When we think about aging, its usually about lines and wrinkles. But aging is more, much more. And one of the most overlooked signs of aging is yellowed teeth. Years of strong coffee, red wine, cigarettes and just plain time will turn youthful white teeth dark and less attractive. That’s the bad news. The good news? Its really safe and easy to bring back the white.
My teeth are in pretty good shape with no breaks, spaces or odd shapes. But my love of strong tea and coffee had left their mark. Despite regular cleanings ,my teeth were definately yellowed. Over the years I have tried those sticky strips you can buy in the drugstore, but the results were not wonderful. I decided to get serious and try a professional tooth whitening procedure called Zoom.
The Zoom process has three steps:
Step 1: The dentist takes an impression of the teeth to make a custom fitted bleaching tray. Rather than simply a curved plastic mouth piece, a custom tray actually matches the shape and size of each tooth.
Step2: The in-office bleaching process that takes about an hour. Basically the teeth are coated with a bleaching compound and the Zoom light is aimed at the mouth to activate and help absorption of the bleaching ingredients.
Step 3: Weekly home use of the bleaching tray which is needed to maintain the new white gleam.
When I sat down in the dentists chair for my Zoom encounter, the technician gave me plastic mouth retractors to expose my teeth and then applied a protective coating to my lips and gums. She then gave me a pair of goggles, painted the bleaching material on the teeth, and aimed the light at my mouth. It was not the most comfortable position, but quite bearable. Toward the end of the first half hour I was told to expect ‘zingers’– sharp quick pains in the teeth. I soon felt them- not fun, but not serious.
After about 45 minutes, the technician decided that I had lightened enough. The mouth paraphenalia was removed, and the bleaching compound was rinsed off. When I looked in the mirror, I was thrilled at the results. My teeth looked white, luminous and youthful. I couldn’t stop smiling.
My amazing dentist, Dr Finkel told me to avoid coffe, tea, red wine and all red foods for three days and to expect periodic zingers. The first night zingers kept waking me up, but had stopped by morning. Breakfast was confusing since I could not drink tea or coffee. Since I am one of those New Yorkers who seem to have a Starbucks surgically attached to my hand, the ban on caffeine products was the hardest part of the experience. My usual breakfast ( scooped out toasted bagel with fat-free cream cheese) was not the same with a bottle of water.
To keep up my beautiful new color, I need to use the home kit once a week. In addition to the tray I went home with three plastic syringes filled with bleaching compound. To use the tray, I squeeze out a tiny dab of bleaching cream into each tooth shape on the tray and position it in my mouth. After one hour, I remove the tray and brush off the remaining bleach.
On Monday I’m uploading before and after pix of my Zoom- treated teeth and will post the costs, what kinds of teeth get the best results, and who should not use it.