I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that for a while now, I have been craving a nice white smile. If you read my '2015 - Looking Forward' post you may remember that one of my goals for this year was to get those white teeth I've wanted for so long. My teeth have been a work in progress for a good 3-4 years now as my mouth was seriously overcrowded and I had two very prominent 'fangs' so braces were a must. I had 4 teeth removed and wore my braces for almost 3 years. I'm so pleased I went through with getting braces, they're not pleasant but so worth it. I did however, get mine taken off before I was 100% happy which I do regret but they're still pretty straight and I still wear my retainer almost every night.
Anyhow, the next issue was the colour. I don't smoke, I don't drink tea or coffee, I don't drink red wine or eat a lot of curry but my teeth have always been dull and quite yellow, especially nearer the gums. There's so many salon based treatments out there and products you can buy online or off the shelf but I've always been apprehensive, hearing stories about salon treatments being illegal due to their use of an unsafe amount of bleach or teeth damaging procedures. Finally I bit the bullet and paid the price for an at home treatment from my dentist as it was the only option I 100% trusted, despite it costing a lot more than other options. I paid £250 for the Whitewash Teeth Whitening Gel treatment.
This involved 3 dentist visits; The first was to get impressions of my teeth for the creation of the trays. If you've ever had braces you'll know that getting impressions is pretty disgusting but it doesn't take long and is a necessity, basically involving a gooey substance being pressed in trays against each set of teeth for about a minute, which will then set after removal. The second visit was to get my kit. Everything comes packaged nicely in a white box which includes the clear and flexible trays, a box to keep them in, 4 syringes filled with 3ML of 6% hydrogen peroxide each with a cap on and four applicator tips as well as 3 detailed information booklets/cards. My dentist also gave me my impressions to take home (eww, so strange) and a tube of Sensodyne paste in case of any sensitivity which is a common complaint with whitening. The third visit was a check up to see how I was getting on and the rest was all completed at home.
I'm hoping that many dentists will stock Whitewash or a similar system so that this post will be helpful. The brand also offer whitening strips but I was told that, although they are a cheaper option, there isn't as much of a difference in teeth colour compared to the gel. They have another type of gel treatment too which uses carbamide peroxide, containing slow release ingredients allowing for overnight use. Your dentist will discuss the best option for you.
Onto my treatment, Whitewash states that the hydrogen peroxide gel is fast acting, working very well for heavily stained teeth. The formula includes potassium nitrate for desensitisation, calcium and fluoride for remineralisation and soothing aloe vera as well as having a high water content which prevents tooth dehydration and fade-back. It's an easy system to use; prior to use teeth must be clean, however, you shouldn't brush immediately before the treatment, I would wait 20-30 minutes after brushing before applying the gel, then you simply take off the cap on one syringe and screw in the applicator, load the amount of gel stated by your dentist into the trays and place them around your teeth, applying gentle pressure, and leave them for 90 minutes (I would often do 2 hours). The trays should be cleaned after each use with a soft brush and water, ensuring your not destructing the shape and not using warm water (or they will melt!). Due to the gel residue left on my teeth, after each use I would gently brush my teeth with water.
So, this is an easy to use, well presented and well explained system which can be done at home. I found the trays really comfortable to wear and there was no strange smell from the gel, I would only be able to taste it when removing the trays if I had applied quite a lot of gel, but it wasn't an unbearable taste. I did however find that it was hard to maintain this routine every day which is recommended as you need a good 2 hours - 2 and a half hours free at home which doesn't interfere with meal times (dedicating over 2 hours to not eating isn't easy for someone who is constantly hungry like myself haha). When I was coming home from uni or work, eating, getting ready and then going out for the night it wasn't possible to do the treatment which is why the whole thing has taken a lot longer than expected (My first treatment was on the 6th of February and my last was the 15th of April). It is a long process but it doesn't take much effort and Whitewash do state that whitening that is done slowly and steadily will produce longer lasting results. Another thing to bare in mind is that during the process of bleaching, teeth will be more susceptible to staining from things like smoking, red wine, coffee and curry so if you're a smoker or a bit of a coffee addict, treatment will not be anywhere near as effective. Luckily this hasn't been a problem for me. Thankfully I suffered from very minimal sensitivity during the treatment with just one occasion when the cold wind got to my teeth, this will vary for everyone though so do be cautious if you already experience frequent sensitivity.
I'm sure after all that rambling all you're really interested in is if it worked. The answer is yes, it did. My teeth are definitely a few shades whiter but they still look very natural, friends and family have noticed and complimented my whiter teeth which is always a good feeling. I'm not going to lie and say I love them as I do think they still appear on the yellow side and the contrast is still there between the more white shade nearer the end of the teeth and the more yellow shade nearer the gums. I was never expecting a Hollywood smile, I just don't know if I could've gotten the same results from something cheaper like Crest white strips. However, it's one of those things that is hard for you to notice yourself as the change is so gradual, it's not until now when I look at the photo comparisons that I realise that there is actually quite a difference! The first three photos were from various times before the treatment whereas the two other rows of photos were actually taken on the same day with about an hour between them, showing that they can look different shades in different light! It is recommended that they are topped up once a year, with subsequent treatments costing around £20. I really do apologise for this essay of a post but I hope it was useful, any more questions just give me a message via email or Twitter! Have you tried any teeth whitening products?