• Safety Tips for Bleaching Your Teeth

    Everyone seems to want a brighter smile, and teeth whitening is a great option for boosting your confidence. If food and drinks have stained your pearly whites, you may be tempted to rush to the drug store and pick up the first over-the-counter whitening product you find. However, while side effects from whitening products are rare, you should follow these tips before bleaching your teeth to ensure your safety.

    See Your Dentist First

    If your teeth appear stained, don’t assume you need to bleach them. It’s possible a good teeth cleaning will restore the sparkle to your smile. During an oral exam, your dentist will also check for cavities and gum issues, which should be treated before bleaching your teeth.

    Know What to Look for in Over-the-Counter Teeth Bleaching Products

    At-home whiteners most often use carbamide peroxide in concentrations ranging from 10 to 20 percent. Carbamide peroxide is hydrogen peroxide with urea added. This product remains active for up to 10 hours at a low enough acidity level that enamel etching is not a concern.

    Start with a product containing 10 percent carbamide peroxide. If the whitener doesn’t bother your mouth, but you don’t see the results you want, try another over-the-counter product with a higher concentration.

    Follow the Directions

    When you choose an at-home teeth bleaching kit, it’s your responsibility to follow the instructions on the package. Don’t leave the gel or strips on your teeth longer than advised or you could experience tooth sensitivity and sore gums. Also, avoid drinking soda, sports drinks or other sugary/acidic beverages for several hours after whitening to prevent etching your teeth.

    Consider Professional In-Office Teeth Bleaching

    At-home whitening kits are inexpensive and widely available, but that doesn’t make them the best choice. Professional in-office teeth bleaching can lighten your smile up to eight shades in a single 45-minute visit. Combined with professional-grade take-home treatments, patients see an average improvement of 11 shades. In comparison, over-the-counter whitening requires daily 30-minute applications for more than two weeks to achieve a six-shade improvement.

    In-office whitening uses LED light-activated technology to maximize results in the shortest amount of time without causing tooth sensitivity. It’s effective both for people who simply want to lighten their smile and for patients with severely discolored teeth.

    Know When Not to Bleach Your Teeth

    Whitening isn’t right for everyone. Keep these factors in mind:

    • Pregnant women and nursing mothers should postpone teeth bleaching.
    • Whitening doesn’t affect composite, ceramic and porcelain materials. This means if you decide to brighten your natural teeth, you may be left with darker-colored fillings, crowns and
    • Translucent teeth don’t respond well to whitening. A tooth-colored composite placed on the lingual side of a see-through tooth is a more effective way to improve its appearance.

    Zen Dental Center in Seattle offers Philips Zoom in-office teeth bleaching for safe, professional results. To learn more about this treatment, or to schedule an appointment, please contact us at 206-324-1100 today.

  • FAQs about Teeth Whitening

    Do your yellow teeth make you feel self-conscious when you smile? If your pearly whites really aren’t that white, you have the option of brightening your smile with teeth whitening. Learn more about your options and whether teeth whitening is right for you.

    What are my teeth whitening options?

    There are many ways to make your teeth whiter, with varying degrees of effectiveness. Your choices include:

    • Whitening toothpaste (makes teeth about one shade lighter)
    • Over-the-counter whitening rinse (takes about 12 weeks to lighten teeth by about one shade)
    • Over-the-counter whitening strips and trays (lightens teeth by two to three shades)
    • Prescription-grade whitening trays (Zen Dental Center offers Philips Zoom NiteWhite take-home whitening trays to lighten teeth by three or more shades)
    • In-office teeth whitening (Zen Dental Center also offers Philips Zoom in-office teeth whitening to lighten teeth by up to eight shades in just 45 minutes)

    We recommend a combination of in-office teeth whitening and three weeks of at-home tray whitening to lighten your smile by an average of 11 shades!

    Does in-office teeth whitening work for everyone?

    Yellowed teeth respond best to any form of teeth whitening. Brownish-colored stains react less effectively, and blue-gray staining caused by tetracycline may require several in-office treatments or six months of home treatments to achieve the desired results.

    Grayish, purple-hued or very dark stains may not be treatable with teeth whitening. In these cases, you may want to brighten your smile with veneers, bonding or crowns.

    How long do the effects of teeth whitening last?

    Whitening is not permanent, but you can prolong the effects of in-office whitening up to a year or more by following these tips:

    • Quit smoking.
    • Avoid foods and beverages that stain your teeth, including coffee, tea, wine, soda, acidic foods, candy and dark-colored berries.
    • Brush your teeth (or at least rinse with water) immediately after consuming stain-causing foods and drinks.
    • Brush your teeth at least twice a day, and floss at least once.
    • Use whitening toothpaste once or twice a week to help maintain the effects of in-office whitening.

    Is teeth whitening safe? What are the risks?

    Many prescription-grade and in-office whitening products have received the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance, including the products available at Zen Dental Center. They don’t damage tooth enamel, existing fillings or tooth nerves. Just be aware that the ADA does not approve any over-the-counter whitening products.

