Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Pursuit of Whiteness

When I was 7 or 8 years old, I thought it was super cool to spin around and around in the swimming pool. I could go really fast, for a very long time. But, when I spun, it made my hair go in my eyes and I couldn't see a thing. Which is why I didn't notice the pool's edge, and upon flinging my head back to get said hair out of my eyes, I smacked my face right into the concrete and broke my front tooth off about half way up. If I allow myself, I can still remember the zinging pain that went clear up into my eyeballs. So instant. One moment, playing and having fun, the next moment, completely consumed by what I can only describe as high-pitched pain. I have no idea what that means, but believe me, it hurt.

The dentist met us at the office, stabbed a needle into the bone in the roof of my mouth (and we wonder why I don't like shots in my mouth) and gave me a beautiful fake tooth. Which lasted until I was 12, when I fell and cracked it. And that lasted until I was 15 when the whole piece got knocked off again during a game of kissing rugby (because Shane didn't really get the concept that just because girls were willing to play kissing rugby, it didn't mean the girls wanted the wind knocked out of them and their teeth cracked in the name of a kiss). And after 3 shots in the roof of my mouth, I became a lot more careful about the fake tooth.

So, 20 years later, the composite material is starting to look pretty bad. It's stained from my heavy coke addiction (the soda kind!) and the bonding is starting to look a little weak. Plus, it isn't very smooth- it has some weird ridges on the front. The time has come to redo the tooth. Except that presents us with a little complication. All of my teeth have suffered from the cola. One of my teeth looks like I've been sucking cigarettes up against it, it's so brown. Or yellow. Just ask Nate, who kindly points out my yellow tooth and mustache as often as he sits on my lap. The turd.

Which brings us to the caustic chemicals. I am now in the process of bleaching my teeth. After they have reached a decent whiteness, we will again inject the bone in the roof of my mouth, remove the old composite, clean it all up and put a new composite on. I believe I will also veneer all 4 top teeth in order to give a better color match. But I haven't decided yet.

In the pursuit of whiteness, I am finding that I have a few issues, which I am loathe to discuss with my dentist. Because I'm pretty sure he already told me all of this, and I wasn't listening. I listened a little, but I figured the bleach would come with instructions in the package. It didn't.

If you know the answers, feel free to help a girl out. Because I can't afford to make this guy any crankier than I did when I started trash talking about his music. He's nice, but everyone has their limits. Honestly, my smile depends on you. And we all know how very vain I am.
  1. If the bleaching is supposed to take 2 weeks and I have 8 tubes of bleach, should I be using 1/2 of a tube each day? Because honestly, that seems like a LOT of bleach.
  2. Is it better to bleach at night?
  3. If I bleach at night, do I brush my teeth after bleaching but before bed?
  4. Or is it better to leave the bleach on after I take the trays out?
  5. Does anybody really care about my bleaching dilemmas?
  6. If I miss a day, will it set back the whole process, or will it not really make a difference?
  7. If I miss a day and do it the next morning, will my teeth fall out if I bleach again at night?
  8. Am I off the Coca-cola for the rest of my life? Because we all know how much I love Coke with Lime on a hot summer day.
And it's 100 degrees here. And my AC isn't working.


Christina said...

I don't really know the answers to your questions. But I would love to have Hollywood white teeth.

Do your local malls have the teeth whitening kiosks too?

If you could get over the shady medical practice and personal embarrassment, you could try that. It might be faster and uses less bleach.

Dave said...

Do they have teeth whitening kiosks here? This is SoCal. No one cares about their appearance.


Mom said...

Do you already have the bleach on hand? If so, don't be a "man" and just tough it out. CALL YOUR DENTIST FOR INSTRUCTIONS!!! He should understand.

The most he can do is really razz you for not listening - no, the most he can do is charge you a consult fee, since you didn't get all the instructions the first time around.

Dave said...

He still has a lot of work to do on Lissa. I'm sure a creative dentist can come up with a few things more uncomfortable than razzing for retribution...

katzbox said...

If we approach each question heuristically, it is likely we'll come to some sort of plan of attack. (Didn't that sound impressive? It means I'm taking a wild but reasonable guess at each one.)
1. Go with your gut. If your mouth/teeth are small, use what feels like a reasonable amount. They have to have enough for people with teeth the size of corn rows up to Mr. Eds.
2. Personally, I have bleached at night, brushing AFTER bleaching and even rinsing after that...do NOT leave that stuff anywhere in your mouth...it's just like Charlie Manson at a parole hearing, unpredictable and maybe even up to no good.
3. I care...deeply...
4. If I missed a day, I just got back on board the next day...okay, that would be the reasonable thing to do...so I lied about what I would do personally...if I missed a day, I would bleach the next day two or three times...but that's just me...
5. You can continue to drink cola, but you'll just have to bleach again sooner rather than later....
taa dah!!!!!!!
take care of them choppers girl!!!!

katzbox said...

what the heck is "kissing rugby"???

Angela said...

Good luck with the bleaching. I too have an expensive bleaching kit and was never quite sure about how much bleaching gel to use. What I learned was that the excess will glop out. Wipe it off, but know next time to use a little less. You should also know that if you didn't get all the glop wiped off, your gums may turn white (as apparently they can also be bleached). This unsightly and alarming look will return to normal by the morning. Finally, I have a pretty high pain threshold (4 unmedicated childbirths) -- but have to use some of those labor relaxing techniques while I'm trying to survive the one-hour of bleaching. However, apparently not everyone has this problem. You may not. I've failed in my bleaching process and am now looking into a one-hour laser light treatment so I can just do it once and get it over with!! I can't wait to hear how it goes for you!

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