The other day I got a phone call from Dr Jonathan Levine, inventor of the Glo Brilliant™ Personal Teeth Whitening Device. I had just written about this new teeth whitening device that uses light and heat saying that I wasn’t convinced that it would work. Dr Levine called to explain what was different about his Glo Brilliant technology, and I have to say that I now see the light. Well, at least in theory, I get how this may work.

Dr Levine, a crown and bridge specialist who lectures at NYU, was originally behind Go Smile, a teeth whitening gel that is rubbed against the teeth and a product that I have used on and off for years. Recently, he had one of those ah-ha! moments when thinking about teeth whitening and LED lights and how the process could be both more effective and less painful.

Light and heat has been used to whiten teeth for some now. The procedure takes place at the dentist and usually over the course of four 20-minute applications. Typically, the light is outside of the mouth and with the patient’s mouth open, much of the bleaching gel on the teeth is simply evaporating. Because the active ingredient is prone to disappear from the mouth into the atmosphere, patients require high concentrations – causing sensitivity, if not pain – and multiple sessions. Dr Levine’s ah-ha! moment was the thought that if a closed environment could be created, with the light inside the mouth, then the bleaching agent would not evaporate and a less painful amount could be used.

The Glo Brilliant system uses a mouthpiece that is like the traditional whitening trays – except that they use LED lights and heat resistors. The gel is applied to the teeth (reminiscent of his original Go Smile idea) rather than in the tray, so that it doesn’t get on the gums. Sessions are only eight minutes (rather than 20) and with a 6% concentration of the bleaching agent (compared to 18% at the dentist), it remains below the pain threshold. Because the device is designed to be used at home, it can be used multiple days in a row.

Dr Levine has conducted two clinical trials and he says that up to five shade changes can be achieved, and head to head against the Zoom teeth whitener Glo Brilliant has the same efficacy.

I am much more convinced by Glo Brilliant after hearing Dr Levine’s explanation. But the proof of course is in the using. Dr Levine kindly offered to send me a device to try out. I’ll report back on how it works out in a few weeks.