We test three whitening treatments to see which gives the best results
The quick treatment
Smile Express by WhiteScience We arrive at the dental clinic and have a brief chat about particular foods that can stain the teeth (turns out green tea is worse than black tea, purely because we usually drink the former without milk), before being reclined and having a ready-prepared mouth guard popped into our mouth. A blue light is shined on our teeth, and a timer counts down for 20 minutes as a whitening gel-soaked foam pushes into our gnashers. When the time is up, we’re invited to look at our teeth in the mirror: while they aren’t super white, they’ve gone from a butter yellow colour to a nice ivory tone. We leave beaming, sensitivity free and truly impressed by how fuss-free the process is.
Pros • The Dental Studio feels like a spa, with jugs of lemon water and luxury products in the toilets. • This process is painless and fast – you’ll be in and out in 20 minutes.
Cons • The treatment will whiten your teeth by about two to three shades, rather than the seven or eight promised by the (even) pricier options. Dhs1,500 per session. The Dental Studio, Jumeirah (04 395 5095)
The laser treatment
Plasma Power Whitening After preparing ourselves for a major op, we’re surprised to learn the whitening part of the experience will be the quickest. First up, we’re checked for cavities (the procedure can’t be performed if you have gaping holes in your not-so-pearly whites). Mercifully, we appear to be cavity-free, so it’s on to the cleaning part (our least favourite) to scrape away plaque build-up, before we’re flossed and ready to go. As we count down the 35-minute whitening session, there are a few moments of pain isolated in one or two teeth, but once the gel is off and we’re fully rinsed, there’s just a little sensitivity for the next 24 hours. Our teeth are only four shades lighter, but we’re given a home kit to continue the process, which we’re told will take us up to the nine-shade mark. Not as scary as we’d first thought, and our faith in relatively pain-free dentistry is restored.
Pros • The Dental Spa boasts TV screens on the ceiling, which meant we were able to watch Friends during the procedure – it almost took our mind off the plaque-chiselling. • You’re in safe, knowledgeable hands. • Speaking of hands, you can opt for a hand or foot massage during the treatment. • You’ll leave with a new-found awareness of the different foods that stain your teeth. • You’ll also get your teeth cleaned (in our case, it was long overdue).
Cons • There’s still work to be done once you get home. • It’s pretty expensive, although there’s a sale on this month. Dhs1,000 per session until the end of February (normally Dhs3,000). The Dental Spa, Jumeirah Beach Road (04 395 2005)
The bleach treatment
If you’re thinking about bleaching your not-so-pearlies, bear in mind that they need to be ultra-clean first. We had to book in for a cleaning session – the most painful part of the process, having left it too long since our last trip to the hygienist. Once our gums had calmed down a few days later, it was time to get down to business. Our mouth was held open by a retractor, while a whitening gel containing bleach peroxide – the same chemical used to highlight hair – was used to cover our teeth. A UV light was then directed at our gnashers for three 15-minute bursts. Fortunately, our teeth had a good ‘base colour’ and brightened by around five shades, and we were given a plastic tray to be used every three months to keep them that way.
Pros • The treatment was done and dusted in an hour and a quarter. • It was relatively pain-free – we actually dozed off a few times. • We saw an immediate difference. Cons • We experienced shooting pains in one tooth at the end of the session. • It’s not cheap – but worth it if you’re self-conscious about your teeth. Dhs3,400 for whitening and home kit. Dr Nicholas and Asp, Jumeirah (04 394 7777)