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Inside Dentistry
September 2012
Volume 8, Issue 9

Advances in Teeth Whitening

The efficacy of same-day in-office whitening offers patient satisfaction and additional revenue for the practice.

Patients who prefer same-day in-office whitening are being treated with light-activated whitening gels of varying concentrations, making the safety of light-activated whitening gels of primary importance. Philips Zoom gel (Philips Oral Healthcare, has a pH of 8.0, which does not demineralize teeth, and provides faster diffusion through enamel and dentin, hastening the whitening reaction.

Early whitening preparations created high incidences of sensitivity, which in some cases was severe enough to necessitate cessation of treatment. Considerable improvement has occurred since the earliest preparations were available. Some in-office whitening systems have made modifications to take these incidences into account. Philips Zoom WhiteSpeed (Figure 1) is the only in-office whitening system with variable intensity settings for maximum sensitivity management.

Maximizing Patient Satisfaction

Setting patient expectations involves a conversation regarding outcomes, non-uniform results, sensitivity issues, the procedure itself, food and beverage restrictions, time, and cost. It is vital for the patient to understand the expected results as well as potential concerns associated with the procedure. Failure to set reasonable patient expectations significantly increases the likelihood of a less than completely satisfied patient. Whitening can be contraindicated when discoloration is due to disease, conditions requiring endodontic therapy, or dark coloration from restorations. Other disqualifiers include periodontitis, severe gag reflex, and failing restorations. Documentation of the discussion is critical and should include the issues discussed and the patient’s response to questions asked. Pre-treatment photographs and existing tooth shades should be considered part of the documentation.

Indicating how whitening sensitivity will be addressed helps the patient feel more comfortable. Options for managing sensitivity include fluoride products (Philips Fluoridex), non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS), and amorphous calcium phosphate (Philips Relief ACP). Clinicians should reassure the patient that sensitivity is transient and manageable. Patients with regular thermal sensitivity should be informed of the increased likelihood of sensitivity from whitening prior to commencing.

Patients should be made aware that whitening results are not permanent. Consumption of darkly colored berries, tea, coffee, and red wine will discolor teeth over time as will normal aging. A discussion of whitening maintenance—including additional Zoom in-office and/or Zoom Take Home treatments (Figure 2)—provides an opportunity to examine the patient for restorative and cosmetic needs, verify periodontal health, and continue to establish trust and mutual respect.

Strengthen Practice Revenue

The benefits of offering whitening to patients are immeasurable. There are no metrics for increased confidence, satisfaction, and happiness associated with a whiter, brighter smile. The benefits to the practice are significant. The average national fee for chairside whitening is $525. The typical dental practice sees approximately 400 patients per month. If only 1% of those patients have Zoom whitening, the revenue associated with four patients per month is $2,100 or $25,200 annually; 3% patient participation yields $6,300/month and $75,600/year; 6% yields $12,600 or $151,200 annually. Dental professionals can offer patients safe, effective tooth-whitening options that provide consistent results while reducing the incidence of side effects. Philips Zoom WhiteSpeed provides these benefits.

This article was written by William A. Simon, DDS, a private practitioner in Chicago, Illinois.

For more information, contact:
Philips Oral Healthcare
Phone: 800-422-9448


The preceding material was provided by the manufacturer. The statements and opinions contained therein are solely those of the manufacturer and not of the editors, publisher, or the Editorial Board of Inside Dentistry.

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