woman smiles at dentist

How Does Teeth Whitening Work?

Team Cosmetic Dentistry, Teeth Whitening

There are many ways to brighten a smile, from bleaching to bonding and veneers. If you’re considering Zoom whitening treatments, you may be wondering how they work. Can you really get a dramatically whiter smile in a single day? Does the specialized light actually work to enhance the results? We’ve got the answers about how teeth whitening works below.

Zoom Teeth Whitening: The Basics

Zoom teeth whitening treatments can brighten your teeth by up to eight shades in a single session that lasts under an hour. These treatments are non-invasive and don’t require any local anesthesia—in fact, most patients don’t experience any discomfort at all, and those who do only have mild sensitivity.

The Zoom whitening process begins by cleaning your teeth to ensure that the bleaching agent can penetrate the enamel. Your gums are protected to prevent irritation and the whitening gel is applied directly to your teeth. As the gel sits, it is absorbed into the enamel layer and then the dentin underneath. The hydrogen peroxide in the gel bleaches away stains because it acts as a catalyst for oxidation. Just like when you use an oxygen brightener on your laundry, the oxidation during teeth whitening breaks down the molecular bonds of the stains on your teeth, making them disappear.

Both in-office and take-home Zoom whitening work this way, but in-office Zoom has an added step: a blue LED light.

Zoom LED Technology

An LED, or light-emitting diode, releases a single color of light—in this case, blue—when it’s turned on. Exposing the whitening gel to LED light speeds up the oxidation reaction that brightens your smile, enhancing your results. Although the bleaching agent is effective without the LED light, adding this extra step removes more stains. 

You may have seen teeth whitening kits online that come with a light and wondered if they’re the same as the Zoom whitening treatment we perform in our office. The answer is no—Zoom uses a stronger bleaching solution to yield better results, and the LED light is of a higher quality.

Maintaining Your Results

Another question many patients have is how long they can expect their teeth whitening results to last. The answer is: as long as you maintain them! If you’re careful to avoid foods and beverages that stain—or, at least, brush or rinse after having them—and practice good oral hygiene habits, you can expect your teeth to remain brighter for a few years. If, on the other hand, you return to the habits that caused your stains in the first place, your results won’t last as long.

To maximize the longevity of your whitening treatment, we recommend using a take-home whitening kit for touch-ups as needed. Doing so will allow you to go longer between in-office treatments.

Learn More About Teeth Whitening

Are you considering professional teeth whitening? Wondering whether you should choose in-office whitening treatments or a take-home kit? Contact us today at 856-783-3777 to schedule an appointment for a consultation with one of our dentists.