    While rare, the most likely side effects of teeth whitening include temporary tooth sensitivity and gum irritation. To reduce these problems, try these tips:

    • Wear whitening trays twice a day for half the allotted time.
    • Skip whitening for a couple of days.
    • Use toothpaste made for sensitive teeth.

    Does insurance cover the cost of teeth whitening?

    No. Teeth whitening is considered cosmetic, so most dental insurance plans don’t cover the cost.

    Ready to brighten your smile? Contact Zen Dental Center at 206-324-1100 to schedule an in-office teeth whitening appointment today!

  • Compare Your Teeth Whitening Options

    Everyone wants a brighter smile, but how do you choose between all the teeth whitening options out there? Consider your choices, listed here in order from least to most effective.

    Whitening Toothpaste

    Toothpaste contains mild abrasives that act like tiny scrubbers to remove surface stains. Whitening toothpaste features an additive such as hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, so it not only removes surface stains but also lightens the color of your teeth a few layers deep. Still, even the most effective whitening toothpaste only lightens your teeth by one shade.

    Over-the-Counter Whitening Rinses

    The purpose of all mouthwash products is to freshen your breath and fight gum disease by killing bacteria. Whitening rinses provide the added bonus of lightening your teeth. Hydrogen peroxide is a common ingredient to accomplish this. However, most manufacturers say it takes 12 weeks of daily use to see the teeth whiten just one shade, which comes as no surprise because the whitening agent is only in contact with your teeth for 60 seconds at a time.

    Over-the-Counter Whitening Strips

    Drugstore shelves are lined with over-the-counter teeth whitening solutions, including thin, flexible strips coated in peroxide-based gel. Consumers apply these strips to their teeth for 30 minutes per day or as directed on the package. After a few days, the teeth should whiten by two to three shades with results lasting for about four months.

    Over-the-Counter Whitening Trays

    This option is similar to strips, but users wear a mouthguard-style appliance filled with a peroxide bleaching agent while they sleep. Depending on the level of tooth stains and desired whitening effect, daily use may be required for up to four weeks or even longer.

    Prescription-Grade Whitening Trays

    Stronger whitening products are also available from your dentist. Zen Dental Center offers Philips Zoom NiteWhite take-home treatment consisting of 22 percent carbamide peroxide for quick, safe results.

    In-Office Teeth Whitening

    Zen Dental Center also offers Philips Zoom in-office teeth whitening , the number one patient-requested professional whitening brand available today. This solution uses advanced LED light-activated technology to whiten your teeth up to eight shades in a single 45-minute procedure!

    To enjoy the best results, choose Philips Zoom in-office teeth whitening at Zen Dental Center in Seattle. Then, maximize the effects by using Philips Zoom NiteWhite take-home whitening after your in-office treatment. These treatments can whiten your smile by a combined average of 11 shades!

    To learn more, or to schedule a teeth whitening appointment, please contact us today at 206-324-1100.

  • A Look at the New Philips Zoom In-Office Whitening Technology

    The brand new Philips Zoom in-office whitening technology is coming soon to your local dentist’s office. The technology will revolutionize the way your teeth are whitened and give you that perfect smile you’ve always wanted.

    Dr. Richard Miyata himself has used Philips Zoom in-office whitening

    “I have thin enamel so I didn’t think my teeth could get any whiter but they did. But what really blew me away is that my teeth aren’t sensitive after the bleaching,” Dr. Miyata says about the treatment. Needless to say, he is very happy with the results.

    With all the teeth whitening options available today, why should you ask for Philips Zoom? The in-office whitening technology delivers proven results, and can whiten your teeth up to eight shades in just one procedure!

    Philips Zoom WhiteSpeed uses advanced LED light-activated technology to deliver maximum results with variable intensity settings. The procedure doesn’t take long; just 45 minutes of your time can greatly improve the appearance of your smile.

    This new teeth whitening technology is great for the average patient who wants a brighter smile and is also effective for those with severe tooth discoloration. Philips Zoom WhiteSpeed is the #1 patient-requested professional whitening brand.

    The in-office treatments can also be combined with Philips Zoom NiteWhite take-home treatment to produce an average improvement of 11 shades of whitening. If you’re looking for the best in teeth whitening technology, look no further than Philips Zoom.

    Zen Dental Center is proud to provide in-office tooth whitening treatments in Seattle. We also offer several other treatments including:

    We can make your smile beautiful and we are proud to accept most PPO insurance plans. We utilize state-of-the-art technology including Philips Zoom in-office whitening technology and also speak English, Spanish, and Japanese.

    To schedule an appointment with Zen Dental Center, contact us at 206-324-1100 today.

  • The Pros and Cons of Over-the-Counter Teeth Whiteners

    Over-the-Counter Teeth Whiteners Seattle

    The Pros and Cons of Over-the-Counter Teeth Whiteners

    Every time you walk down the toothpaste aisle, you stop and stare at the over-the-counter teeth whiteners. You really want to brighten up your smile, but you are skeptical of these whitening agents because they are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and they do not carry the American Dental Association’s seal of approval.

