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What is Zoom Teeth Whitening?

Zoom is a popular professional teeth whitening treatment, which means it is completed in-office by a licensed dentist. This chairside treatment can whiten teeth up to eight shades after one or two sessions. It is also FDA-approved and takes one hour to complete. 

Zoom Logo

Professional whitening treatments like Zoom are more effective than over-the-counter products in terms of speed and degree of whitening achieved.3,4,5

Zoom is very effective because dentists are qualified to use higher concentrations of hydrogen and carbamide peroxide than over-the-counter (OTC) products. OTC teeth whitening treatments contain between 5 and 10 percent hydrogen peroxide, while Zoom contains 25 percent hydrogen peroxide. 

Who is a Candidate for Zoom Whitening?

You may be a candidate for Zoom whitening if you:

  • Have extrinsic tooth discoloration, which is caused by consuming dark-pigmented foods and drinks like coffee, tea, red wine, dark berries, and tomato sauce. Poor oral hygiene and tobacco products can also cause this type of discoloration.6
  • Have intrinsic tooth discoloration, which refers to deeper staining. Natural aging, certain medications like tetracycline, and tooth defects/injuries can cause intrinsic stains.6
  • Are not pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
  • Do not have untreated dental conditions like cavities, gum disease, exposed tooth roots, or worn down enamel. 
  • Do not have braces on your teeth.
  • Do not have veneers or crowns on your teeth (they don’t whiten).

How Does Zoom Whitening Work?

Zoom treatment is quick and straightforward. The process consists of the following steps:

Consultation and Planning 

To determine if Zoom whitening is right for you, you’ll need to set up an appointment with your local dentist. During this consultation, they will ask you some questions about your lifestyle and oral hygiene habits. Then they’ll perform a detailed examination to ensure you don’t have cavities, worn down enamel, exposed roots, or gum disease. 

Also, let your dentist know if you plan to get veneers or bonding treatment, which will alter the shade of your teeth. They can try to match your teeth to the desired shade of the dental restoration. 

Zoom whitening is safe to use on crowns, veneers, fillings, and other dental restorations. But they will not whiten like your natural teeth.

Zoom Procedure: Step-By-Step

In general, Zoom whitening treatment includes six steps:

  1. Before the procedure, the dentist will cover your gums and lips, leaving only your teeth exposed. 
  2. Then they will apply the Zoom whitening gel, which contains 25 percent hydrogen peroxide, directly to your teeth. 
  3. After the gel is applied, they’ll use a specially designed Zoom light that helps speed up the teeth whitening process. Together, the gel and light remove surface stains by penetrating deep into your tooth enamel. 
  4. More gel is applied every 15 minutes, and the entire procedure takes 45 minutes to an hour to complete. 
  5. Once the procedure is done, your dentist will rinse the whitening gel off your teeth and apply a fluoride-based gel to reduce any sensitivity. 
  6. The results last between 6 months and a year with proper care. You can set up retouch appointments during routine dental exams. 

If you have a strong gag reflex or anxiety, it may be difficult to undergo the entire procedure. Talk with your dentist beforehand to make sure Zoom is right for you. 

Aftercare Tips

Your dentist will provide you with an at-home retouch kit after your Zoom whitening session. This kit includes custom-fitted whitening trays, hydrogen peroxide gel, and instructions. Your dentist will let you know how often to use the kit to keep your teeth bright.

In addition to the retouch kit, you can keep your teeth white longer by limiting your intake of staining foods and drinks. This includes coffee, tea, red wine, and dark soda, among others. Tobacco and poor oral hygiene can also cause tooth discoloration over time. 

Side Effects of Professional Teeth Whitening

The main downside of whitening treatment is that it can cause sensitive teeth. This side effect is generally mild and does not increase your risk of oral health issues. 

In rarer cases, you may experience gum irritation.4 However, the risk is low with in-office treatment because your dentist will cover your gums before placing the gel on your teeth. 

Enamel damage can also occur after repeated whitening treatments.4 Since Zoom can lighten teeth up to eight shades in one visit; many patients only require one or two sessions to achieve the results they are looking for. This reduces the risk of enamel damage, but it is still possible. 

How Much Does Zoom Cost?

Zoom teeth whitening costs $500 to $1,500 per treatment.

It is not covered by dental insurance because the procedure is cosmetic (not medically necessary).

Pros of Zoom Teeth Whitening

The advantages of Zoom include:

  • You’ll notice changes in tooth color right away (up to eight shades lighter after one or two sessions)
  • Treatment only takes 45 minutes to an hour 
  • Whitening results last up to a year with proper care
  • A dentist performs the entire treatment for you 
  • Less risk of gum irritation and enamel damage 
  • You’ll receive an at-home retouch kit to keep your teeth white in between appointments
  • You can set up whitening treatment sessions during routine dental exams

Cons of Zoom Teeth Whitening 

The disadvantages of Zoom include:

  • Treatment is expensive (up to $1,500 per session) 
  • Temporary tooth sensitivity is common
  • In-office treatment is required

Zoom Whitening Alternatives

Here are some alternatives to Zoom whitening: 

Zoom vs. Opalescence

Opalescence Boost is another in-office whitening procedure that uses a chemically activated gel to whiten teeth within an hour. Unlike Zoom, this treatment does not involve using a light to speed up the whitening process.

opalescence boost logo

Opalescence also uses a higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide than Zoom. This can result in quicker results but may cause more sensitivity. 

Opalescence is also cheaper than Zoom (around $500 per treatment). 

Zoom vs. KöR 

KöR whitening uses a refrigerated, high-potency gel. This gel is combined with a scientifically designed application system to deliver a visibly whiter smile after just one use. KöR also claims to provide less sensitivity than Zoom.

KoR Whitening logo

KöR is slightly cheaper than Zoom. Treatment costs between $500 and $1,000.

Zoom vs. Sapphire 

Sapphire is very similar to Zoom in terms of procedure steps, treatment length, and results. Like Zoom, your dentist will provide you with a touch-up kit to use at home. Sapphire is also cheaper than Zoom (around $500 per treatment).

sapphire whitening system logo

Zoom vs. At-Home Whitening Kits

Professional whitening treatment is more effective than at-home whitening kits. However, many people opt for over-the-counter whitening products because they are less expensive ($20 to $200). 

At-home products like whitening strips and LED kits take longer to see results. Consistent use is necessary to maintain brightness.

Last updated on April 25, 2022
8 Sources Cited
Last updated on April 25, 2022
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. Carey, Clifton M. “Tooth whitening: what we now know.” The journal of evidence-based dental practice vol. 14 Suppl : 70-6.
  2. Markowitz, Kenneth. “Pretty Painful: Why Does Tooth Bleaching Hurt?” Medical Hypotheses, vol. 74, no. 5, 2010, pp. 835–840.
  3. Eimar, Hazem, et al. “Hydrogen Peroxide Whitens Teeth by Oxidizing the Organic Structure.” Journal of Dentistry, Elsevier, 24 Aug. 2012
  4. Basting, RT, et al. “Clinical Comparative Study of the Effectiveness of and Tooth Sensitivity to 10% and 20% Carbamide Peroxide Home-Use and 35% and 38% Hydrogen Peroxide In-Office Bleaching Materials Containing Desensitizing Agents.” Operative Dentistry, Allen Press, 1 Sept. 2012.
  5. Fiorillo, Luca, et al. “Dental Whitening Gels: Strengths and Weaknesses of an Increasingly Used Method.” Gels (Basel, Switzerland), MDPI, 4 July 2019.
  6. Tooth Discoloration: Causes, Treatment & Prevention.” Cleveland Clinic.
  7. How Does KöR Whitening Work?” KöR Whitening, 15 Jan. 2019
  8. Opalescence Teeth Whitening.” Opalescence.
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