Needle Phobia? New Dental Technology is Available!


In recent times there have been various advances in dental technology geared towards making dental procedures as comfortable as possible for patients. In spite of this, about 85% of the adult population in Australia faces some degree of anxiety about painful or uncomfortable procedures when visiting a dentist. A lot of this is due to the fear of painful needles, and oftentimes simply the anticipation of pain is enough to deter many from visiting dentists regularly.

Healthy Smiles Dental Group has always been at the forefront of dental services in Melbourne, with state-of-the-art tools, techniques and technologies handled by highly experienced staff. We are also fully committed to the well-being of our patients. As a result, we’re consistently investing in technology that makes all dental procedures as comfortable as possible for our patients. This includes Injex, which is a needleless local anaesthesia, and the Wand, which provides virtually painless dental anaesthetic. Through this post we aim to introduce you to the latest developments in dental technology we offer at our practice.

Injex: needleless local anaesthesia

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The use of Injex for dental procedures has been gaining popularity in recent years, giving dental practitioners the ability to administer local anaesthesia and other medication without using needles.

How does it work?

Injex works by using a short burst of high pressure to deliver the medication uniformly in a spray-like manner, rather than inserting a needle into the gums.

Why is it better for patients?

The strongest motivating factor for patients is the painlessness of this process – it takes a fraction of a second with virtually no discomfort. In addition to making dental procedures relatively painless, using such technologies for local anaesthesia has several other benefits as well. Drugs administered through Injex have a much shorter uptake time, with rapid diffusion of the medication in the region. This means that the chemicals reach effective concentration levels much quicker, and effects of the anaesthesia are noticeable immediately. With this technology, lower doses need to be delivered to observe a similar level of effect, and the risk of side effects of any medication is substantially reduced. While all of these are hugely beneficial for people of any age, Injex is great for children in particular, who not only have a greater fear of dentists and needles but also lower dosage limits for medication.

Is it safe?

Firstly, needleless injectors are safer and more hygienic as compared to traditional anaesthetic delivery systems. This is especially helpful if patients are worried about needles being reused and spreading infections. Using Injex also completely eliminates any risk of intramuscular injections. What this means is that the pain and discomfort felt in the region after the anaesthesia wears off is extremely minimal.

The Wand: virtually painless injections

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The Wand is another of the painless dental technologies adopted by Healthy Smiles which allows our dentists to deliver medication painlessly.

How does it work?

The Wand is essentially a computerised anaesthetic delivery system, offering control over the pressure, volume and precise rate of flow of the medication being delivered.

Why is it better for patients?

The most common misconception among patients is that the pain felt during injections is caused by the needle pricking the skin. However, it’s actually the uneven delivery of the medication into the tissues that causes most discomfort. Because it’s entirely computerised, the Wand eliminates this by delivering the medication appropriately at a constant pressure to automatically compensate for differences in tissue densities. What’s even better is that this pressure can be controlled to remain below each patient’s threshold of pain. This means that patients experience virtually painless injections firstly due to minimal feeling of the injection itself as well as the delivery of the medication. Injections with the Wand are in fact so painless that patients feel hardly any discomfort even in potentially difficult areas such as the palate.

Is it safe?

Administering injections with a computerised delivery system like the Wand is highly popular because of the precise control and reliable injections it offers dental practitioners, even in difficult areas. Using the Wand also removes any “human error” with safety features such as a self-retracting needle, so even the most anxious patients can rest easy.

Painless and practical

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No patient should feel like their options are restricted, and that fear of dentists and needles is something they just have to live with. There are always options available, and your dentist would be in the best position to advise you on the most appropriate one for you. The most important thing to remember is that visiting your dentist doesn’t have to be an ordeal. At Healthy Smiles, our friendly and professional staff are always happy to assist you with any uncertainties or fears you may have about your dental visits. Call in to our practice at 03 9877 2035 or drop us an email at info@healthysmiles.com.au for a free no-obligation consultation!

Fluoride – Good or Bad?


Over the years of operating our dental service, Healthy Smiles Dental Group, we find that many Australians are still confused about the effects of fluoride on dental health. Many of our patients have misconceptions about the harmful impacts and hold on to several myths regarding fluoride in general. Through this post we hope to give you a better idea about fluoride, including both the good and the bad of it all.

