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Professional teeth whitening
Want a quick and simple way to a dazzling smile? Us too. But is there such a thing? Bh finds out…
What: At-home teeth whitening treatment
Where: Sydney Dental Professionals
1st appointment: 40 minutes for consultation and impressions
2nd appointment: 30 minutes to collect trays and instructions
3rd appointment (two weeks later): check up
I’d heard about teeth whitening, who hasn’t, but was always a tad sceptical given that the enamel on my front two teeth has started to erode. However, in my line of duty, I was bound to have to put it through its paces at some point, especially when everywhere you look these day, there are pearly whites smiling back at you.
When I arrived at Sydney Dental Professionals I was introduced to Dr Jeffery Albert and we had a chat about my teeth concerns and expectations; I explained that I wasn’t looking for a Ross-from-Friends glow-in-the-dark smile but that I was disappointed my teeth had started to yellow.
He asked me if, as I result of this, I brushed harder. The answer was yes which is the worst thing that you can do as it removes enamel, which is actually the whitest part of your teeth, and once that’s gone, there’s no getting it back. He talked me through my two options: custom-made take-home trays – this is the more popular option as it provides good results and is relatively inexpensive – and in-chair whitening where a light is used to enhance the effects of Zoom whitening gel. In-chair whitening usually takes about 90 minutes in total, however, it can produce more temporary sensitivity so Dr Albert suggested I go for custom-made trays.
Before the impressions of my top and bottom teeth were taken, Dr Albert cleaned my teeth thoroughly to ensure that the trays would fit perfectly against my teeth. He did warn me that the gel used to create the mould would taste slightly unpleasant but I didn’t find it bad at all. That was my first appointment over. I booked to return a week later to collect the trays.
At my second appointment Dr Albert checked that the trays fitted correctly and demonstrated how to use the gel, only a small amount is needed for each ‘tooth’ so that it doesn’t touch your gums and increase sensitivity. Before I was packed off with my trays, my Daywhite gel and instructions to apply it before bed, after brushing, for one hour only, we colour matched my teeth so that we could trace improvement. (I was an A3.5 on my canines and A1 on my centrals. Canines are always yellower apparently.)
Seven days later, at the end of my course, my teeth were feeling a little bit sensitive, though not painful. Dr Albert’s handy hint of using Colgate Sensitive Whitening Toothpaste in the trays for 10 minutes in the shower each day helped a lot. At the follow-up appointment you could definitely see a difference but I still hoped for a little bit more (had I gone all Hollywood diva?) so I upgraded to the Nitewhite gel which you apply in the same manner, the only difference being that you wear the tray all night for seven nights. I definitely needed the sensitivity toothpaste trick for this one but it was worth it as when I went back to Dr Albert for my final visit I was thrilled with the change. After colour match they were off the charting system and into the bleaching shades! I could really see the difference in photos, not to mention the comments I received from friends and family.
The whole process took about two months, and though a little costly, is definitely worth it in my opinion. It’s made me feel happier with my smile and it’s nice to know also that if I have a big event coming up I can just get out the trays – if you care for them correctly: rinse them in cold water after use and store in the container they’ll last you forever – and gel for a quick touch-up.
Recommendations from Dr Albert:
During the whitening you should avoid food, drinks and activities that stain eg. tea, coffee, red wine, curry and smoking.
Make your appointment to assess your suitability for teeth whitening at least a month before any big event.
Trays are usually worn for seven nights, although this may need to be prolonged if teeth are particularly dark or a greyish shade.
Use your whitening trays the night before an event to ensure that extra sparkle on the day.
A tan and dark lipstick will make your teeth look even whiter.