My Teeth Whitening Experience – Everything You Need To Know

My Teeth Whitening Experience – Everything You Need To Know

So about a couple of weeks ago, I went to do something that I’ve ignored for 32 years of my life: Go to a dentist. My initial reasons were purely superficial but it all changed and don’t think I’m exaggerating for a second when I say this – this trip to the dentist changed my life. For realz.
HOWEVER. Since it’s going to be a ginormous post if I try to share the entire experience (including my emotional feelings), I’m going to split this life-changing dental experience into two posts.
1) My teeth whitening:  Which I’ll talk about in detail today. Teeth whitening is the bleaching of teeth to change their color (does not remove stains). 

2) My teeth cleaning & new dental routine: Which I’ll discuss next week. Teeth cleaning is the removal of plaque from the teeth to prevent cavities and gum disease. It also removes any visible stains from your teeth.

Waiting for my turn at the clinic

SO. You guys know that I’m a passionate chai/coffee lover. Over the years I had stained my teeth like a ninja. There was yellowing and stains and it was causing me much heartache.

I decided it was time to fix my teeth. I started looking up teeth whitening options very casually. Miraculously the team at Dr. Michaels Dental Clinic decided to partner up with me at the same time and so it happened.
Two weeks ago I booked myself in for an appointment with Dr. Lina (more on her coming up) at Dr. Michael’s Dental Clinic and got ready to have the teeth of my dreams.
After the procedure, I  waited two full weeks to see what my teeth would look like – if the whitening would last, if I faced any complications, etc – and I’m happy to report it looks and feels great. I also didn’t cover any of it on Snapchat while it was happening because I wanted to see the end product before agreeing to review, so you guys can be sure that it’s the honest-est review (as always). So here I am and if you want to get a full narrative on teeth whitening, keep reading cos I have everything here for you.

So on the day of my appointment, I went in early morning, much excited. As soon as you enter, you instantly fall for the clinic: It’s fabulous. My appointment was at their newly opened branch in Dubai Health Care City and it was shining.
Dr. Lina’s clinic that I’m happy to live in forever
I met with Dr. Lina, who started off with a tiny discussion around what I wanted. I told her: I want my teeth cleaned and I want them whitened (at this point I didn’t care if my teeth were generally well taken care of or not. I wanted to go in, get it done and get out). She asked me a few questions about my dental routine and I answered very truthfully (even though some were very bad answers). She was honestly so nice and kind, I thought I could tell her ANYTHING (but I didn’t because that would be creepy). She understood my dental habits, what I loved eating and drinking and my dental history.

Then she pulled me into the dentist chair (I’d only been in one once before and so this was a moment for me) and checked my teeth thoroughly. She was trying to check for cavities, etc. (teeth whitening may not be allowed for you if your teeth are in really bad shape). She also did a few x-rays on my mouth and after a full 15-20 minute checkup, she told me I was good to go and we could begin.
Not everyone can look sexy even in an x-ray but I did it. Thank you.
Thanks to the oral cameras, I’d seen that my teeth were looking like a nightmare (more on that in the next post) and I was so relieved that she was actually going to let me do the whitening because I thought they’d be in such bad shape internally that she’d ask me to go back. With silent promises to sacrifice myself at the altar of gratitude later in the day, I got back in the dentist chair to get my teeth cleaned first – the details of which we’ll discuss next week because it’s what I feel the most passionate about currently.

See the tooth on the right that’s pulled up slightly? That was my original color. Fack.

Next up was my teeth whitening. They started to prep me for the procedure which was supposed to be about a 45 minute – 1 hour thing. I was getting the Philips Zoom Whitening done which is supposed to be done in 4 stages – 15 minutes per stage. Since I have two composites at the front of my teeth (which cannot get whitened because they’re not natural), Dr. Lina told me she would possibly stop at Stage 3 so there wouldn’t be a big disparity between my natural teeth color and the composites. It made sense, I said okay.
I was given a shade card of sorts and we picked the color my teeth would look like. I wanted a natural look so we picked one that would look clean and white but not scream that I’d gotten whitening done (like no-makeup makeup).
Wow. I look breathtaking.

