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A Date and Zoom Whitening the Same Day

I have an upcoming appointment to have my teeth whitened for the first time using the Zoom Whitening system. The thing is, someone I really enjoy has asked me out for a date on the same day as my whitening. My appointment is at 3:00 in the afternoon, and we’d not start the date until around 7:00 in the evening. I’m hoping I won’t be in too much pain, but I’ve never had this done before. Will I be okay to go on the date? I feel like saying my teeth hurt would be a lame excuse.


Hi Cassidy,

Patient under a zoom whitening light

What a full, exciting day you have planned! This is a great question you’ve asked here, and an important angle to consider when planning your upcoming events. The answer to your question is, it depends.

How Zoom Works

You mention never having had Zoom whitening performed on your teeth before. A short summation regarding what to expect will help you make the correct decision here.

Typically, patients do not need a local anesthetic for this procedure. It will take roughly an hour or so, sometimes a little more.

The clinician will isolate your teeth by using lip and cheek retractors, then will place a bead of material on the gum line along each tooth, which then hardens and acts as a barrier, protecting the soft gingiva from the whitening agent and preventing burns.

After that, the Zoom whitening gel is applied to each tooth, and a blue LED light is shone upon your teeth. This light helps initiate the whitening process and speeds it along. Typically, you will need 15 minutes under the light for each of the four quadrants of your mouth, equaling an hour. The gel is then suctioned and rinsed off, and the barrier is removed from your gums.

Many practitioners choose to place a fluoride varnish at this time to lessen post-appointment sensitivity. Your doctor will let you know what is best for you at your appointment. Considering your date, I would ask for this if it is not offered.

Post-Appointment Care

Your enamel is made up of tiny microscopic “tubules”, which, while typically sealed, are opened during the whitening process to allow the gel to enter the tooth. Once your teeth have been whitened, it’s best to stay away from beets, red wine, tea, coffee, and other staining foods, since during this time your teeth will be much more prone to staining. Will your date include going out to dinner? If so, try to avoid these types of foods if possible.

What To Expect

Occasionally, some people experience a degree of post-appointment pain and discomfort following Zoom whitening. You can simply take some over the counter pain medication to find relief, but if this happens to you, it may affect your enjoyment of the date. Will you be having cold drinks, or ice cream desserts? While the discomfort will likely be a nagging annoyance and not an emergency, you may elect to reschedule the date for a different day. However, if you’d prefer to keep it, consider taking some pain medication before your evening out.

It’s Up To You

Ultimately of course, this is your own personal decision. It’s always best to make an informed choice once you’ve been made aware of the facts–good on you for being proactive! Now that you know, have a wonderful visit and a fantastic date, no matter which day they fall on.

This blog is brought to you by Moline Dentist Dr. Goebel.

Will an Emergency Dentist Remove Wisdom Teeth?

My 22-year-old son is out of town. We’d always meant to get his wisdom teeth removed but something always seemed to get in the way and they weren’t really bothering him. Of course, now that he is in a different state visiting relatives everything blows up. One of his wisdom teeth is giving him a lot of pain. It is inflamed as well as the gums behind it. He’s been taking ibuprofen but it only helps temporarily. If I sent him to an emergency dentist would they remove his wisdom teeth?


Dear Carolyn,

Man grabbing his jaw in pain

There is no worse feeling than when we can’t be near our children when they need us. I’m sorry this is happening to your son while he is out of town. As to whether an emergency dentist will remove his teeth, it depends. They will certainly see him because he is in pain. They can get him out of pain. Then,  if there is an infection they will likely schedule a follow-up to deal with that.

You didn’t mention if the tooth is erupted, partially erupted, or completely impacted. If it has not erupted, there is a possibility this is pericoronitis, which is just a fancy medical term for inflammation around the wisdom tooth. Sometimes when a tooth is partially erupted there is a flap of gums that traps food and bacteria and can inflame the gums and even lead to an infection. This flap can be removed, which lessens the likelihood of issues such as your son is facing.

Some dentists are comfortable and skilled at removing impacted wisdom teeth. Others will send him to an oral surgeon. Either way, when you are in pain from a tooth, it is always a good idea to get it checked out by a dentist to see how urgent the situation is and be advised on how to solve the problem.

This blog is brought to you by Moline Dentist Dr. Goebel.