Let’s begin by exploring some of the most common sources of fluoride.

Water

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Most of you will be aware that fluoridation of, or adding fluoride to, public water supply has been quite controversial over the past few decades. In Australia, fluoridated drinking water is provided to approximately 70% of the population and is strictly governed by the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. If you’re worried about what this means for you, you can be rest assured that your drinking water is safe; the Australian Guidelines follow the World Health Organisation Guidelines.

Toothpaste

Most toothpastes now contain fluoride, which provides extra protection in areas like most Australian cities which already have a fluoridated water supply. However, because it contains higher fluoride concentrations than water, usage by children must be carefully supervised, which we will discuss later on in this post.

Supplements

Fluoride supplements can come in various forms including tablets, drops and lozenges, and are only available by prescription. These are only recommended for children living in areas with insufficient fluoride in their drinking water, or for people with fluoride deficiencies after discussion with their dentist or doctor.

Professional applications

If you’re at greater risk of getting dental cavities, your dentist can apply topical fluorides in the form of a gel, varnish, foam or rinse.

Benefits

One of the key benefits of fluoride is its effectiveness in preventing dental cavities and tooth decay, in both children as well as adults. How this works is that fluoride reduces bacterial growth and thus reduces acid production. This acid would have otherwise eroded the enamel on your teeth in a process called demineralisation. Not only does fluoride decrease demineralisation, it also enhances remineralisation. What this means is that while slowing down mineral loss from tooth enamel, it also helps speed up the repair process of any weak spots or holes on the surface which could potentially form cavities. This prevents cavities from forming and hence slows down, or even prevents, tooth decay. Over the long term, fluoride helps prevent otherwise painful and expensive dental complications such as abscesses and permanent damage, thus reducing the amount of money you’d need to spend on treatments.

Harmful effects

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The primary negative impact of fluoride is known as dental fluorosis, which is an accumulation of fluoride that alters the appearance of teeth through white spots, or in more severe cases brown stains and weakened teeth. This is a mostly cosmetic problem, with visual changes in tooth appearance. It’s important to note that this only occurs if fluoride intake is excessive and from multiple sources when teeth are developing, so essentially in children under the age of seven. This typically occurs through several possible scenarios. Firstly, if children with developing teeth consume fluoride supplements when water supply is already fluoridated. Secondly, swallowing toothpaste is fairly common in younger children who have yet to develop their swallow reflex, and could potentially lead to fluorosis. There are plenty of ways to ensure your children get sufficient fluoride but stay well below the threshold of causing dental fluorosis. These include using low-fluoride toothpastes, using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste, supervising them while brushing until a certain age, and encouraging them to spit toothpaste instead of swallowing, among others.

Our verdict

Fluoride intake is a safe, proven and effective method of strengthening teeth and preventing tooth decay. Although excessive fluoride can be harmful, tight regulation of water supply fluoridation in Australia means that you only risk fluorosis if your intake of fluoride supplements is way beyond what your dentist recommends, or if children with developing teeth consume too much. As long as you follow your dentist’s recommendations, ensure appropriate dental habits in your children and continue regular supervision until they’re brushing properly, fluoride poses no harm to dental or overall health. If you’re still unsure or have any questions about your dental practices, feel free to give Healthy Smiles Dental Group a call at 03 9877 2035 or email us at info@healthysmiles.com.au for your free no-obligation consultation!

Teeth Bleaching and Dental Fillings – Dental Hygienists


Your dental hygienist is one of the first healthcare professionals who will provide dental services during your visits to your dentist. They will clean your teeth, examine your gums and teeth for signs of damage and disease, and teach you how to maintain good oral health. In fact, your dentist and dental hygienist will provide comprehensive preventative oral care for you and your family.

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Professional Credentials

Before we discuss the role played by dental hygienists in the teeth bleaching and dental filling procedures, we must first know their professional qualifications. In Australia, dental hygienists must be graduates of a dental hygiene program, said program of which should have conferred an advanced diploma, an associate degree, or a bachelor’s degree accredited by the Australian Dental Council.

Your dental hygienist should also be registered with the Dental Board of Australia.

