Created on 14th July 2010
Every issue we send a journalist to try out the latest procedure and treatments on the market.
A smile can make all the difference. No matter how attractive you are, if your canines are stained or yellowing it can ruin your appearance. So when I heard about the Zoom 3 tooth whitening system, I decided it was time to lighten up. After years as a smoker, red wine and coffee drinker, my teeth were paying the price. I called the friendly receptionist, and was given an appointment the following week.
Upon arrival, I was offered a drink and given a set of paperwork to fill out, explaining how the procedure works and detailing side effects. There is a risk of discomfort, courtesy of ‘zingers’ – small shooting pains through the teeth – and dark-coloured substances such as red wine, tomato ketchup or tobacco are banned for 48 hours, to prevent you from undoing the dentist’s hard work.
After signing a disclaimer to say that I understood what the procedure entailed, and picking a film to watch during the treatment, I was introduced to my dentist, Dr Thang Ngheim. Polite and charming, he talked me through the procedure, explaining that my mouth would be filled with gauze to protect the soft tissue from the UV rays, a bleaching paste would be applied to my teeth and UV rays would be used for fifteen minutes to enhance the brightening effect. The paste would be removed, a second batch applied, then I’d have another fifteen minute burst of UV rays. The paste would be removed again and, if I wanted, a third application of paste would be applied, to be followed by a final burst of UV rays. The teeth would then be coated in a rehydrating gel.
The entire process would take up to 150 minutes. Dr Ngheim said that results weren’t guaranteed, and any fillings I had wouldn’t be affected by the bleach. However, the treatment was known to lighten teeth by up to six shades so there was a good chance that my smile would sparkle. I was given numerous opportunities to ask questions and got into the dental chair feeling confident that I knew all that I needed to.
Dr Ngheim cleaned my teeth then inserted a plastic device into my mouth to hold it open. After taking a photograph so that I’d be able to compare ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures, he filled my mouth with gauze. Although it wasn’t pleasurable, it wasn’t uncomfortable and, as I got used to the feeling, it became oddly relaxing. A dental hygienist covered my face in sunblock to protect me from sunburn, then the first gel treatment was applied. I felt a mild tingle but, as the whitening machine was turned on, and a nurse slipped a pair of DVD glasses over my eyes so that I could watch the film, I felt pampered rather than pained. I’d prepared myself for the worst and was expecting ‘zingers’ from the outset but there were only one or two mild twinges before a bell rang and the first bout was over.
Dr Ngheim applied the second coating of gel and it was time for round two. The first ten minutes were comfortable, but as the bell rang to indicate there were three minutes remaining, I had an intense burst of zingers. The dental hygienist checked that I was OK, which helped alleviate my nerves. However, I decided that I’d stick to two blasts of UV rather than three: the gel had worked its wonders so there was no need for me to risk further zingers. OK, so I’m a coward with sensitive teeth.
Dr Ngheim applied the rehydrating gel and I was done. When he showed me my ‘new’ teeth, I was amazed. My smile had gone from yellowing to ‘naturally’ white. There was minimal sensitivity after the treatment and I felt annoyed that I’d waited so long to have it done. I’d wanted an ‘Ultrasmile’ for years and, after only two hours, my dream had come true.
Facts and Figures
Treatment: Zoom 3
Time taken: 150 minutes
Hospital stay: N/A
Available from: http://www.ultrasmile.co.uk, 08452 300 800