I’ve got good teeth. A nice pair of gnashers. Straight, filling free, they snap together quite precisely without a hint of overbite. In fact, if I were a horse, trotting past you at some country fair you’d probably put down your pint of cider, pull back the muzzle, and be pleasantly surprised enough to shell out a few guineas in the hope that the rest of me was in similar nick.
You would, of course, be disappointed. My high hurdling, Grand National days are somewhat behind me, but I might be good for a hack, a ride or two, even some dressage.
Anyway the teeth, the teeth have always been good.
Except now suddenly they are not. Staring at them in the mirror in the cold light of day, I noticed with general shock and horror that they were no longer my pearly, pearly whites. But they were a little bit grey, a little bit yellow and frankly really rather stained. And we all know that there is NOTHING more ageing than a toffee grin preceded by a guff of dead-cat breath. It’s the coffee, it’s the red wine, the fags out the back door. But it is also something that can be easily remedied.
So, spurned into action I booked myself into The London Smile Clinic on Clipstone Street, W1 and into the rather handsome care of Dr Tim Bradstock-Smith. The London Smile Clinic is one of the more established cosmetic dentists. Here, tooth whitening is probably their least audacious procedure. They replace teeth, reshape gums, close gaps; in short they’re capable of a total smile makeover. The sort of thing you see on Channel 4’s Embarrassing Bodies, a show they have regularly contributed to.
That said, teeth whitening is not like a speedy mani, where you are in and out with something pretty to show your mates. It is quite a process.
Firstly Dr Tim had a long look at my teeth to see if they were good candidates for bleaching. Not sensitive. Not overly stained and with no need for fillings etc. Secondly, you are given a sensitive toothpaste to use for a week or two before to help toughen up your teeth, as it were. Then you are back to the clinic for a three hour appointment. Yup. Three… whole… hours.
The first hour is a visit to the hygienist (you can choose to do this at another time, but if your teeth are verging towards the Jeremy Clarkson you have to leave a day between appointments). This, I have to say was bliss. But then I am quite odd. There is nothing I like more than having my teeth picked and polished and scrubbed to the point of whistling through the gaps. Quite frankly I could have stopped there.
But next up was the actual whitening. One hour and fifteen minutes of sitting with your mouth wired opened by a device last seen during those heady medieval days in the stocks. The bleach is layered on the teeth in 15-minute intervals and the process is repeated five times for the full shiny white effect. It is uncomfortable and it’s boring. Thankfully, you are given an extensive list of films to watch using a teeny tiny Tom Cruise-style screen attached to your eyes like something out of Mission Impossible. So I lay back, jaw akimbo, and enjoyed a bit of Bradley Cooper candy to take my mind off over an hour of catching flies.
Then, just as Brad and Jen were about to do some terrific dancing, it was over. My jaw was finally released and I was handed a mirror. All I can say is: “TING!”
Wow. They’re white, they’re bright and I am clearly only ever eating the palest slices of Mother’s Pride again. (Fortunately, they give you a bag of top-up bleach and moulds so should one make the mistake of falling into a birdbath of red wine, you can carry on the process at home.) But the result is extraordinary. Now I look in the mirror and I see a nice neat row of shiny white teeth. I must be about ready for a gymkhana.