Glow Dental Hygiene Clinic is a tidy dental ‘spa’ in sunny Woodbridge. Run by the talented Maria Peragine with every COVID protocol in check (seriously, I wasn’t sure if she was headed to Mars or going to clean my teeth), I paid a visit to a) keep my teeth in check in between dentist visits and b) take the lifestyle choices off my outer enamel (coffee? yes please. wine? only if it’s red!). A thorough cleaning is always a good start, so it’s back to basics before going brilliant white.

Which is a common misconception. Like a skillful plastic surgeon or dermatologist should, Maria aims to make it natural, the whites of your eyes is as white as your teeth should aim to be. Also consider your vices, like me, anything that stains should be avoided directly after, and limited if you’re really looking to keep your smile bright and brilliant. While coffee and wine are top of my menu, other foods that are culprits include, berries like cherries and blueberries, beets, any staining spices, spinach and kale, tea and black coffee…smoking and chewing tobacco are super-stainers, and dehydrate your mouth to boot.

We spoke to Maria and got her expert opinion on the ins and outs of whitening:

“The ideal time to whiten is after your teeth have been professionally cleaned and polished by a hygienist. This ensures that there isn’t any tartar build up or plaque on the tooth surface and the gel sits on the tooth surface for optimal uptake. This is so important because whitening works like this; the peroxide based gel sits on the enamel and dehydrates it. This opens up many tiny little tubules in the enamel surface and the gel seeps through these tubules into the second layer of the teeth (the yellow layer called dentin). Reasons for whitening include; a special event that is coming up and your smile is going to be front and center, like a wedding or a photo shoot for your professional portfolio. Other reasons that people have cited as their “why” include; as a gift to themselves for quitting smoking, graduation or prom, before having dental work done like veneers or crowns and really for anyone that wants to have more confidence in their smile. 

Whitening works well, if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and never, ever over do it! Results vary from person to person, because all of our teeth are so different. Some have thicker layers of dentin (which is the layer under the enamel and it’s naturally yellow), some have more dense enamel, some are more translucent. The differences between store bought kits and having your teeth professionally whitened is in the mix. The grade of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide that a dental professional can use is always going to be a higher percentage than one that is sold over the counter. As well, you wouldn’t want to use something that can potentially cause damage to your gums and enamel without being under the supervision of a professional. My team and I are trained to apply the product and monitor for contra-indications, before you even use the product. For instance, people who have had dental work done on their front teeth need to be aware that the whitening will not be placed on their crowns, veneers or composite work. Those materials will not “whiten” and in fact, applying peroxide to them may dull their sheen. Most people get a better result when they have their teeth whitened by a professional, in a shorter amount of time, than using a store bought kit. Also, there’s a greater risk of going against manufacturers instructions and using store bought kits too often, especially if results are less than what was expected the first time.

Getting a professional head shot? Get those teeth sparkling first! Photo of Heather Lochner Real Estate Agent by Libby Roach.

At Glow Dental Hygiene Clinic you will be assessed prior to your whitening treatment and prepped for the treatment with specialized glasses to block out the LED light. Your lips are treated with vitamin E, cheeks are retracted with sterile retractors and you’ll feel relaxed in our comfy chairs with your fave Netflix show on the TV! Your hygienist will apply the gel product and monitor your comfort level through out your appointment. There are different stages of the one hour treatment and the system we use consists of a few applications of gel to the teeth, so in between sessions, your hygienist will wipe off the old gel and re-apply before setting you back under the LED light.

You can help keep your teeth “glowing” by staying away from staining foods, drinks and habits for 24-48 hours. This amount of time is advisable because that is how long it generally takes for the enamel to rehydrate and prevent the stained from seeping through the enamel and intrinsically staining your teeth. The day of your whitening treatment, you’ll be advised to drink water but not to brush until bedtime, this is because the gel is still working and it’s best not to brush your teeth while the enamel is still in its dehydrated state. The in-office treatment can also be the stepping stone for at-home treatments. In cases where clients want even whiter teeth, we recommend a professional take home kit. We will show you how to use it and monitor the percentage or strength and the amount of gel you are using as well. We recommend a charcoal based tooth paste for those who do have diets that are high in very staining foods. The charcoal paste we recommend is available in our office, it is low on the abrasivity chart and it is actually one of the only anti-cavity charcoal pastes available. It is prudent to remember that charcoal pastes do not whiten the teeth, but this one is very effective at helping to remove and prevent extrinsic or surface stain. 

We are big believers in natural looking is best. Some rules of thumb that we abide by are:

1. Never go whiter than the whites of your eyes- this can give the teeth a “fake” look. We prefer that your teeth, gums and mouth are healthy first, before they are insta-worthy.

2- Never over whiten, it can make your teeth very translucent and then the darkness from the back of your throat will make your teeth appear grey. Yikes!

3. Blue based red lipstick will make your teeth appear even whiter, same goes for a tanned face and a blue top!

Our clients smiles can light up a room and whitening can really give that confidence boost that is needed for someone to smile freely. We strive to make our clients feel good about themselves, when we whiten their smile and we get the biggest smile back, which is the best reward for what we do!”

Find out more about proper oral care and teeth whitening at

 All photos by Libby Roach.