General Job Descriptions

The roles and responsibilities of a dental hygienist in the teeth bleaching and dental filling procedures can be appreciated by knowing their general job description. Keep in mind that your dentist and dental hygienist work hand-in-hand, so to speak, to address your oral health needs and wants.

Some of the roles and responsibilities of your dental hygienist include the below:

  • Patient screening procedures

Before you can be considered for the teeth whitening and/or dental filling procedures, the dental hygienist will make a professional assessment of your oral health. The assessment will include review of your medical history, inspection of the head and neck, and dental charting.

  • Application of preventive materials

Your dental hygienist will apply preventive materials to the teeth being treated.

  • Removal of plaque and calculus

Your dentist may deem it necessary to remove plaque, calculus and other surface stains on the teeth before either the teeth whitening or dental filling procedure for best results. This too at times is delegated to dental hygienist.

  • Education on good oral health care

Keep in mind that the teeth whitening and dental filling procedures have temporary results. For example, if you fail to take good care of your whiter teeth, the effects of the teeth bleaching procedure will face in less than a month and you will end up with yellowish teeth again. This is where the dental hygienist assigned to your case will come in – by providing information on the ways to maximise the results of the procedure via good oral health care habits.

Your dental hygienist will also perform office management activities like documentation for the teeth whitening or dental filling procedure.

Work with the dental hygienist because he will work toward your good dental health, too.

Contact Us or Call us on 03 9877 2035.

I Had the Best Dentist Ever For 30 Years. Really?


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What prompted me to write today’s blog is actually a unique case of a walk-in patient who came into my practice wanting some pain relief on a Friday night. It’s a policy of Healthy Smiles Dental Group, one of its cornerstones in fact, that we never turn away anyone in pain. If you ring up the practice we’ll definitely see you, even if it means staying back after 5 pm on a Friday evening.

Let’s call this patient John Smith. Well, John walks into my practice on a Friday night in a bit of pain. Before he’s even filled out his New Patient form his first statement is, “Everything’s perfect in my mouth, I’ve been with my previous dentist for the past 30 years.” He then goes on to tell me about how his old dentist never charged him excessively like “all other dentists”, always patched him up, got him going and everything has just been perfect for the past 30 years. He claimed this was the first time he was feeling pain, and assured me it was because his old dentist, who was simply excellent, had retired. Then he explained he was trying out the different dentists in the area to find a perfect fit for his future oral healthcare, just like he’d found for the past 30 years.

Before starting I explained to him that just like any other emergency appointment, we’d do what we could to get him out of trouble but this was by no means a thorough examination. We’d carry out some x-rays to assess and make a diagnosis. Essentially, I would be explaining what was happening in his mouth and what the problem was. Based on this understanding of the problem and the consequences, he would be deciding on how he wanted to proceed, and we’d support him in that. That’s our philosophy with every patient, and John was fine with that.

Once he opened his mouth, what I discovered was actually quite shocking. Every tooth in his mouth, including his front teeth, had been filled and overfilled multiple times, to the extent that some of the fillings now made up about 90% of the tooth structure! As soon as I saw that I knew I’d have to ask him a few questions to find out what exactly happened over the past 30 years.

John described how whenever he wanted to see his old dentist, he’d always been extremely booked out and John would only get an appointment 2-3 weeks after ringing. During his visits he’d get as many fillings as possible – this would typically be six to seven fillings within a period of 30-45 minutes. He’d then be on his way feeling perfectly content because he would have spent a minimal amount for perfect-looking fillings, to the tune of $200 per tooth. He’d seen a few other dentists at the time, all of whom suggested getting crowns, ceramics or some other advanced treatment for his teeth. He figured they were simply trying to rip him off and stuck to his old dentist.

Coming back to his teeth – on the upper right side he had massive swelling in his gums, and was actually leaking some pus through a little hole called a sinus tract into his mouth. He complained of some foul smell and bad taste in his mouth as well, so we did an OPG, or a full mouth x-ray, took some photographs, then I sat him up to explain what had actually happened over the past 30 years. I started by assuring him that I had no intention of trying to sell him anything, I didn’t want him to do any crowns, root canals, implants, or anything whatsoever. All I wanted him to do was understand what was happening in his mouth so as a basic starting point he could be free of infections and have a healthy mouth.

