A dental workout to smile about

The phrase "dental spa" is a bit of an oxymoron to me. I had to cancel my last scale and polish because of nerves, and I can't say that, even if they'd chucked a manicure into the mix, I would have been tempted along.

However, when I was invited to the new branch of Cherrybank Dental Spa to try Zoom Tooth Whitening, I felt that I couldn't refuse. Simply because, after years of double espresso addiction, my teeth are an unappealing shade of sepia.

It was in the reception area, which is soothingly furnished with squashy armchairs, that I discovered this dental spa's secret weapon – Amanda, the receptionist, who has a knack for the sort of disarming chat that makes you feel as if you're in someone's home.

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The youthful-looking dentist, Dr Ian Ollerhead, who boasts a perfect pair of US-style gnashers, also had a relaxed manner, as he led me into one of the treatment rooms. The holistic bent of this place means that you can choose various therapies to go along with your dental procedure, such as reflexology (or, in fact, Botox). I opted for paraffin hand wax therapy, which was administered by the lovely dental assistant, and a warm lavender neck cushion for support during my therapy.

As I'd been "researching" on the internet (ie. panic surfing) the evening before my visit, I discovered that some Zoom patients experience discomfort while undergoing this treatment. However, Ollerhead was keen to reassure me.

"Only 40 per cent of my patients have any pain, when it comes to Zoom," he said, before fitting me with a Marathon Man-esque contraption that prised my mouth open. Ollerhead then covered up every exposed area of skin around my mouth, which involved "baking" a rubber paste onto my gums and packing gauze into the inside of my cheeks.

Then, after he'd gently dabbed the bleach solution onto my teeth with a cotton bud, I was left under a tiny UV lamp for 45 minutes (with a break every 15 minutes to reapply the chemicals). This could have been extremely boring, if it weren't for their high-tech DVD goggles, which allowed me to watch the first half of the Sex and the City movie. To my relief, the only pain I experienced was when Mr Big and Carrie split up.

Afterwards and for the next 48 hours, I was told to avoid coffee, red wine and any brightly-coloured food that might stain my new set of pearly whites.

A couple of weeks later and thanks to this new dental spa, I've wiped out at least ten years of espresso drinking damage.

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Book Zoom Tooth Whitening at the new Edinburgh branch before the end of April and get this treatment for 520 (usually 649). Cherrybank Dental Spa, 108-114 Dundas Street, Edinburgh (www.scotlanddentist.com, 0131-202 0575) and 168 Glasgow Road, Perth (01738 624 667).


April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, so get genned-up with one of Bowel Cancer UK's factsheets, which are available online. They outline the simple lifestyle changes we can take to help lower our chances of experiencing this illness. When it comes to our diets, this includes advice to replace processed meats and "trans-fats" with oily fish, high-fibre foods and vegetables high in folate (a B vitamin found in leafy green vegetables).

0800 840 3540, www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk


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Dull skin is a common beauty bugbear at this time of year. If your complexion is still recovering after a particularly harsh winter, then get hold of Origins' new Brighter By Nature High Potency Brightening Peel, which contains goji berries, fruit acids and pomegranate. According to them, if you sweep one of the textured pads over your face, you should achieve the same results as you'd get from a 30 per cent glycolic peel in a salon.

Origins Brighter By Nature High Potency Brightening Peel, 28 for 40 pads (www.origins.co.uk, 0800 731 4039)


Both branches of Edinburgh's studioEH1 have launched a new programme – the 12-week Bikini Blitz, which aims to get you in shape by summer. This consists of unlimited Power Plate sessions over this period, each of which will be led by a fully qualified personal trainer, plus two "body MOTs", food-diary monitoring and some general fitness advice. Book before the end of April and this will cost 99 for the first month and from 122 per month thereafter.

studioEH1, 8b Rutland Square (0131-229 8605, www.studioeh1.co.uk) and 31 Albany Street, Edinburgh (0131-558 3688)

• This article was first published in The Scotsman Magazine, April 17, 2010