Philips Zoom Teeth Whitening

What is Philips Zoom?

Today a flashy white confident smile has become almost inseparable from an image of success. It’s quite rare to posses a naturally beaming white smile, but fortunately recent advances in dentistry have made teeth whitening extremely affordable and manageable. The Philips Zoom teeth whitening system is one of the methods available to whiten teeth.

Philips Zoom Teeth Whitening

There are many teeth whitening options, either as in-office treatments at a dental office, or as home teeth whitening kits. Philips Zoom whitening is designed to be operated by a professional at a dentist’s office and can whiten teeth in under 60 minutes! It’s a great method for in-office teeth whitening and has proven results and user satisfaction (1).

Despite this however, it does come with several risks and side effects such as teeth sensitivity. So if you’re considering Philips Zoom whitening, make sure you read the tips below to fully understand how it works and to get the best out of it.

Teeth bleaching and staining

Tooth staining (or discoloration) usually occurs as a result of eating/drinking certain foods that cause extrinsic (external) stains on a tooth surface. These types of stains are most commonly formed by coffee, tea, and wine, and can be removed through normal tooth brushing.

But these stains can seep through the external enamel layer of the tooth, and if this happens, then they can only be removed by teeth whitening. This is known as internal (intrinsic) staining.

More serious dental problems can also cause discoloration that may appear similar, but will require more invasive dental treatments (such as fillings and crowns) in order to be treated.

That’s why before doing Philips Zoom your dentist will have to examine your teeth so that they can approve your case for teeth whitening, any not something else such as a filling or veneers.

It’s important that your teeth are cavity free and that your gums are healthy before you do Philips Zoom whitening (or any whitening), as the teeth bleaching process could give you more sensitivity or cause inflammation in your gums.

Make sure you read the the Who can do Philips Zoom Whitening section further down to know if you qualify for Philips Zoom whitening.

How does Philips Zoom Work?

Nowadays the most common method for in-office and home teeth whitening, involves the use of an abrasive. In teeth whitening this abrasive is usually in the form of hydrogen peroxide, carbamide peroxide, and most recently – activated charcoal.

Philips Zoom Whitening uses a concentration of around 20% hydrogen peroxide in order to bleach teeth. Teeth whitening kits that you can use at home (such as the Crest 3D Whitestrips) typically use a much lower concentration of hydrogen peroxide (around 5%).

So you can imagine how much more powerful in-office teeth whitening is in comparison to the home whitening kits. In-fact it’s been documented that Philips Zoom whitening can brighten smiles by 11 shades (2) over multiple uses!

The Philips Zoom whitening system uses a blue LED light that works by activating and speeding up the teeth whitening reaction. Because of this light, this type of teeth whitening has been referred to by the public as “laser teeth whitening”.

Though no actual laser is used, the phrase “laser teeth whitening” is often used and most commonly refers to whitening techniques that involve a lamp, such as the Philips Zoom whitening system.

Even though there’s a lot of controversy among dental researchers regarding whether or not this LED light actually does help the bleaching process, the scientific evidence seems to suggest that it in-fact does not (3).

Philips Zoom Teeth Whitening Procedure

The process usually occurs in 45-60 minute sessions. The sessions are repeated 2-3 times based on the concentration of the whitening gel being used, and how “white” you want the final results to be.

  1. The session begins with your dental professional applying a thin “ protective barrier” on your lips and gums to protect them from the abrasive. After the gel like material is applied, it will need to be activated by an ultraviolet light for 20 seconds so that it hardens.
  2. The Zoom whitening gel (hydrogen peroxide abrasive) is then placed on the surface of your teeth.
  3. After the gel has been placed, the Zoom Whitening Lamp is then placed closer to just a few centimetres away from your teeth, and is switched on.
  4. During this time, the whitening gel is being activated by the lamp, and you simply need to have some patience as the abrasive does its work. In this time, it’s common for patients to either listen to music, watch TV, or just relax.
  5. Usually the session is repeated 2 or 3 more times at 15 minute sessions each.
  6. After your sessions are over, your dental professional will wash away the gel and peel off the protective barrier. You can then rinse your mouth and you’re done!