A mouth opener was put in and then for each stage, a gel was applied and the Zoom whitening contraption was focused on my teeth to whiten them. Each stage: 15 minutes. After Stage 3 at which I was expecting to stop, Dr. Lina said I could go up to Stage 4 and so we did and honestly, I couldn’t tell the difference between my real and composite teeth at all. They all looked the same, much thanks to Dr. Lina because she chose the right color for my teeth.
Once the whitening was over, it was time to prepare my at-home kit. Dr. Lina put some stuff in my mouth which hardened into a mould for my teeth. This was then used to create my custom dental trays for whitening at home (they take a day to prepare so I went back to get them the next day). All done.
I went home and spent the rest of the day smiling at myself (approx. fifty million times) because my teeth looked so clean, so good.

The at-home kit is supposed to be used over the next three days since the whitening starts to lessen very slightly in impact. I pulled out my trays at night, right before sleeping, put in my whitening gel and slipped them into my mouth for about 6 hours. Then repeated this for 3 days.
And just like that I was done.
And I LOVED the end result. A very happily ever after.
Vitamin E oil that Dr. Lina gave in case of gum sensitivity after the in-office whitening

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VERY Important Points About Teeth Whitening
* Teeth whitening decreases (very slightly) in brightness over the next few days after your session. You have to know this.
* I went in for a one-day packaged trip, but for anyone else, this is how it would flow:
First appointment: Dental-check-up, X-rays (if required), taking impressions of your teeth for custom teeth trays for your at-home whitening kit (so that they’re ready when you come back the next day)
Second appointment: Teeth whitening followed by a 3-day, at-home whitening kit handed to you
Watching National Geographic during my treatment. They’ll put on a movie for you if you want.

* Some people can experience sensitivity during and after whitening, ranging from mild to severe. This depends on a case to case basis. I experienced a piercing pain in my gums once during each stage of the whitening, each time lasting about 1-2 seconds, which was negligible. This may not happen for you at all or may be more. Read up about teeth whitening to understand the potential concerns (or read my post, lulz). My entire in-office whitening procedure was amazing – I had negligible pain at the clinic and none when back at home.
Just hanging out at the dentist. No big deal. That’s the laser that whitens.
* The at-home whitening kit is optional but in my opinion helps perfect the results you want. The in-office session will definitely make your teeth lighter but for me, over the next couple of days, I noticed the slightest yellow tinge return around my gums (this was very hard to see and only because I was staring down my mouth in the mirror). This happens if your teeth were previously very yellow and you’ve whitened them the first time (like for me). I used the at-home kit and the yellowing disappeared. So I recommend the at-home kit a 100 percent.
My mouth is very small so hard to show all teeth but I tried my best

* I experienced a lot of sensitivity in my gums after using the at-home kit. Enough to shut me down for the entire day, it was bad for about 8 hours (N was an angel, reading up ways to calm my teeth down). I recommend scheduling your whitening in such a way that it’s right before the weekend so you have the luxury to rest at home if the sensitivity is too much. Again, you may not experience this, it differs for everyone. (I didn’t do all 3 days of at-home whitening in one go, I did the third day after a gap because the sensitivity was too much. Next time, I would put the trays in a few hours before going to bed, instead of sleeping with them, so the sensitivity happens when I’m sleeping).
* You are recommended to not have any colored food or drinks (tea/coffee/berries/curry/anything that stains) for about 48 hours after your procedure. I didn’t cheat for a whole week, because I wanted to be extra careful. Your teeth are extra porous after the whitening and will grab onto color fast during that period. (Although I was practically dying without tea on my first day, I’d recommend having some before going for your procedure so you have some in your system to last you the whole day)

