Back in high school, I remember looking at photos of myself and seeing nothing but disgusting, yellow teeth. So, I drove myself up to the WalMart in Burlington and bought Crest Whitestrips. At the time, they had just come out and were quite expensive (over 50 dollars!) but I decided that my quest for whiter teeth was worth a few hours at the pool. This was also back when the whitestrips took two weeks. But, the results were astounding.
For reference, before I started a yearly teeth whitening ritual, here's a throw-back photo of my yellowness.
Holy youngin', Batman!
(Note: Not only was this before I discovered tooth-safe-bleach, it was apparently also before I discovered tweezers... and why was I blonde?!)
I remember feeling amazing after whitening. I could smile without feeling self-consious. It was amazing. So, when I checked myself out in the mirror the other day, I was sad to notice a slight yellowing in my teeth. I marched right over to Duane Reade (the NYC drug store for you out-of-town readers) to browse the tooth-whitening aisle. Because of my impatience, I decided against getting the normal 7-day treatment and went for the quick fix. The Rembrandt 2 Hour Whitening kit. 2 hours? Fantastic! I'll have white teeth before dinner! And, at a price of $25.00 I figured I had struck gold.
So, I went home, busted out the kit, and got to work.
The kit contains 2 plastic teeth covers (they really resemble the mouth guards used in sports) that are easily pliable. The instructions indicated to dip each tray in a glass of hot water, melt them a bit, and press them onto your teeth, holding them there to create a personalized mold. Clever, Rembrandt, clever! Once I had made both molds, I started on the first treatment.
There are 4 rounds. You are to put the whitening gel in the mold, pop the molds on your teeth and wait 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, take the molds out, rinse the trays and your mouth with water and wait 10 minutes. Repeat until all gel is gone - approximately 2 hours.
While the timing wasn't an issue (hey, you just watch tv!) the tooth sensitivity I had after the 2nd treatment was astounding. Even still, I kept going, putting the 3rd tray full of bleach in my mouth, ignoring the pain and continuing on my path to whiteness. Pain is beauty, right?
By the 4th and final treatment, tears were running down my face as the nerves in my teeth shot pain back into my skull. Almost done, almost done, I waited that agonizing final 20 minutes, I could only think of how amazing it would feel to brush the painful gel off of my teeth. When the buzzer sounded, I rushed to the bathroom, spit out the molds and just held my mouth under the faucet. After rinsing and brushing, the pain subsided and I was very pleased with the results. My teeth were definitely whiter, my smile brighter. It worked! The pain was worth it... for a few hours.
I woke up around 4:00 that morning, a strange feeling in my mouth. I figured there was a bit of swelling because of the treatment, but was certain it would go down by morning. I was wrong. I woke up, groggily sauntered into the bathroom, and when splashing water on my face to do my morning wash, I looked up at the mirror and was horrified with what I saw. My lips were so swollen, it looked like I had gotten collagen injections from the back of a van in the East Village! I couldn't even put my lips together because my gums were so inflamed.
I had 4 days of miserable pain and swelling, with giant ulcers all along my gum line. Sure, my teeth were beautifully white, but it didn't matter because I couldn't even smile! Though, I didn't really feel like smiling because I couldn't eat or drink anything without a straw, and using a straw was basically impossible because I couldn't fully close my lips. I was a hungry, miserable person for days.
So, rating for Rembrandt's 2 Hour Whitening Kit: 2
The only reason the rating is so high is because the kit did what it promised to do: whiten teeth. Other than that, I will never EVER use it again. It wasn't worth the pain.
My advice, don't use it! Sure, whiten your teeth (and I still intend on keeping up my white smile) but don't go for the quick-fix. Spread your whitening out over a few days. Your mouth (and stomach) will thank you for it!
Oh, and just to juxtapose, here's a photo, taken today. My teeth do seem pretty white ;)