Thursday, March 21, 2013

Unlocking the Mysteries of Zoom! Smile Brightening

It's one thing to tell our clients that Zoom! is a heat sensitive tooth whitening system. It's another to tell them that it uses a special whitening gel to make your teeth bleachy-keen in a matter of hours. But it doesn't really answer the burning question; what the heck is all that chemical and intense light power actually doing inside your mouth? Here's where you'll get your answer.

The Gel

The whitening gel is actually a mixture of hydrogen peroxide -- yep, the same stuff you buy at the drug store -- in a viscous fluid. It's designed to remain stable at room temperature, but to become reactive as it gets hotter. As it gets hotter, the hydrogen molecules break away from the oxygen forcefully, driving the oxygen molecules into and through the stains that sit atop your tooth enamel. It's actually much like using OxyClean, but instead of activating with water, it activates when hot.

The oxygen molecules are much smaller than the complex molecules that make up biological stains, and act like a tiny chemical sandblaster, with thousands of oxygen molecules pushed at a high rate of speed (at least, on a molecular scale) into the stain. They literally shatter the stain's molecules and separate them from the tooth enamel. The enamel, on the other hand, is dense enough and strong enough to withstand the oxygen barrage with zero noticeable damage.

Light Activation

The light activator, while it gets all the credit, is actually the least interesting part of the whole setup -- its function is to heat up the gel quickly and thoroughly without burning your lips or gums. In other systems, green intense lights are used to accomplish this goal (green being the type of light your tissues are least sensitive to), but in Zoom!, the light combined with chemical activation is much like the heat coming from your Nu-Wave oven. That makes it stronger than its competition, but requires that the dentist put a protective covering over your gums before turning the intense light on your teeth.

And that's that -- Zoom! is a mystery no longer.

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