* You can skip the in-office procedure and ask your dentist for a 2-week, at-home kit (please don’t buy online, cheap products can lose quality fast and can have long term consequences, go with a professional). The 2-week at-home kit is cheaper but would require more time. Having experienced so much sensitivity with my mini at-home kit (post-whitening), I would highly recommend getting it through the dentist to speed things up and save yourself the pain. The Zoom in-office whitening uses a really high concentration of the whitening gel because the teeth are being whitened at a faster rate than the at-home kit under the supervision of a dentist.
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1. Start using Sensodyne (or any toothpaste for sensitive teeth) for about a week before your procedure.
2. You can take a painkiller before getting your teeth whitened. Using a numbing cream prior to the procedure is not the correct way (some places may do that), since it’s important to know what pain level you are feeling (if you do) and act accordingly.  
3. If your teeth are sensitive after the whitening, you can take a) painkillers b) use Sensodyne directly onto your teeth/gums which should calm them down (just don’t swallow a whole tube of toothpaste). I used the Sensodyne and it worked SO much.
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The Zoom whitening contraption

* In-office teeth whitening is not something you should be doing very casually, multiple times a year. At best, it should be repeated every 1-2 years and should be maintained with regular care/dentist-prescribed top-up treatments (which use a different gel versus the in-office one). I don’t plan on doing this again for a long time – my teeth were just incredibly yellow at this point and so I went for this. My plan is to really take care of them and rely on natural methods to maintain the color.
* A lot of clinics can offer cheap teeth whitening packages. You are bleaching your teeth and you need to use a product that can be trusted and at the right peroxide level. While I was looking up whitening options myself, I saw a lot of clinics giving one-third of the price of a regular whitening but I just didn’t consider any of those because I just didn’t want to take a risk with poor results or harmful long-term effects.

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About Dr. Lina
My biggest concern when going to a doctor is judgment. Unfortunately, a few doctors I’ve met with always appear to be judging your life choices and with something as terrible as poor dental hygiene, you want someone to help you fix it and not be condescending about it. Dr. Lina is AMAZING. She’s so soft-spoken, very qualified, understanding, non-judgmental and takes you in wholeheartedly as a patient. I’m highlighting this because I’m always wary of a doctor’s attitude and having someone like her help me was such a bonus. She never once told me I had a poor dental routine but somehow I walked out of her clinic with a completely revamped one. She truly changed my life (no exaggeration). You can read more about her here.

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Details about Dr. Michael’s Dental Clinic

Where: Dr. Michael’s Dental Clinic. They have lots of branches. I went to the newly opened one in Dubai Healthcare City and loved it. It has a metro station right in front of it if you’re interested.
Doctor: Dr. Lina Shaar
Procedure: Teeth Whitening (Philips Zoom Whitening)
Duration: 1-2 hours
Cost: AED 3300 (If you can’t afford the whole thing in one go, split it up into zero-interest installments on your credit card and pay tiny amounts each month)
And they use Rituals at the clinic, woohoo.

Next week, I’m going to talk about the thing which actually changed everything: my teeth cleaning and new dental routine. Cannot wait to share.

This post is in collaboration with Dr. Michael’s Dental Clinic but all opinions, feelings, emotions, unending commentary is my own.


  1. I've had such poor experiences with dentists in Abu Dhabi. I'm going to check Dr. Lina out. My teeth are very problematic and it sucks not having the right help 🙁 I hope she can help me…

  2. you look so cute in the last pictre smiling

  3. I swear this is so creepy but every time I'm considering something in life you have a post about it! its happened too many times! I'm the person who said this to you on Snap also 😛

    1. Author

      Haha. A few people have said this to me. I need to start working on thee psychic powers 😀

  4. I just feel like going to the doctor right now. She actually looks so sweet and soft spoken. And you look terrific with that smile 🙂

  5. now that i am a financially independent adult it s about time I started investing in my teeth – thank you for the push Shehzeen

  6. You even look best without teeth whitening. Also i have bee watching youtube tutorials..whitening your teeth with baking soda�� thanks for such detailed info��

  7. Love the post. And your teeth look fantastic post whitening.
    I am a dentist too, and i spot an extra tooth in your upper jaw !! Hehe… is it a retained deciduous (milk) tooth? :p (sorry, but i am curious)

    ~ F

    1. Author

      Hehe. It's a tooth that grew out of place so it's not extra but just girl-gone-wild 😛

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