Smile design: teeth straightening and teeth whitening

Written by: Dr David Bloom
Published: | Updated: 05/10/2023
Edited by: Bronwen Griffiths

Dr David Bloom, an experienced dentist, explains what smile design is and the options for teeth straightening and teeth whitening that are available.

You will feel more confident to say 'Cheese' in photos after having smile design

What makes a healthy mouth?

In general, there are two diseases that many of us as adults will suffer from. The first is gum disease, which is entirely preventable. It is important to thoroughly clean your teeth, not only with just a toothbrush, but also to clean between the teeth. Classically, that is done with floss, but simply wiping between teeth with a piece of string is not always that effective, so we recommend little brushes that can be inserted between your back teeth.


The other disease is dental decay, and again, this is largely preventable. I think we all know it is caused by sugar, but what we don't maybe appreciate is that it is really the frequency of the sugar intake that can be an issue. Other diseases that we check for are tooth erosion and general tooth surface loss from tooth to tooth contact, which we call attrition, and as long as we have all of those stable, we can ensure we have a nice healthy mouth to achieve the long-lasting restorations that we may be considering.



What are the options for straightening teeth?

I am a general dentist and I will refer patients to specialist orthodontists for what we would call comprehensive orthodontics, but that generally takes 18 months to two years. What we now have are some options that mainly straighten the front teeth and that can happen in as little as five or six months.



These are clear removable trays that each move your tooth a little bit. The positive is that they are removable, but the downside is that they are removable! This is because you need to wear them for 22 hours a day and therefore you need to be quite disciplined.



The alternative is, we can fix braces to your teeth and those can be tooth coloured on the outside (labial braces) or even on the inside of your teeth (lingual braces) and we can straighten most adults’ teeth in as little as five to six months. Once they are straightened, we can look at correcting the colour with many different treatment options.



What teeth whitening treatments are available?

Tooth whitening, as long as it is carried out by a dental care professional, is completely safe.


Home whitening

We would recommend home whitening where moulds are taken of your teeth and a very close-fitting tray is made in which you put hydrogen peroxide gel. The trays are worn either overnight or for two to three hours in the evening. Whilst you are whitening your teeth with these trays, you may expect your teeth to be a little bit more sensitive, but at the end of the whitening process, they will be no more sensitive than they were before.


Power whitening

Whitening, as long as it is maintained with a day of whitening every other month, will maintain the colour of your teeth so much so that we are happy to match porcelain or plastic filling restorations to the whitening shade. Power whitening is available, but you would still need to wear trays for about the same amount of time as if you were not power whitening. With the concentrations that we are allowed to use, we would generally recommend home whitening as being the best option.




If you are considering having smile design, arrange an appointment with Dr Bloom via his Top Doctors profile. 

By Dr David Bloom

Dr David Bloom is one of the UK’s leading restorative and cosmetic dentists based in London and Hertfordshire.  He has a passion and enthusiasm for all aspects of dentistry including smile makeovers, veneers, orthodontics, and implant
Dr Bloom graduated from the Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Dental School and has gained over 35 years of experience, earning him recognition as one of the leading figures in the field of dentistry. Having previously been the lead dentist at the same dental studio from 1990 to 2013, Dr Bloom understands what works over time. He instructs and lectures both nationally and internationally, and is a sought-after expert in other dental practices. He is trusted by both celebrities and other dentists seeking treatment for themselves. 
Preventative dentistry first and foremost is Dr Bloom’s preferred approach, ensuring that a healthy smile is the foundation of his work. He completes a thorough, comprehensive diagnosis and presents all options to his patients. Dr Bloom takes into account his patient's needs and desires, applying his extensive knowledge and skills to provide exceptional results. 
Outside of his clinic work, Dr Bloom holds numerous prestigious positions and is on the editorial board for both The International Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry and The International Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry. Dr Bloom’s opinions and knowledge are regularly used in magazines, radio, and television. He was the chosen dentist for the hit TV show Extreme Makeover UK. He has transformed the smile of a number of celebrities including Tulisa Conlostavlos, Ben Foden, Sophie Anderton, and Kyran Bracken. Fellow dental professionals have also entrusted him when seeking treatments themselves. 

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