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Your questions about teeth whitening answered
Top practitioner (AKA @toothsairysa) takes your questions
Teeth whitening is not just for supermodels and reality TV stars, and the result doesn’t have to look artificial or damage your teeth. Having a bright smile can really boost your confidence.
Lots of people have their teeth whitened in time for their wedding, for example, says Emma King, head of marketing at Zoom Whitening, one of the best and safest products for the in-chair procedure. Emma (AKA @toothfairysa) who is also a practitioner, answers your top teeth whitening questions.
WHAT KIND OF CLIENTS DO YOU SEE?
Everyone. Divorcees getting back on the dating scene and professionals in the job market and going for interviews. Businesspeople, who say it gives them that subtle freshness. Yes, Zoom Whitening has been used by people such as Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi and SA actors Siv Ngesi, presenter Leigh-Anne Williams and more and more by people just wanting to improve their smiles.
“Whiter teeth make you look younger and healthier. It makes the irregularities in the mouth, like crowding, seem less obvious,” explains Emma.
IS IT SAFE FOR MY TEETH, AND PAINLESS?
Yes, always go the professional bleaching route, though, says Emma. Zoom Whitening is approved by International Dental Associations, so it’s safe, says Emma. The in-chair procedure is non-invasive and virtually painless. We all have nerves in our teeth that could get stimulated by the bleaching process. The more wear and tear you have on your teeth the more chance you have of experiencing some sensitivity, but this can also be prevented and addressed by your clinician, and it's only temporary.
Zoom Whitening is also the No.1 patient-requested professional whitening brand in the U.S, and it is an increasingly popular choice in South Africa too. The entire process is geared towards health, safety and comfort. You’ll have a consultation with an oral hygienist or dentist before your whitening session to determine the health of your teeth and gums.
WHAT ABOUT MY GUMS AND LIPS?
Vitamin E oil is placed on your lips before placing the cheek retractor, and the gums and any areas that may possibly cause sensitivity on the teeth are covered by a special block out material.
Also, Zoom products contain Relief ACP (amorphous calcium phosphate), which means they actually give you greater lustre and protect your enamel. “If a person achieves maximum whitening result and continues to just keep on bleaching for weeks on end, that’s when you can cause damage,” says Emma.
WHY SHOULD WE GO THE PRO ROUTE?
A professional will assess the condition of your teeth and work out a treatment plan specifically for you. “I offer free whitening consultations so I can assess the health of the teeth and gums and decide on a treatment plan that works best for both the patient and their teeth. This will help to ensure we achieve maximum whiteness with as little sensitivity as possible,” says Emma. “It’s essential to make sure the teeth are cavity free and the gums are healthy before starting the bleaching process, so a thorough check up is also advised"
In Cape Town, from Blouberg to Noordhoek and Green Point to Stellenbosch, there are over 30 dentists that offer in-chair Zoom Whitening treatments. Find the practice closest to you on the website.
EXACTLY HOW DOES ZOOM WHITENING WORK?
Zoom professional whitening products change the internal colour of your teeth using a hydrogen peroxide gel, which is antibacterial and contains desensitising and remineralising ingredients. It’s applied as an alkaline gel and not an acid, meaning there’s no damage to the teeth.
Once the gel is applied, a special blue LED light is placed over the teeth, accelerating the bleaching process. It can achieve a shade up to eight times whiter in just 45 minutes to an hour.
If you are worried about sensitivity, the dentist can adapt the treatment. “I don’t like a one-size-fits-all approach,” says Emma. “If people are worried about the sensitivity, they can ask to divide up the sessions.”
CAN A HOME KIT DO THE SAME THING?
Over-the-counter and non-approved, home-whitening products can remove surface stains, but in the long run damage your teeth, explains Emma.
“These products are usually very acidic and abrasive and can cause severe damage to the teeth and gums,” she explains, “but the Zoom professional whitening products change the internal colour using the hydrogen peroxide alkaline gel”
Zoom products change the internal colour using the hydrogen peroxide alkaline gel. Image: Zoom Whitening
WHAT IS THE STEP-BY-STEP IN-CHAIR PROCEDURE?
The in-chair procedure takes approximately an hour, in anything from one to four 15-minute sessions of bleaching. Impressions of your mouth are made for custom bleaching trays to use at home immediately after the in-chair procedure, and for maintenance once a month.
Emma does her best to prevent sensitivity afterwards by dividing the full procedure up into two in-chair appointments, but you could definitely do more than that in one day, she says.
ARE THERE ANY SIDE-EFFECTS?
A little sensitivity would be the only negative side effect you should experience but it's usually just for a few hours. Otherwise, everything else is positive! Emma says there are additional health benefits as the hydrogen peroxide is antibacterial.
Besides boosting self-esteem thanks to having a smile to be proud of, Emma says people also tend to look after their teeth better following a treatment: they brush them more diligently and come in for more regular check-ups. “So overall, it’s an amazing improvement in your oral health,” says Emma.
ISN’T IT EXPENSIVE + ONLY FOR STARS?
When you look at it as a lifetime investment on your oral health and aesthetic, no.
Philips Zoom Whitening LED Light treatment prices range from R5 500 to about R7500 depending on what the clinician includes. Zoom also has affordable professional take-home options which you can discuss with your dentist, and have the ability to achieve the same results as the in chair, but just take much longer. The home bleaching kit is also essential to use as a monthly maintenance to keep the teeth looking their best for years.
IS THERE A GOOD AFTER-CARE PLAN?
Definitely – you get white teeth for life. The majority of the Cape Town dentists offer the Philips Zoom Endless Whitening Program: if you book and pay for a full in-chair whitening, you’ll get three free whitening syringes plus free customised take-home bleaching trays at your first appointment. Visit the same dentist or hygienist every six months for a cleaning or check-up and in return for your commitment, they will keep your teeth healthy and white for life by giving you 1 free syringe at each six month visit.
FOR FURTHER READING
Want to know more about the benefits of Philip Zoom Whitening? You’ve done your teeth, but you’d love to treat yourself a full luxe treatment. Try these spas. If you’re interested in seeing wildlife and the Big Five, you don’t have to go too far.
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