Laser teeth whitening in Beijing

Could this be the answer to keeping those pearly whites?

Mireia Torralba Erruz has consumed Diet Coke everyday since she was a teenager. But now, the 36-year-old Beijing teacher says her ‘Warren Buffet diet’ of cola and sweets over the years may have taken a toll on her teeth. ‘I think they’re a bit yellow and it doesn’t help with my skin colour,’ says Mireia, pointing at her pale skin, which she believes make her beige teeth more pronounced (although they look pretty white to us).


Before

Before


We head over to JD Dental on Guanghua Lu to rectify that – aiming to transform her teeth into sparkling, pearly whites. We start off with a list of preclusions before the 80-minute laser whitening procedure (1,200RMB).


First up, we’re told that patients with crowns, bridges or veneers can undergo whitening, but it’s only effective on the natural tooth.


Second: pregnancy. If you’re pregnant, JD Dental president and dentist Xie Deyong doesn’t recommend the procedure, because the hydrogen peroxide used can cause miscarriages. ‘After one month [of having the procedure] don’t try to have a kid,’ he says, explaining how patients use a three-week aftercare kit that also contains hydrogen peroxide.


But the most tragic part of this whole process? No Diet Coke for thirty days – minimum. Xie advises a two-month ban, but our patient Mireia considers that intolerable. ‘Nooo! I thought it was for two days,’ she cries. But we arrive prepared – toasting on Diet Coke and chomping down on a bag of sweets en route to JD’s office beforehand.


Before the laser whitening, we are also told any immediate consumption of cola, coffee, tea, red wine, soy sauce, dark vinegar, or food or drink containing dark pigmentation would not stain, but leave a grim ‘tattoo’ on the newly whitened teeth. ‘It will be impossible to wipe out,’ says Xie. Again, this is mainly due to the aftercare kit (1,820 RMB). Patients must wear a custom mouth guard containing vials of whitening gel to further whiten teeth in their sleep for three weeks afterwards.


But do you feel any pain? Not so much, but it all depends on the patient. ‘If the patient experiences too much pain, we will just forego the procedure,’ says Xie. For the entire 80 minutes, Mireia keeps her eyes closed. ‘It’s my rule when I go to the dentist’s office,’ she says. ‘[The procedure] wasn’t painful… but my lower set of teeth had a bit of pain. It was [only] for a second though.’


After

After


Teeth whitening has been under scrutiny over the years. In 2012, the EU began clamping down on the procedure by making it illegal for dentists to use teeth whitening products containing more than 6 percent hydrogen peroxide (or 17 percent carbamide peroxide). The European Council Directive, the government body that regulates the use of hydrogen peroxide, also made it illegal to provide teeth whitening to anyone under the age of 18.


Moreover, EU consumers can only purchase products containing 0.1 percent hydrogen peroxide. Anything between 0.1 percent and 6 percent must be administered by a dentist or have a prescription from a dentist.


There are no such rules regulating hydrogen peroxide in China.


JD Dental says it uses products approved by the US’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that are 3.3 percent hydrogen peroxide (10 percent carbamide peroxide). For patients who are fearful of the laser procedure, JD staff can make a customised at-home care kit similar to the aftercare package for laser whitening patients, but it will have slower and less effective results.


As for over-the-counter kits, such as Crest White Strips, Xie says they’re pretty much useless and patients often complain how they don’t do much for them. In the end, Mireia walks out of the clinic three grades whiter – going from a ‘C’ to an ‘A’ level. The difference is noticeable. Now comes the hard part: staying away from the Diet Coke.


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Laser whitening courtesy of JD Dental.

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