What had actually happened to John in his 30 years with the lovely dentist he had been seeing regularly was that his trustworthy dentist had been treating John with what we call supervised neglect. Now supervised neglect is a complex term used in medical/legal circles, I’ll give you a typical scenario where supervised neglect has taken place. If you’ve entrusted your oral or medical health, or anything similar, to a health practitioner, and they assure you that everything’s fine so they can continue doing what they think is right while your condition actually worsens – that’s supervised neglect. In dentistry, supervised neglect is if the dentist fails to inform the patient of the condition or explain the consequences sufficiently, recommends and provides treatment he/she thinks is right just to keep the patient returning for more services over an extended period of time. Keep in mind that the treatments provided may not actually have been appropriate for the patient. In John’s case, supervised neglect had led  to his teeth being filled and overfilled to a point where the nerves in most of them had become necrotic (died), leading to abscesses in his mouth. These abscesses were now draining into large areas in his jawbone and had caused the development of multiple infections in the bone.

The thing about chronic infections, such as this local infection in the jaw, is that they can slowly and painlessly keep getting worse without any symptoms. This is why a lot of people, like John, think there’s nothing to worry about. As far as he understood the situation as a patient, he had not previously been in any pain and no pain means no problem. However, that’s not always the case when it comes to healthcare – no pain doesn’t always mean no problem. The only reason John decided to come in to see me was that his chronic infection had flared up into an acute abscess, and even then all he thought he needed were antibiotics to tide him over. Unfortunately, that’s all he’d been doing on multiple occasions with his old trusted dentist for the past 30 years. Each time such a situation arose, he’d simply take four to five courses of antibiotics, and the pain and swelling subsided. His dentist had never recommended any other complex treatment.

Once I explained everything to John, and once he saw the x-ray for himself, he saw the light and realised just how serious his situation was. I referred him to a specialist orthodontist for a thorough assessment, and let him know that fixing everything was probably going to cost him around 40 thousand dollars. He’d have to be prepared for that unless he was fine with losing all his teeth for life.

This was one of the more interesting incidents of supervised neglect I’ve come across at my practice, so I thought I’d share it on my blog. Hopefully this helps a lot of you understand that this is something you can’t take lightly. Always get regular assessments done, make sure you visit a dentist you can trust and who knows what he/she is doing, is proactive and not simply reactive to your dental problems! If you’re unsure how to go about finding a trustworthy dentist or have any questions feel free to give us a call on 03 9877 2035 or email us at info@healthysmiles.com.au. You can make an appointment for a free no-obligation assessment at our practice with one of our experienced dentists, and we’d be more than happy to answer any of your questions.

Source: http://www.healthysmiles.com.au/blog/dental-care/i-had-the-best-dentist-ever-for-30-years-really/

The History of Sedation Dentistry


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For many people, heading to the dentist causes feelings of anxiety and fear. However, sedation dentistry provides these patients with a way they can relax when dental treatments are required instead of dealing with panic, anxiety and fear. Sedation dentistry is not a new concept, although it has evolved significantly over time. A look at the history behind sedation and sleep dentistry finds that this type of dentistry has a long, rich history. Here is a closer look at the history behind sedation dentistry, as well as a look at how sedation has evolved today.

Understanding the Differences Between Sedation Dentistry and Sleep Dentistry

Before looking at the history behind sedation dentistry, it is important to understand the differences between sedation dentistry and sleep dentistry. Unfortunately, patients often confuse them or think they are the same thing, yet they have some significant differences to consider.

Sleep dentistry is an approach that makes use of general anaesthesia, rendering the patient fully unconscious, so they are asleep during the dental procedure. Certain extensive dental procedures may require sleep dentistry treatment, but there are some risks to using general anaesthesia. This type of approach is rarely used just to deal with phobias, anxiety or fear, but it is reserved for extensive, invasive dental procedures, such as certain types of oral surgery.

On the other hand, sedation dentistry is a more common that is very popular today. It is quite safe and is an excellent choice for individuals that fear the dentist’s office or those who deal with anxiety when they head into the office for dental treatment. Patients are still conscious when sedation dentistry is used, yet they are fully relaxed and in a dream-like state. In most cases, patients never remember the procedure, even though they are not asleep during the treatment.