    Plus, if they really did all they claim (whiter teeth by tomorrow, anyone?), then why would you pay more to get your teeth whitened by a professional?

    If you are on the fence about whether over-the-counter teeth whiteners are right for you, then take a look at some of these pros and cons before contacting the local dental experts at Zen Dental today!


    Initial cost

    In most cases, over-the-counter teeth whitening agents are far cheaper at the initial outset than professional whitening services. Kits usually cost around $10 – $50.


    You don’t have to set up an appointment with your dentist to get whiter teeth. Simply stop by your local grocery store at your leisure and pick up a box of teeth whitening strips. What could be easier?

    Lots of options

    There are a wide variety of over-the-counter teeth whitening agents to choose from, so you are sure to find something that works great for you! If you don’t like the strips, try the gels, trays, toothpastes, flosses, or mouthwashes.

    Easy maintenance

    Once you have found a product that you like, you can use another kit to make sure that your teeth don’t yellow again.


    Overall cost

    Sure, the initial cost of a box of over-the-counter teeth whitening strips may be under $50, but what people fail to realize is that they must purchase a new kit each time their smile needs a touch up. Once you have touched up once or twice, you could have easily purchased a professional kit that requires less maintenance.


    When it comes to effective teeth whitening, it’s all about the concentration of hydrogen peroxide in the mix. Over-the-counter teeth whitening products usually contain around 6% to 10% hydrogen peroxide, which bubbles away mild stains. Professional whitening trays contain up to 15% hydrogen peroxide while in-office whitening treatments contain concentrations of up to 35%. In other words, over-the-counter whitening strips will work for mild whitening needs, but if your teeth have moderate to severe staining, you will need a more effective product.

    Uneven whitening

    Whitening strips are really only good for straight, even teeth. If your teeth are crooked or slanted, the gel may not reach certain sections of enamel, leaving behind uneven white patches. You may even experience bleached or burned gums since the application method is not specifically fitted to the teeth.

    Treatment time

    It may take two or more weeks to complete the treatment and see noticeable results. With such a long treatment time, you may start to experience extreme tooth discomfort and sensitivity. Also, the whitening effect may only last for a few months, so multiple treatments may be needed to maintain the effect.

    For more information on how to whiten your smile, call 206-926-8818 today!

  • Brighten Your Teeth Naturally with These Healthy Foods

    Natural Teeth with Healthy Food

    Brighten Your Teeth Naturally with These Healthy Foods

    Everyone wants brighter, whiter teeth, but not all people have the money to splurge on over-the counter teeth whiteners or expensive professional teeth whitening services.

    Do not despair! You too can have a brighter smile with just a quick trip to the local grocery store.

    There are many common foods that can help whiten naturally without the use of harsh chemicals, bleaches, or trips to the dentist. Here is a glimpse at some of the best foods our Seattle dental experts recommend to naturally brighten your smile.


    Ok, so this is technically a drink, but as it is one of the most important things you can put into your body, it gets the top spot on our teeth whitening list. Drinking water is not only the best thirst quencher out there, but it helps wash acid-producing foods from the mouth. If you are a wine or coffee drinker or love dark, pigmented foods like blueberries, simply sip and swish between glasses or bites to prevent staining. Keep to still water, though. Sparkling water can erode enamel and harm teeth.


    Though they may stain your clothes, strawberries are excellent for teeth whitening. The malic acid in strawberries acts as a natural astringent to remove surface stains. Want to mash one up and put it on your toothbrush? Go right ahead!

    Seeds and nuts

    If you want a natural exfoliator for your teeth, then break out your party mix! The abrasive texture of almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and cashews are perfect for removing surface stains.

    Apples, celery, and carrots

    Crunching into fibrous fruits and veggies are not only great for your figure, but they can actually help strengthen your gums. The high water content of these foods also gets the saliva flowing, washing away bacteria that could lead to discoloration.


    Think of broccoli as your go-to high-fiber tooth scrubber. Eating crisp, raw broccoli cleans and polishes teeth and provides a natural wall of protection against enamel-degrading acids, which helps prevent stains and cavities.

    Citrus fruits

    Mouth-watering fruits like oranges and grapefruit act as a mouthwash, encouraging saliva production and washing the teeth clean naturally. Pineapple is also the only natural source of bromelain, an anti-inflammatory and cleansing compound that is an effective ingredient in many tooth-whitening toothpastes.


    Yogurt, milk, and cheese are excellent sources of calcium, an essential component for strong teeth. Cheese is especially good for your teeth because it contains phosphorous and a protein called casein, which combines with calcium to help stabilize and repair tooth enamel. Hard cheeses are best for healthy teeth because they help remove food particles as well.

    Brighter, whiter teeth are within your reach! Just stock your pantry or fridge with these delicious foods and you will be well on your way to healthier teeth and gums. At Zen Dental in Seattle , we are committed to bringing out your most beautiful smile, so give us a call today to find out more information!

    Want to learn more about natural teeth whitening? Call 206-926-8818!