Teeth Whitening Review at Elleven Dental: Is In-Chair Treatment Still Worth It?

Nikki Barr

Five years ago the best high street tooth whitening was a standard tube of Colgate. But with take-home peroxide whitening kits finally made legal just a few years ago, not a Groupon goes by without some form of deal on your pearly whites.

While while the discount on in-house prices has made whitening accessible for all, tooth sensitivities, ruined enamel and failed products a big pitfall of the market. With that in mind, is it still worth paying the extra for in-house whitening - or at least seeing a specialist before using your kit?

Peta makes sure all of her patients are getting the right teeth whitening treatment for them.
Peta makes sure all of her patients are getting the right teeth whitening treatment for them.

Having suffered bad enamel damage after using an at-home whitening kit in 2009 when higher peroxide levels were allowed, I've been more than a little cautious ever since.

But with my wedding on the horizon, I thought I’d book in to a top clinic and see if there was another way to get my teeth as pearly white as possible without suffering the same fate.

Booking into Elleven Dental in London I had three options:

Professional tooth cleaning – which is usually sufficient enough to remove most stains.
2. At-h
ome whitening – Using a custom tray system but WITH additional appointments to see how you’re getting along.
In-chair whitening with bleaching – the harshest of the harsh, but with the best results.

Set in one of Euston’s Victorian conversions, the Elleven Dental boasts super high ceilings set against the building's stunning original sweeping staircase – all juxtaposed with state-of-the-art technology and crisp white furnishings.

My dentist, Dr Peta Leigh, was waiting to greet me upon arrival, talking me through the building’s incredible history before settling me into her office upstairs.

Every dentist at Elleven are committed to carrying out full evaluations with each of their patients before commencing any treatment.

“We like to make sure we really understand what the patient wants and how they’re feeling at the moment, teeth play a huge part in our confidence levels and ‘bad teeth’ can be a big perpetrator of depression and anxiety,” Peta tells me.

And while they look after some top names, Peta reveals she would never agree to a treatment if she didn’t think it was right for the patient, she added: “Our top priority – other than perfecting smiles – is making sure we’re doing the right treatment for the right reasons.

“Someone might come in and really want that super, super white teeth, but that may not necessarily be achievable depending on their teeth. There’s no point sending someone home with a home whitening kit if it won’t work.”

Settling on a mix of both in-salon consults and at-home trays because of my previous discomforts, Peta took molds of my upper and lower teeth and hi-res before and after snaps for reference later down the line.

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A few days later my trays were ready, so I headed back to Elleven to see Peta. Checking the fit, Peta then  showed me how to use the gel to get the best possible results, including a few nifty tricks to make sure each tooth is equally covered.

Concerned about sensitivity and damage, Peta also gave me de-sensitizing toothpaste, PrevDent Enamel Repair Re-whitening Desensitizing toothpaste, to use alongside the post-treatment toothpaste.

Armed with enough gel for four weeks (five days at a time), I started my whitening system that night, prepping my trays before bed.

The next morning the difference was already noticeable, with my teeth sporting a sort of fluorescent glow before I washed the gel off.

But by day three disaster had struck, I was feeling the usual painful sensitivities I previously experienced with whitening after my disastrous ordeal in 2009.

Concerned that I would be driven mad by toothache, I called Peta to ask for some advice, which she was more than happy to give, suggesting I use the toothpaste in the trays for a night to kill the sensitivity and try reducing the hours I use the trays from day three onwards.

Dropping down my tray use to just two hours a day, my sensitivity was gone by day five and despite the loss of time, there seemed to be no slowing of the whitening process.

The following three weeks flew by, with just the occasional forgotten night when I was either out with friends or home too late to sit for two hours with the trays in.

Elleven Dental's surgery offers the very best technology in a comfy setting.
Elleven Dental's surgery offers the very best technology in a comfy setting.
Take-home whitening trays are almost half the price of in-chair whitening.
Take-home whitening trays are almost half the price of in-chair whitening.

Before and after our Elleven Dental teeth whitening.
Before and after our Elleven Dental teeth whitening.

Heading back to Elleven to see Peta just a week before my wedding, she was impressed with my results - which were, I'm told, as good as in-house whitening results.

Showing me my before and after pictures, Peta revealed that my natural shade (A2 – which is most people’s natural shade) had been increased to BL4 – just three shades away from Ross Gellar.

A week later, I walked down the aisle with pearly whites, no sensitivities and zero enamel damage – which, to me, was totally worth going the extra mile for.

Elleven's At-Home Teeth Whitening kits are £395 with consultations. In-Chair Power Whitening at Elleven Dental starts at £750.

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