The Origins and History of Sedation Dentistry

Although sedation dentistry is not a new concept, it has only recently become a popular option around the world. The history of sedating dental patients for dental procedures goes all the way back to William T. G. Morton, a dentist that used ether on a patient before performing a procedure. This occurred in 1846 and Morton administered the ether before a procedure in front of an entire amphitheatre of students and physicians. This took place at Harvard University.

Before this presentation by Morton, another dentist, Horace Wells, tried to demonstrate that nitrous oxide could work as an anaesthetic agent. This took place in 1845, and unfortunately, the trial was unsuccessful and the audience was unimpressed by his attempts to use nitrous oxide. However, since that time, nitrous oxide has quickly become a popular form of anaesthesia used by dentists and it is often used still today. However, it was not until 1864 that the American Dental Association finally recognized Wells for his discovery. Since the gas is easy to use, very safe and quite inexpensive, it is an excellent choice. It also helps to raise patients’ pain threshold, which is another benefit to using this gas on dental patients.

Sedation Dentistry Today

Although the idea of sedation dentistry goes back more than 150 years, technology has provided today’s dentists with many options to use when sedation patients for dental treatments. IV sedatives, nitrous oxide and many oral sedatives are available. Each type of sedation works to ensure that patients are completely relaxed and comfortable. Today’s sedation techniques are also very safe, especially when qualified sedation dentists administer them.

Sedation dentistry has an interesting history and it has been used successfully for many years now. If you fear going to the dentist, you deal with anxiety or you need to have significant work done in a single treatment, talk to your dentist about your sedation options. Sedation may be the best option for you, ensuring that you have a comfortable, relaxing experience while you get the dental care that you require.

What You Must Know About Your Cosmetic Dentist


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Cosmetic dentistry goes beyond traditional dentistry, focusing on the aesthetic side of a person’s mouth, teeth and smile. Instead of addressing necessary general treatments, a cosmetic dentist  offers elective services and treatments designed to improve the overall look of a patient’s smile. Restorative benefits are also offered by cosmetic dentistry, such as using dental fillings for decayed teeth that are designed to match tooth colour closely, ensuring that the natural appearance of the tooth and smile is kept intact. If you decide to visit a cosmetic dentist, here is some helpful information you should keep in mind as you decide if cosmetic dentistry is something you want to pursue.

Top Cosmetic Dentistry Trends to Discuss with Your Cosmetic Dentist

When you are looking for a quality cosmetic dentist, it is important to find a dentist that is keeping up with cutting edge dentistry trends. Take time to discuss current trends with your dentist before you begin having cosmetic dentistry procedures performed. New advancements in dental technology have resulted in cosmetic dental treatments that are more predictable and durable than ever before. Another top trend among the best cosmetic dentists is a conservative approach to cosmetic dentistry that works to preserve natural teeth whenever possible. Ask your cosmetic dentistry professional if he or she is committed to using techniques that will preserve your natural tooth structure whenever possible, based upon your specific situation.

You’ll also want to talk to your cosmetic dentist about cosmetic dentistry technologies that make treatments more convenient and more comfortable, such as using lasers, sedation dentistry and other new technologies. With cutting edge technology, your cosmetic dentistry professional can make smile makeovers and other cosmetic procedures easier, more comfortable and may reduce your recovery time, making it easier to finally get the beautiful, improved smile that you want.

Popular Cosmetic Dentistry Services


It’s also important to know what cosmetic dentistry services your cosmetic dentist provides. A top cosmetic dentist should provide a variety of different services and treatments so you can enjoy receiving all of your cosmetic treatments in one place. The following are some of the most cosmetic dentistry services that the best cosmetic dental clinics offer today.

Teeth Whitening

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Teeth whitening, one of the most popular cosmetic dentistry treatments, is offered by the best cosmetic dental clinics. This treatment helps to eliminate stains from teeth, giving patients a brighter, whiter smile. In-office teeth whitening offers fast, convenient, significant results.

Smile Redesign

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The best cosmetic dentists will also offer smile redesign, a process that involves assessing your smile and working on procedures that improve the overall appearance of your smile. Smile redesign usually involves using multiple cosmetic dentistry treatments.

Dental Veneers

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Dental veneers are bonded to teeth to help repair and correct cracks, chips or tooth discoloration. They can be used to deal with gaps in the teeth and are an excellent alternative for those who have not had success with in-office teeth whitening procedures.

