I’ve been thinking about getting my teeth whitened for a while. There’s nothing more aging than yellowing teeth but I’ve been scared off my stories about sensitivity. With a family wedding around the corner though, I decided to take the plunge.
I went to my usual dentists – North Carolina Dental Practice, the Karachi arm of Lahore-based Rahman and Rahman, who I used to go to when I lived in Lahore many years ago. (Btw, this isn’t a sponsored post – the dentists didn’t ask me to review their treatment and I paid for my treatment like any other client.)
I went in for a normal scaling and polishing treatment – the basic ‘tooth cleaning” that removes plaque build up – but wasn’t happy because there were still stains on my teeth. I don’t smoke and don’t drink a lot of tea or coffee but my teeth aren’t perfectly aligned and they do tend to get stained. So I opted for a prophy scaling – which is basically a high pressure salt water clean that blasts the stains off your teeth.
I have to say, I’m a major fan of prophy scaling. I had it done for the first time about a year ago and it removed some really stubborn stains. I’ve been really particular about flossing as well as brushing this year to maintain the look so I had far fewer stains this year. It’s a little more uncomfortable than normal scaling. They put this mouth expander on to keep your lips out of the way and if the high pressure spray gets through your teeth onto your tongue it feels slightly painful. I have gaps in my teeth so I asked them to cover my tongue with part of a rubber dam, after which it was perfectly comfortable.
The prophy scaling handled all the stains but my dentist Amal said that whitening would bring the basic colour of my teeth from a B2 to and A1. I had no idea what that mean so she showed me some samples. Personally I thought my teeth were a shade yellower than B2, but she assured me that we’d get them up to A1.
I went in for the whitening procedure the next day. It takes about an hour. First they put on a mouth expander and then paint your teeth with the whitening product. Then they put some goggles on you and shine a blue light at your teeth for twenty minutes. The procedure is called BriteSmile, as I recall if you want to google it.
It wasn’t very comfortable to wear the mouth expander for that length of time but the dentist and her assistant we constantly on hand making sure I was ok. I felt a bit like I was in an alien movie in the darkened room, with the blue lamp hovering over my teeth – but then I have an overactive imagination 🙂
After twenty minutes she showed me the result, let me rinse out my mouth and started the second twenty minute session. I was a little tired by this point and wasn’t looking forward to the second session but NCDP threw in a free foot massage with their whitening! They asked one of the girls from Mint Beauty Solutions upstairs to come down and give me a foot massage while the brightening lamp was working on my teeth. It was utter bliss – those twenty minutes flew by. I’m a nervous dental patient in general so if I had my way, every dental treatment would come with a soothing foot massage!
When the second twenty minute session was up, the dentist polished my teeth and showed me the result. My teeth really were up to the A1 colour she had promised and I couldn’t stop giving myself toothy grins in the mirror!
In terms of after care, they tell you not to eat anything that might stain a white shirt for the next 24 hours. That means no tea, coffee, or coke and no coloured foods such as berries, mangoes or anything with haldi. Of course I immediately started craving chai but I held out. I replaced my morning cup of green tea with a cup of hot water and lemon and avoided all the curries at home for the next day.
I did feel a few twinges of sensitivity for the next 24 hours. OK more than just twinges – a few stabs of shooting pain in my lower teeth. Curiously my upper teeth were fine but then my lower teeth tend to be a little sensitive anyway. The dentist recommended Sensodyne, which I was using anyway. My teeth had calmed down within 48 hours and I have little sensitivity now.
The entire procedure wasn’t cheap but it wasn’t prohibitively expensive either. I paid Rs7,000 for scaling and prophy scaling combined, while the tooth whitening was Rs35,000. I also paid Rs2,500 for a tooth whitening foam, Daily White, which the dentist recommended for maintenance.
I’m not sure how long the effect will last, but I’ll add an update to this at three months and six months. For the time being though, I’m very happy with the result!
For those asking for contact details for NCDP Karachi: