A Different Kind of Techonology

September 12, 2006 | 2 Comments

AfterDentistry seems such an odd field to me: it’s half Spanish-inqusition and half quantum leap. Today I had my teeth whitened/bleached/lasered I don’t know. They did the bi-annual cleaning procedure, except instead of polishing with tasty fruit-flavored paste, I got bland grit in my teeth (the hygenist actually called it pumice) because the tasty stuff interferes with the whitening magic. Then they inserted (effectively) a vice into my mouth covered all the soft tissue with gauze, painted my teeth with “bleach” and pointed a very bright light (presumably “laser”) at me. It’s such an odd juxtaposition of technology.

The vice and gauze process takes a while, maybe 30 minutes. They also use a nifty gel on your gum tissue that hardens when exposed to their spaceman UV light (I’m assuming you’ve seen their UV guns, they are, in fact, very jetsons-inspired).

The process then consists of three 20-minute exposures to the light, replacing the bleach in between. One well known, and well disclaimed side-effect is teeth sensitivity, and I mean REALLY sensitive, which is the part I didn’t quite grasp. They kept asking me during the first two cycles if I was sensitive yet, and I kept looking at them with a puzzled “sensitive how?” look. During the third cycle I found out. Random shooting pains in my teeth, so that’s what they meant! Sensitive indeed, just breathing through my mouth cause me shooting pains, which is complicated by the fact that I’ve had some cold/allergy related stuffiness in the last several days. I took a sick day at work because the shooting pains made it very hard to concentrate on anything for more than a minute or two.

Earlier they did the X-Rays with the newer digital (filmless) technology, which I think is pretty cool as well.


  1. Where are the before and after pictures ?

    Comment by Roger — September 15, 2006 #

  2. It didn’t occur to me until after I got back from the dentist to do before and after pictures but I think it’s hard to capture well, since different lighting will produce different results. However I’m pretty happy with the results, but I’m not sure if I’d do it again except for really special occasions.

    Comment by pablo — September 15, 2006 #

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