Leica HM500: Headmounted Dental Microscope
The MH guide to teeth whitening
With this method the whitening gel is placed in a mouth-guard – custom-made to fit – which is worn for a set period of time over anything from a week to a month. "The period you wear the trays for depends on the concentration of the peroxide gel and can be anything from one hour to overnight," says Goolnik. Those who don't fancy scaring their partner with a nightlyJawsimpression need not fret. "Generally, if you wear [the trays] every day for about half an hour for three or four weeks you'll get a really good result," says Druian.
Pros of tray-based whitening:You can target just the upper or lower teeth. Cheaper than lasering.
Cons:It takes a minimum of 10-14 days to get the full effect and teeth can be sensitive during this time.
The damage:Around £250 at most dental practices.
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Over-the-counter DIY whitening products
Ever put something in your mouth you shouldn't have? If so, that's a whole other issue. If not, don't start now. "Most whitening toothpastes do nothing," says Goolnik. "Some of those bought abroad can actually harm your teeth as they contain acids or abrasives that can cause permanent damage – and the best any can achieve is stopping new stains from forming."
Avoid chancers plying 'miracle' teeth whitening treatments in shopping malls, too. "All they often do is dry the teeth out, which makes them appear whiter for about a week – and there's also been cases of burnt gums, lips and cheeks," says Druian. Nothing to smile about there.
Strip-based products are the only proven over-the-counter system. "These are thin, flexible transparent bands that are coated with a tooth-whitening gel containing 6% hydrogen peroxide and are designed to mould to your teeth," explains Goolnik. Trysmilestrips.co.uk.
Pros of DIY whitening products:No moulds. Cheap.
Cons:Fiddly to use. Takes 10-14 days to get full effect. Potentially harmful products on the market so we still advise consulting your dentist.
The damage:From £45.
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