Dental Implants

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For individuals that have lost teeth, dental implants are an excellent choice that helps to deal with tooth loss. Missing teeth can cause functional and aesthetic problems, but dental implants can improve the way you look and improve the overall function of your teeth.

Composite Bonding

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Composite bonding is used to repair decayed, discoloured, broken and chipped teeth. Composite material that looks like natural tooth material is applied, shaped, contoured and hardened, making use of the original tooth while creating a more beautiful smile.

Costs of Cosmetic Dentistry

When you head to a cosmetic dentist, it is important to talk to your dentist about the costs of cosmetic dentistry. The costs of cosmetic treatments vary greatly, depending on the specific treatment you require. Be sure to discuss costs with your dentist to find out what specific procedures will cost before you have them done. Many of the best cosmetic dentistry professionals offer payment plans, making cosmetic dentistry affordable for all of their dental patients.

Why Zoom Teeth Whitening?


Over time, most people experience tooth discolouration, which can result from aging, drinking or eating foods that stain or from smoking. The good news is zoom teeth whitening Melbourne clinic now offer a treatment that can help to whiten your teeth, giving you a whiter, more beautiful smile. While many teeth whitening options are available today, Zoom teeth whitening has become a popular choice for many reasons. If you’re considering zoom teeth whitening Melbourne, here are just a few of the reasons why this teeth whitening procedure makes an excellent choice.

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How Zoom Teeth Whitening Melbourne Clinics Can Help You

Before looking at the benefits of Zoom teeth whitening and the reasons to choose this treatment, it is important to understand how this procedure works. This treatment is an in-office teeth whitening treatment and it begins by ensuring that your gums and lips are protected before the whitening procedure begins. Then, the special Zoom whitening gel is applied to your teeth, which works with the special Zoom light to break up discoloration and stains by penetrating your teeth. After the gel is applied, it stays on your teeth while the Zoom light activates the gel. It is applied for a total of three 15-minute sessions under the Zoom light. After having Zoom teeth whitening done, dentists apply a special fluoride paste that helps to reduce problems with tooth sensitivity after having the teeth whitening procedure completed.

Tooth Whitening Before Other Cosmetic Dental Procedures

In some cases, your dentist may want you to have Zoom teeth whitening done before other cosmetic dental procedures are completed. If you plan to have composite bonding or veneers applied, then your dentist may have you go through the whitening treatment to make it easier to match the restoration and your teeth.

The Procedure is Quick and Easy

Zoom teeth whitening Melbourne clinics are a popular as zoom teeth whitening is such a quick and easy procedure. Since it requires three quick 15- minute phases, you can usually be done and out of the dentist’s office in an hour or less. The procedure is very simple and many individuals appreciate that they can easily fit this whitening treatment into their busy life. The best part is that this treatment is completed within a single visit, so you don’t have to go back to the office multiple times to complete your teeth whitening treatment.

No Discomfort to Worry About

With Zoom teeth whitening, there is no discomfort to worry about. There is no heat from the Zoom light, so you don’t have to worry about the light causing discomfort. While the mouth has to remain open during the procedure, most people feel little discomfort and find the teeth whitening treatment easy to deal with when it is completed.

Natural, Noticeable Results

Of course, the natural, noticeable results definitely make Zoom teeth whitening an excellent whitening choice. Some whitening options, especially over the counter choices, may not provide noticeable results. When your Zoom teeth whitening procedure is complete, you’ll notice excellent results and the treatment can offer whitening of up to eight shades. Not only are the results noticeable, but they look natural as well, which is definitely important. While you want a brighter, whiter smile, you want to make sure that your teeth still maintain their natural look.

Long Lasting Results

Zoom teeth whitening also provides long lasting results, so once you pay for this treatment, you can enjoy the results for years. In some cases, individuals may have to come back for a touch-up in a couple years, but most people find that the results look great for an extended period of time.

Touch-Up Kits for Home Maintenance

When you have the Zoom teeth whitening treatment, you’ll also be given some touch-up kits to take home for home maintenance of your whiter smile. The kit includes teeth trays and whitening gel that you can use at home. This way you can regularly maintain your whitening results, which makes your bright, white smile last much longer.