Inside teeth whitening

For a long time I wasn’t into lipstick. It started because when I first got into make-up I absolutely loved eyeshadow. In fact all cosmetics which go on the eyes were my jam – liner, mascara, glitter, you name it I loved it. I moved on to smokey eyes, experimented with colours and different types of mascara. It kept me very busy, and it meant I didn’t bother with lipstick above or beyond a nude.

Then I was bridesmaid for one of my best friends, and we all decided to wear red lipstick. This was my first outing in a bright lip colour and I was prepared to feel self-conscious and weird, but I didn’t. Not at all. I felt glamorous and decadent, in short I fell in love with lips.

Fast forward four years and I’m a complete devote with more lipsticks than is seemly for someone in their 30s. I wear them all the time… or at least I did. Until I saw a photo of myself and realised how yellow my teeth had become.

I knew they weren’t as white as Simon Cowell’s or anything, but this was the equivalent of those pictures people who lost 15 stone with WeightWatchers say spurred them into action. If there was a weekly meeting to purge your pearly whites of stains and discolouration I would have been a fully paid-up annual subscriber.

My teeth are straight and they are large, I’m lucky I’ve never had to have braces and the work I’ve had done is hidden at the back of my mouth. My smile is big and toothy, which means there was no hiding from the yellow. And it seemed like once I’d noticed it that was all I could see; just huge slabs of yellow beaming out of my face at me. Something had to be done.

Enter Enlighten. One of the reasons I haven’t had professional whitening before is because I’m terrified of having sensitive teeth. I suffer with sensitivity a little bit anyway, and I was loathe to do anything to make it worse. So this system of whitening appealed to me as it’s especially for people who have my worries.

It works with trays, rather than a laser. I had it done at the Chelsea Dental Clinic with Dr Rhona Eskander who was lovely and I would thoroughly recommend. She put me completely at ease and listened to my catalogue (Argos in terms of thickness, rather than one of those skinny Sunday supplement ones) of fears and very much put me at ease. She explained laser whitening isn’t actually that good for your teeth as all it does is dehydrate them, and it’s this lack of water and drying of them which makes them look whiter.

So Enlighten was recommended and the first stage is to have trays made; moulds are taken and two weeks later you go back to check they fit. Then I had a treatment to guard against sensitivity (some special stuff was put on my teeth basically, it took about five minutes) and I was sent home with my kit. It contains two tubes of gel, one which is 10% and one 16%. You start on the lower one for a week, then switch to the higher strength.

You put a dot of gel on each tooth area in your mould, pop them in and go to bed – that’s it. Well nearly… ZAPPING. If you’ve had your teeth whitened you’ll probably know what this is… it’s what it sounds like. A little zapping shock you get if any of your teeth are sensitive. I had it on two teeth on the first night and it did hurt a lot, but only for a few seconds. My problem was then I couldn’t sleep because I was so paranoid about it happening again!

Within the pack you get these sticks which have a desensitiser in them to help with this. All you do is spread it on your teeth, wait 20 seconds and then put your trays in. After night ZAPPING one I did this and hurrah it didn’t happen to me again.

I did have a bit of sensitivity here and there though, so I skipped one night out of the 14 to give my teeth a rest. Then it was back to the dentist to have a check and a final in-chair treatment. It just consists of a different gel being put in your trays and you wearing them for 40 minutes. This one works faster, so it’s a kind of supersized treatment.

So how are my teeth? They are most definitely whiter, a lot whiter. I’m not completely done yet, my dentist has advised me to do two more weeks of tray wearing at night to achieve the hallowed B1 of whiteness.

But even now my teeth look better – I had another best friend’s wedding last week and I rocked a matte red lipstick for the first time in months.