Let me start by saying that the results of my Zoom whitening treatment were excellent. My teeth, which were starting to appear more than a little jaundiced after many, many cups of coffee over the years, are now a solid two shades whiter. So I guess it was worth it?
But oh my god, it was miserable while it was happening.
What Zoom is, according to a handy description I found on a dentistry website:
The Zoom in-office tooth whitening procedure uses the Zoom Advanced Power Chairside Lamp – said to accelerate the bleaching process – to activate the 25 percent hydrogen peroxide whitening. As the hydrogen peroxide is broken down, oxygen enters the enamel and dentin to bleach the stained substances, leaving the structure of the tooth unchanged.
Here’s what happens with Zoom: First, the technician inserts a very large plastic thing in your mouth that stretches out your lips in every direction. It is as attractive as it sounds. At this point, you may wonder whether you will choke. Your technician will tell you to not think about that, which will immediately make you think about it. You will do Zen breaths.
Next, the technician will tuck a whole bunch of material (cotton, maybe?) in between the plastic thing and your gums, to protect them from the chemicals she’s about to put on your teeth. She’ll spray the cotton with something that makes it stiff, so it stays in place. This is not fun, but also not the worst (so long as you follow that helpful advice to “not think about choking”).
Then the chemical solution goes on, and the fun begins. You put on sunglasses, and get hooked up to a machine that directs blue light directly at your teeth. And then you sit still. For TWO HOURS.
Now, I brought my computer with me so I could catch up on the finale of The Bachelorette, so I wasn’t short on entertainment (oh Blake, oh my heart), and the first half hour or so was okay, if not exactly comfortable, but around the hour mark it took a turn for the worse. The blue light thingy was pressing down on my mouth, so I had to keep my teeth kinda clamped down on the plastic thing, which started to be exhausting, and the chemicals started to make my teeth feel sensitive. Every fifteen minutes or so the technician came in to apply more solution and check on me, but by the last time she came in, fifteen minutes before the treatment was supposed to end, I was done. The chemicals had gotten onto the roof of my mouth somehow, and it was burning, and my throat was burning from being so dry, and my teeth were miserably and achy, and, like I said: done.
So…not fun. But more or less tolerable (until the end), and, like I said, the results were pretty great. And it wasn’t even that pricey, thanks to a Groupon I purchased awhile back – just $130.
The worst part, though, I haven’t gotten to yet.
It is TERRIBLE.
Because you see, when you get a whitening treatment, you know what you are not allowed to do for 48 hours, and ideally for two entire weeks?
And did I completely forget this rule when I woke up this morning? Of course I did.
Grade: B+ for results, C for experience, F for caffeine deprivation.