages that stain, such as coffee, colas, tea, red wine or berries. Tobacco products, like cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco, can cause teeth to take on a yellowish brown hue. And the natural aging process can also cause your teeth to darken.

The bleaching process gently forces oxygen through the minute cracks in the enamel of the teeth. There are a few active ingredients that cause the teeth to whiten: They are carbonmide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. They all come in different concentrations and different delivery systems. The longer the teeth are in contact with a higher concentration of bleaching agent the whiter the teeth will become. Of course if they are in contact too long or the concentration of the agent is too strong the teeth will become sensitive to cold or heat. This side effect is short term and will go away soon after the whitening is completed. When professionally administered, fluoride or other desensitizing agents can be used with the whitening.

Since whitening agents are considered cosmetic and not drugs they are not regulated by the FDA and have for many years been available to you, the consumer over the counter. The pharmacy aisle is packed with all sorts of whitening agents and it can be very confusing. You can see it in toothpastes, strips, bush on gels, and in “one size fits all” mouth trays. The problem with these systems is that they can be unsafe and cause tooth/gum pain because they are not monitored by a dental professional. If the material stays on the gums during the whitening they can cause great discomfort. Also, the strips only cover the front 6 teeth and if your teeth are not in perfect alignment the gel will not penetrate the overlapped areas leading to uneven whitening.

There are two delivery systems that you will find at the dentist: Either home whitening or power whitening. With home whitening we take impressions of your teeth and make a custom rubber form to accurately fit your teeth. The tray is accurately trimmed to not allow the bleaching material to contact your gums. If it is improperly trimmed, the gel will overflow on the gums and irritate them. The accuracy of the fit is what makes the whitening the most effective because it keeps the bleaching gel in a very close contact with the teeth. This is where the strips and the “over the counter” products fail. You can wear the trays at night or during the day. Once again the longer they are worn the most effective the result will be.

You had the Zoom power whitening done. This uses a very strong concentration of agent, but is contact with the teeth for a very short period of time. The Zoom gives an instant result but must be followed up with home whitening or you will be disappointed. If you fail to follow up with home whitening the teeth will almost always resort back to their original color. The reason is because what I have previously described. It requires time for the result to be long term. The hour or so during the power whitening session in not long enough for the oxidization to take place. I hope this answers your question.

I want to thank you all for the opportunity to present the information that I feel is relevant. Please e-mail me at or call me at our Shelby Twp. office at (586) 247-3500 if you have any questions or comments.

We are also very excited about our new high tech office in Shelby and our new digital panorex x-ray machine which uses 50% of the radiation that the film units require.

As a reminder, we are sponsoring the “Good Deed Contest” to win a computer for children 18 and younger. They can submit an essay to about something they did that was good. You can call us for more information.