Teeth whitening reaffirms the famous quote, ‘A smile is the best makeup any girl can wear,’ by Marilyn Monroe. The bombshell Hollywood star was right for smiling is the most powerful facial expression humans have. It conveys to the world you are joyful, and smiling is infectious because when you see someone else smile you instinctively want to smile too, boosting your own mood.
And as Johnny Mathis crooned, ‘a certain smile a certain face, can lead an unsuspecting heart on a merry chase’, how many great romances were all started with just a smile? But if seeing your own teeth on Zoom videos has left you secretly pleased of the excuse to be wearing a mask when out and about, then it is time to turn those gnarly gnashers into pristine pearly whites that you will want to flash to all and sundry when we no longer need to cover our noses and mouths.
Certainly, my own teeth were in much need of a makeover. The pandemic meant, like many others, I had missed my usual dental and hygiene appointments and it’s pretty grim what builds up after 12 months on one’s teeth left unchecked. Despite brushing twice daily with a high street whitening toothpaste and remember to floss, my teeth had lost their usual white gleam and months of heavy tea drinking as the colder weather set in had taken the toll on their colour.
Unfairly, some celebrities seem to have retained their perfect white ivory keys. How I wondered. Turns out they have been making trips to the King of Smiles, cosmetic dentist Dr Richard Marques. Dr Marques is the man behind the beautiful smiles of singing sensations Rita Ora and Dua Lipa, actor Russell Tovey, Olympian Tom Daley and many more.
I hot-footed it to his luxurious practice in Devonshire Place, Marylebone, where I am welcomed inside a smart waiting area and offered some water before being shown into Richard’s surgery. It’s spacious and doesn’t have all the off-putting cleaning smells I normally associate with dentists. Painted white doves flying out from clouds adorn the ceiling, while an array of fashion books, personally signed to Dr Marques from the design duo Dolce and Gabbana, are scattered about the place.
A nurse takes my coat and bag and I am asked to lie down on a white leather chair, whereupon Richard begins the consultation on what aesthetic I hope to achieve. This is followed by asking me questions about my oral hygiene routine, when I last had my teeth examined and cleaned, and if I had I experienced any pain and bleeding?
The service commences with a thorough and detailed examination of my teeth and mouth, first checking my gums for signs of inflammation and my teeth for any cavities. Next, digital X-Rays are taken to see if there has been any bone loss and deterioration.
Given the all clear and told my gums and teeth are in good health, I am deemed a suitable candidate for teeth whitening. Dr Marque’s signature treatment is what he terms a lunchtime smile makeover which leaves teeth up to ten shades whiter.
I am slightly sceptical that my own teeth will be whitened to perfection in less time than it takes to run to Pret and grab a salad and coffee in my lunch hour, but Dr Marques assures me I will be delighted with the results and take a ‘before’ image of my teeth.
Before the whitening process, impressions are taken for teeth whitening trays. It’s a little fiddly and the mould feels funny in the mouth, but any uncomfortable feeling is only for a few moments while the mould hardens and then whisked away to the dental technician to be made up into personalised trays to use at home.
Of course, just as a painter cleans down the wall of dust and dirt before priming and decorating it, Dr Marques cleans the teeth to make sure there is not a trace of plaque, so the whitening gel can do its work unhindered. He uses an airflow system which sprays a bicarbonate solution onto the teeth dissolving any tartar and follows up by giving them a good polish.
Then to the finale. I check the clock and see 30 minutes has passed. Dr Marques, who hails from a line of dentists with their roots in Portugal, explains his treatment is perfect for those short on time but with expectations on big results.
The trend in teeth is a move towards whitening and straightening he explains. “People have probably never looked so much at themselves before and while talking on Zoom or Google Hangouts video calls they now see how their teeth and smile look like to other people. There has been a rise in the number of people seeking whitening in order to achieve a nice, bright smile and whitening the teeth are not that an invasive treatment, but still offers instant results.”
Before he paints the peroxide gel on my teeth I have a slight moment of trepidation and ask him for assurances that I won’t leave with an artificial fake-looking smile. Dr Marques explains every patient has their own unique preferred aesthetic and my treatment will ensure a more natural level of whiteness that enhances the appearance in a subtle way.
Mind reassured, Dr Marques places the whitening gel on the teeth, explaining how the gel is “able to pass through the pores of the enamel without affecting them in any way.” Once the gel is painted on, the next step is a blue light is shone on to them and the 15-minute countdown begins as the bleach starts to do its work. I don’t feel any tingling or pain. It is very gentle and I am that relaxed I grab five minutes of shuteye. Richard explains the cycle of light is used as a catalyst for the gel and activates the reaction which whitens the teeth. The gel dissolves naturally during the treatment and 15 minutes up, I rinse my mouth and am handed a looking glass.
Boy, do they look white. Not Rylan Clark or Joey Essex veneer white, but like the teeth of my youth – bright, light, clean, and fresh. I could not stop smiling, and Dr Marques called it a fantastic result. He showed me his shading chart and said I had jumped up eight shades.
Follow up care is explained at the end and it is important to pay attention. Patients are handed a sheet with a strict list of do’s and don’ts during the whitening process – no black tea or coffee or red wine and avoid beetroot and other dark coloured foods. I’m also given a bag with sensitive toothpaste, which I have no requirement for as there is no pain or sensitivity, straws for drinking, and two 16% Carbamide peroxide gels with my personalised intray to use at home for seven nights in a row between an hour to eight hours a time. This then lifts the teeth another shade – one away from the whitest shade possible on the Philips Zoom chart.
When I leave the practice, I can’t help beaming at everybody I pass like a crazy woman, but it seems to rub off as strangers grin back at me and I’m even complimented on my “pretty” smile.
That’s a very good result, indeed.
Whitening starts at £950. To discover more, visit: : drrichard.co.uk
All imagery courtesy of Dr Richard Marques
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