Definition & Overview

Zoom whitening is the process of lightening discoloured teeth with the use of a specialised lamp. It is considered one of the fastest procedures in enhancing the appearance of teeth.

There are a lot of causes of discoloured teeth, such as:

  • Drinking coffee and tea for a long time
  • Smoking, which is a leading cause of yellowed teeth
  • Taking medications for a long time
  • Certain diseases
  • Simple neglect of dental hygiene, like inadequate brushing and flossing

Interestingly, even the consumption of fluoride in large amount during early childhood can also cause the formation of white or brown spots in teeth.

People with discoloured teeth may try over-the-counter tooth whitening products, which are relatively inexpensive and may prove effective after several months of use. However, those who are looking for quick results may opt to visit a dental office to obtain their desired results in just an hour or so.

Zoom whitening is a proprietary process that uses the Zoom Advanced Power Chairside Lamp, a device owned and trademarked by Phillips.

Who Should Undergo and Expected Results

People with persistent yellow or brown tooth discolouration can take advantage of the Zoom whitening technique to make their teeth cleaner and whiter, especially those who have tried other whitening products and got no satisfactory results. Patients whose teeth were discoloured due to prolonged antibiotic use or fluorosis may also be advised to try this whitening procedure.

In some cases, people who are planning to undergo cosmetic and restorative dental procedures may be advised to have their teeth whitened first. This technique is a good option to ensure that the colour of the natural teeth will match dental prostheses such as dentures, crown, veneers, and dental bridges.

Zoom whitening is not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women and dental patients who are 13 years old and below.

Because of its fast results, this whitening technique has high satisfaction rate. It is considered a relatively safe procedure, performed in a dental office setting by a cosmetic dentist. The technique does not only promise immediate results but can also remove even the most persistent stains and discolouration.

How is the Procedure Performed?

Before Zoom whitening is started, most patients are advised to undergo dental cleaning procedures first and to decide on the target shade. The patient’s lips and gums are then covered to make sure only the teeth are exposed to the light. Cheek retractors and cotton balls are placed inside the oral cavity to keep it open. A specially formulated hydrogen peroxide gel is then applied to the teeth surface and the proprietary lamp is activated with its light directed onto the teeth. The light emitted from the lamp acts on the hydrogen peroxide gel to break it down. The thin layer covering the teeth, called the pellicle, is also dissolved. Oxygen is then released and enters the enamel and underlying dentin layer of the teeth to bleach out any staining substances and visibly whitens the teeth. This process lasts for about 15 minutes and the lamp is turned off. The dentist then removes the gel cover and applies a fresh coat of hydrogen peroxide gel. The light is redirected to the teeth to continue the bleaching process. The whole procedure is repeated for three times and the total treatment time is around 45 minutes to an hour. Afterwards, a special fluoride gel is applied to the teeth to minimise sensitivity. Patients are also given a take-home kit for proper care and maintenance of their teeth and are advised to avoid food and drinks that cause teeth staining as well as to refrain from smoking and maintain adequate dental hygiene habit.

Possible Risks and Complications

Some people with sensitive teeth may feel a little pain or tingling sensation during the procedure. Most of the sensitivity is caused by the light emitted by the specialised lamp. A number of patients also report sensitivity lasting for hours after the Zoom whitening procedure.

In some cases, people with strong gag reflex may find the procedure uncomfortable and may not be able to complete it.

There are also reports of tingling sensation felt even after the session. This normally resolves itself after a few hours.


  • Antoniadou M, Koniaris A, Margaritis V, Kakaboura A. Tooth whitening efficacy of self-directed whitening agents vs 10% carbamide peroxide:a randomized clinical study. J Dent Oral Craniofac Res 2015;1(2):31-35 (doi 10.15761/DOCR.1000107).

  • Valera, Marcia Carneiro; Camargo, Carlos Henrique Ribeiro; Carvalho, Cláudio Antonio Talge; Oliveira, Luciane Dias de; Camargo, Samira Esteves Afonso; Rodrigues, Cristiana Martins. "Effectiveness of carbamide peroxide and sodium perborate in non-vital discolored teeth". Journal of Applied Oral Science 17 (3): 254–261. doi:10.1590/S1678-77572009000300024.

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