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The do's and don'ts of teeth whitening

All your questions answered…

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Ainhoa Barcelona
Ainhoa BarcelonaContent Managing Editor
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They say your teeth are the second part of your face that people look at after your eyes, and in today's world where everyone from influencers to A-listers have megawatt smiles, it's easy to see why teeth whitening is on the rise. Who doesn't want a set of dazzling pearly whites? There are so many options out there but the most important decision you have to make while researching is, where to have it done and what kind of treatment is best for you. I chose to have it done at Smilepod as they came highly recommended and after my initial consultation, I was given the at-home Philips Zoom! DayWhite kit, which is best in the long term. Read on for everything you need to know...

phillips zoom

The at-home kit comes with three whitening syringes

How does teeth whitening work?

Firstly, you'll visit the dentist to have impressions of your teeth done to make into mouth guards. I only had to wait for one week before my mouth guards were ready and I was back in the dentist chair, being shown how to use my at-home kit. I must admit, I had initially hoped to have an in-chair treatment at the dentist, just so that I could have the treatment over and done with in one visit, but I was surprised at how simple and easy to use the at-home kit is.

You simply squirt a tiny amount of bleaching gel onto your mouth guards and put them on; my dentist recommended just doing the central six top and bottom teeth as they're the most visible and it means your gel supply doesn't run out as quickly, but you can apply gel to every single tooth. The mouth guards were perfectly comfortable to wear and really straightforward to use.

Once at home, it depends on your kit and your needs, but I was told to wear my mouth guards for two hours per day for two weeks, and advised not to eat for one hour after each session. You can't eat or drink while you have your mouth guards in as this can affect the bleaching gel, so it requires a bit of time management. I found doing the treatment in the evenings after dinner and just before bedtime the least disruptive to my routine, but if you're a bit of a social butterfly and out and about most evenings, then an overnight kit might be best.

teeth whitenening mould

Squirt the teeth whitening gel into your moulds

What results can I expect?

I was genuinely amazed by how quickly the treatment worked. I had minor staining on my teeth and after the first session, the stains had already lightened if not completely disappeared. I was floored! I noticed my front teeth in particular looked brighter and whiter and I immediately felt more confident and content about my gnashers. I was also amazed by how little gel you need to apply to each tooth for it to work. The at-home kit was so effective, I'm a total convert now!

If you're thinking about having your teeth whitened, make sure you read the following dos and don'ts.

DO go to the dentist to have teeth whitening done. There are some at-home kits that you can buy over the counter in countries including the US, or some beauty salons may offer teeth whitening, but it should only be carried out by a dental professional. Go to the dentist, I can't emphasise it enough! At £299 a pop, the consultation and treatment plan don't come cheap, but it's totally worth it.

DO the treatment well in advance if you're preparing for a big event like a wedding or a party. Your dentist will tell you how long your treatment plan will take, which can be around two to four weeks, or as little as one if you're using an overnight kit. So make sure you have it done well in advance.

DO brush your teeth before you wear your mouth guards with gel. You want the gel to bleach your teeth not the remnants of your lunch stuck in your teeth! And also brush your teeth after removing your mouth guards to get rid of any excess gel.

DO expect sensitivity if you have sensitive teeth. During my first few sessions, I found that my teeth did ache a bit and I felt jolts of pain in a couple of teeth but this passed quickly and didn't cause any long term pain. The dentist warned me beforehand that I might feel some discomfort. If you're really suffering, you can always take a day off from wearing the mouth guards to give your teeth a break.

DO have realistic expectations. The bleach can't make your teeth completely white but it can certainly lighten them by a few shades. I was so happy with my results, but the outcome depends on each person and how stained your teeth were in the first place. The gel doesn't work on dentures, crowns, fillings or veneers.


Smilepod offers teeth whitening treatments

DON'T squirt too much gel onto your mouth guard. You only need a small amount to make it effective and you don't want to have too much bleach on your gum line as this can damage the gums.

DON'T eat or drink while wearing the mouth guards. I thought I'd be able to drink water at least during the two-hour sessions, but this is not advised as the water can get into your brace and dilute the bleach, making it less effective. It sounds like a long time but I quickly got used to not reaching for the water.

DON'T eat food for an hour after taking your mouth guard out, especially acidic food if you have sensitive teeth. It goes without saying, tea, coffee and red wine stain teeth faster.

DON'T go overboard. It's recommended to have your teeth professionally whitened once a year maximum. I was advised that the at-home kit was best for me in the long term than an in-chair treatment. Teeth whitening can last for a few months or even a couple of years depending on what you eat and whether you're a smoker.

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