Zoom Whitening Aftercare

You’ve just completed your Philips Zoom Whitening treatment and are a now flashing a considerably brighter smile! But unfortunately the results are not permanent. So how to maintain it for as long as possible?

The most important thing is to maintain adequate oral hygiene, through brushing twice a day and flossing once a day. Not only does this keep your teeth and gums healthy, but it also greatly limits the chances of any stains reforming.

Your dental professional may advice you of avoiding certain foods after your whitening session, and it may be worth to at least reduce your intake of these stain-causing foods:

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Red wine
  • Soft drinks (especially with colouring such as Fanta)
  • Curry
  • Red tomato sauce

It’s common that after your Zoom Whitening Session for your dentist to provide you with a home whitening tray, or a whitening toothpaste.

You can use these whenever you feel that your new white smile has started to become slightly yellow or that the shade is darkening slightly.

Who can do Philips Zoom Whitening?

People without many dental fillings:

Philips Zoom Whitening is perfect for anybody who hasn’t had any extensive previous restorative dental work done on them, especially on their front teeth. (For example: fillings, crowns, root canal treatments, implants, or veneers).

The bleaching agent used in Philips Zoom can only whiten natural tooth surface and cannot whiten any existing fillings or restorations. Therefore if anybody who has many fillings does Philips Zoom whitening, they will get a smile that’s “unbalanced”, with some teeth whiter than the others.

People without gum inflammation or recession

If you don’t get your teeth professionally cleaned every 6 months, or if you’re a heavy smoker or don’t brush your teeth and floss daily, then the chances are you have gum inflammation.

If this is the case then getting Philips Zoom whitening might irritate your gums even further and cause gingival (gum) bleeding and swelling.

That’s why it’s important to do a dental cleaning before your teeth whitening. As during this your dentist will also see if you’re suffering from gum recession. People with gum recession might experience exaggerated pain and sensitivity from the whitening agent.

People who don’t have sensitive teeth

As mentioned below, teeth sensitivity is unfortunately an accepted side effect of teeth whitening.

However some people naturally have very sensitive teeth and experience a lot of pain especially when eating/drinking something cold, or when sweet, or acidic (orange juice).

If you’re one of these people who has really sensitive teeth, then you may want to think twice before going for Philips Zoom whitening and consider the teeth sensitivity risk factor.

Teeth whitening risks

Tooth sensitivity is the most common symptom associated with teeth whitening, both during the treatment and after (post-operative sensitivity) (4). This is because the whitening gel penetrates through the outer layer of the tooth called the enamel, and affects the inner layer (the dentin) which is much closer to the nerves, and so causes painful sensitivity.

The pain is just a brief shock, like electricity, that lasts for less than a second. It’s not entirely painful but it’s definitely uncomfortable.

This pain can occur during the teeth whitening session itself (which is normal), or it can also occur after, lasting for days. It’s especially felt when drinking really hot or cold water.

Zoom whitening cost

In the US the regular cost of Philips Zoom Whitening is around $500. This varies greatly between different states and dentists, but the range is around $300 all the way up to $1000.

The cost usually includes a package for multiple whitening sessions, and may also include home whitening custom trays and kits, whitening toothpastes, and/or protective toothpaste to reduce sensitivity.

Is Zoom Whitening worth it?

If your main problem is the colour of your teeth, and you’re not complaining of any other dental problems, then getting Zoom Whitening may be the solution you’re looking for.

For it’s cost, getting teeth whitening can indeed be a very profitable investment, as it can have a considerable effect on your smile, with almost non-existing detrimental effects on your teeth, and a relatively quick treatment time.

If you have many previous restorations and existing fillings, and are unhappy with the colour or shade of your smile, then zoom whitening may not be for you – in that case you may want to consider alternative treatments to white fillings, such as veneers or anterior composite restorations.




Written by Dr. Khaled Mahmoud

Khaled Mahmoud completed his dental education and obtained his Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) in 2017. His interests lie in cosmetic dentistry and non-surgical facial aesthetics. He is active in dental research, contemporary cosmetic materials and techniques, and has been a member of numerous public health outreach programs.