My LA dentist, Dr Goodman, stepped back to marvel at whatever dental atrocity I had committed. ‘Don’t take this the wrong way,’ he said. ‘But where did you have this done?’
With that, he tapped twice on my front tooth with one of those implements that look like dainty ice picks.
Oh that, I explained, was a little scratch from over-brushing that my British dentist covered up with something called ‘bonding’. ‘You had it done in England,’ he mused, in the dazed manner of someone being told about a politeness course in Paris or firearm safety conference in Texas. ‘And you realise that it’s three shades darker than your natural tooth colour?’
I had noticed that, yes, but when I pointed it out I was informed that, ‘It’s the lightest shade we offer.’ At this, Dr Goodman laughed, and laughed – and laughed. ‘Well, it’s the darkest shade we offer.’
What is it with Brits and teeth? Decades after the rest of the western world has understood that basic teeth hygiene and whitening are not some preposterously Cowell-esque act of vanity, we remain weirdly puritanical about anything approximating cosmetic dentistry. But although I still meet beautiful girls at parties with the smiles of Shakespearean vagrants, I do think things are improving.
I never thought I’d thank Love Island for anything, but according to top British cosmetic dental surgeon Dr Krystyna Wilczynski, the Mattel muppets and their reality-TV-show cohorts have at least marked a turning point in our gnarly gnasher trajectory. ‘Everyone’s now surrounded by images of people with white teeth, and editing their photos in order to have whiter teeth – so whitening really is being seen as a standard routine aesthetic treatment,’ she explains.
While whitening is ‘totally safe’, she urges her clients to ‘start the whitening journey’ in a professional clinic like hers – where she uses WhiteWash Beam technology with an LED light – before trying any DIY kits at home. And with a variety of maintenance products now available, there’s really no need to grin and Shane MacGowan it any longer.
All white now
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