My teeth weren't "bad." Just a little yellowed from 8 years of casual smoking and lots of Diet Coke. I wasn't looking for a total transformation, but it sure ended up coming close!
1. They took molds of my teeth
2. They stretched my lips over a mouth piece to keep them out of the way and took my "Before" picture. Here they also determined my current shade of yellow.
3. They applied a protective coat of stuff over my gums that hardened with a bit of blue light and stuffed my cheeks and lips with padding.
4. I then went through four 15 minute sessions, each time they vacuumed out the old bleach and applied fresh. No breaks in between.
5. Determined my new shade of white, removed padding, protective gum covering, and mouthpiece
6. "After" picture
7. Vitamin E ointment on lips
8. Aftercare info, Dr. checked in and I was out the door
The whole thing from paperwork to payment took almost exactly 2 hours. They told me no sodas or condiments, really anything with a strong color to it, for 48 hrs.
I was very very pleased with the results. My teeth are a lovely natural shade of bright white now. They seemed to continue getting whiter for the next 24 hours or so after the procedure. It was weird. I scheduled a regular cleaning for two days later with my usual dentist. Afterwards I think they got a little whiter still!
I did feel like my teeth dulled a bit rather quickly, but I think this was just me getting used to the change. The dentist sent me home with the molded trays and whitening solution. I did this for 1 hr and it perked them right back up! I'll probably touch up at home every week or so.
Pain: ohmygod this hurt like a b***h!!! It was totally comfortable through the entire process. The light was warm and pleasant. But about 10 minutes into my last 15 session, I had one severe pang of pain. It was bad. Probably like getting a cavity drilled out without Novocain. These continued intermittently, every 20 or 30 minutes, lasting for about 5-10 seconds each, for about 8 hours. When I say bad, I mean bad, like, I pulled off the road on the way home to apply the "Relief" stuff they gave me with the trays. The acute pains were gone by that evening, but my teeth transitioned to a more steady, dull sensitivity for the rest of the night. I was 100% better the next morning. No more sensitivity after that.
1. Take some ibuprofen or something before you go.
2. Apply a thick layer of lip balm before they stretch your over the mouthpiece.
3. Expect a reasonable miracle.
4. Don't overpay.
5. Get the $20 pain relief gel, if they offer it.
I would not have gotten this done if I hadn't been able to find it for $300 dollars. For the relatively minor improvement I was seeking, I don't think it would be worth much more than that. Some places in town were charging upward of $700, which is just ridiculous. The pain was considerable, but not unmanageable. Just be prepared for it. The dentist offered me a substance to apply for the pain, which cost an extra $20. I declined. In retrospect, I should have gotten that.