ZOOM or impending Gloom...

They all said it, the Dentist, Orthodontist, and Oral Surgeon. Go get "Zoomed" after your braces are off. I've since learned that not every one is familiar with the Zoom.  (Find a full description at the end of this post.)

This seemed like a logical step, right?  It is expensive, normal cost is around $400.00. I found a dentist offering a groupon for $150.00 So with great anticipation I booked my appointment. Everything seemed fine, My teeth were prepped and the light inserted to start round 1 of the 15 min. session. I should have clued in when i was given a bell to ring, if there was any "discomfort." The first "Zinger" hit me at aprox. 14.5 min. into the session. I almost jumped out of the chair, sending the lamp flying out of my mouth towards the window. With great vigor, I rang that bell. The dental assistant rushed over, and asked if I was in pain. I pointed to the tooth that had a shooting pain, and she applied some more goop of some kind. (I couldn't speak with a large plastic appliance in my mouth that was exposing my teeth.) She then hooked everything back up and started round two.  I think i went for 2 minutes, and then they came like machine gun fire in my mouth. Tooth after tooth had shooting nerve pain. I rang the bell, and removed the lamp. I asked the assistant to remove the appliance and get me out of this torture device. The dentist came to my chamber of despair to have a "chat." He said that I was the 8th person in 1000, who rang the bell in round one!  I told him that I consider myself to be a tough girl. I explained my double jaw surgery, and braces, and told him that this process felt medieval. I told him I was not a fan and asked to be excused as the air entering my mouth continued sending zingers to my brain. I was full of regret, and the assistant tried to reassure me, she said that my teeth did look whiter so it was not a total loss, and then proceeded to try and sell me on bleach trays! SERIOUSLY.. Im going out of my mind with zinging nerve pain, the last thing i would ever consider at this point is more of the same. I said "no thanks" Ill use crest white strips if i ever need touch up. She continued to push me to BUY bleach trays, but I politely asked to be shown the way to the front door. 

The zingers continued all day. If I kept my mouth shut, it helped. By early that evening, the nerve pain subsided, and then the infamous ache snuck in from behind to replace the random shooting pains. The rest of the night, My teeth hurt so bad.  I have never had that kind of aching pain before.  The good news, when I woke up the next morning, I felt normal again. I have not had any pain or sensitivity since. WHEW!!! 

In fairness, I feel like I need to mention again, that I fall into a small percentage of people who have this severe reaction. If you are a person that can sit through all three sessions pain free, I say go for it! The results are fantastic if your teeth are not wimpy and sensitive like mine.  My recommendation would be to try the bleach trays. If they have no effect on your teeth, you may survive Zoom. If your teeth are at all sensitive, I suggest avoiding it all together. 

I think my teeth look a little bit whiter, but they were never discolored to begin with. This was not worth it for me, not a procedure I would ever do again. But I am in that "odd group." 

"Zoom is a bleaching process widely used throughout the country and around the world to lighten discoloration of enamel and dentin. Tooth discoloration may result from drinking coffee, tea, cola and red wine; or from smoking. The aging process also can stain and darken your teeth.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. the procedure begins with a short preparation to cover the lips and gums, leaving the teeth exposed. The dentist or dental assistant then applies the Zoom hydrogen peroxide whitening gel, which works together with the Zoom light to penetrate the teeth and break up the stains and discoloration.The gel remains in place for 15 minutes while the light is activated. During this time, you can relax, watch TV or listen to music.The gel is applied for three 15-minute sessions of light activation, for a total treatment time of 45 minutes. Individuals with a strong gag reflex or anxiety may have difficulty undergoing the entire procedure."


  1. I had a very similar experience about 10 years ago. It was truly torture! I made it to round 3, but was in SEVERE pain the rest of day and into the night... THE WORST! I've been told that using sensodyne toothpaste for two weeks prior to bleaching helps. But not sure if I want to test that out!

  2. Your teeth look waaaay white by the way!!

    I don't believe the 8 in 1000 stat! Me and my sister both cannot even tolerate Crest White Strips.

    I got Zoom once and I afterwards, I called the dentist desperately begging for pain meds, like a crazy loon. I was in sooooo much pain.

    Even if I use Crest White Strips, I can only use the low dose ones for a short amount of time and not very frequently because my teeth get so sensitive.

    I do not encounter much took sensitivity otherwise. My sister says she cannot tolerate whiteners either. So trust me, you are not that abnormal. Some people seem to have no problems at all and oh man, I think that was the worst experience of my life!

    When my braces finally come off, I want to try the trays. But if I cannot tolerate it, I will forgo the whole thing. It's was worse than double jaw surgery! LOL!!

    FYI, I agree with Amanda K! Ever since that experience, I use Sensodyne Pro Enamel toothpaste every day and LOVE it!!

  3. Yikes! I'm sorry to hear that. I've heard of ZOOM causing sensitivity after the fact, but I never knew it could happen during the procedure, too. I'm so sorry that you had to deal with that. I guess the plus is that you didn't have to pay the full 400 for that ordeal, but sill =/ No fun

  4. THanks Ladies!! Tina I agree with you. My daughter tried this and had very similar results. She lasted about 13 minutes more than I did. During the moments of pain, I also felt that is was worse than the surgery. I really think the best test is to try bleach trays! Have a great day!!

  5. I had my teeth whitened before but through gels. Good thing I didnt go for this

  6. Totally unrelated to your post, but just wanted to say that your blog is very inspiring.
    I'm almost at the point of surgery and it seems like such a long journey. Its great reading your blog though and seeing how happy you looked once everything was done and the braces came off.