Everyone wants a Hollywood smile. One of those broad grins that shows off two neat rows of pearly whites. But at what cost? It's used to be common knowledge that whitening formulas will make your teeth hella sensitive, but is that still true? Your mouth is such an delicate part of your body that people are sometimes scared of the effect that these whitening formulas can have on teeth and gums.
I've used home kits for a while, trying out different products for a whiter smile, but I had long wanted to try out laser whitening. Was professional whitening the way forward?
Spoiler: Yes. Yes it was. I headed over to the Beauty and Smile clinic in central London for a one-hour laser whitening sesh.
What can you expect at Beauty and Smile?
The clinic is tucked away on a side road off Oxford Street. It's a small and unassuming building, with bright and airy interiors and a friendly receptionist, who immediately made me feel at ease as we chatted about the treatment and life in general. She was one of those lovely people who, before you know it, you've told your life story to without even realising, and who seemed happy to hear it whether she wanted to or not.
There was a very communal feeling about the clinic; a small, friendly, well run business. The treatment room was light and comfortable, and didn't feel at all like the claustrophobic dentist surgeries I was used to. In truth, I found the bed a little uncomfortable to spend a whole hour on, but as soon as I told my dentist, he immediately went in search of a pillow for my head. There was a woman observing my treatment who was in training, and both of them were welcoming and made me feel like I was in good hands. I was caught in the epicentre of a particularly bad cold, to the point where I needed a tissue tucked into my sleeve at all times, and I feel I may have scared the trainee when I had a coughing fit mid-treatment whilst the dentist was fetching my pillow. It was particularly hard to tell her I was okay and that I just had a cold with a 'cheek retractor' placed in my mouth to stop my lips from touching my teeth.
What's involved in teeth whitening?
An initial consultation is needed to ensure you're suitable for the teeth whitening. It's nothing scary, but just makes sure you don't have any teeth or gum issues that could affect your treatment. After I was given the all-clear, I was ushered over to the uncomfortable lounger to start the treatment: an hour-long laser whitening.
To start with, the dentist noted what shade my teeth were at before the treatment so we could compare how many shades whiter they were by the end. Then the cheek retractor was placed in my mouth and a hardening, gel-like substance was applied to my gums in order to stop the bleach treatment that was to be applied to my teeth from seeping onto them. Next was the bleach treatment, applied directly onto my teeth, which was then activated by a large LED laser light that was placed in front of my mouth. The process of applying the treatment and then using the light was repeated three separate times at 20 minute intervals.
So, does it actually work?
In short, yes it does. I could see on the colour chart my teeth were at least two shades whiter over the course of the treatment. I was worried about the sensitivity of my teeth post-treatment - I have a couple of teeth that are already particularly sensitive - but they felt exactly the same after the treatment. There hasn't been any sensitivity since, either. I asked my dentist why this presumption exists, and he said that the level of hydrogen peroxide - the stuff that brings out the sensitivity - contained within the teeth whitening products used to be much higher; it has now been reduced to 6%, meaning the risk of sensitivity is much lower than it used to be. In fact, the only uncomfortable thing is the cheek retractor, which can get a bit achey after an hour.
I would recommend getting the custom trays to get your teeth even whiter after your treatment. The trays they create are moulded to your teeth so you don't get any seepage when using them, unlike generic trays bought in other home whitening packages. This means you can leave your trays in for longer without risking any damage to your gums or mouth.
Where can I get my teeth done and how much does it cost?
Laser teeth whitening with Beauty and Smile normally costs £199, but SoFeminine readers can get the treatment at a discounted price of £79 by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and using the code SOFEMININE within the email. For more information on Beauty and Smile's London clinics visit beautyandsmile.co.uk.
Have you ever had your teeth whitened? What did you think? Let us know! @sofeminineUK
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