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Suspect Information, Ideas, and Opinions - rarely updated and of dubious quality.

Dear Diary...

"They're laughing because
I am pinching their bums..."

Today, I had my teeth whitened using the "dentist-delivered" Rembrandt Laser whitening system. This is how it worked for me: Last week, my genial and friendly dentist gravely recommended tooth whitening to me because for some reason I still cannot fathom, 25 years of smoking seems to have turned my teeth yellow. The procedure is not covered by insurance because it is considered "cosmetic" and costs $300. Though I'm sure I could make a case that I passed "cosmetic" about 10 years ago, I decided to take the plunge anyway. I reasoned I could use money from the grocery budget - the kids can eat dog food for another couple of weeks. Though the brochures in the dentist's lobby claim results on the order of "10 shades of whitening" my dentist told me to expect something more like 3 shades - he said this while shaking his head sadly and wondering (I'm sure) how some people can let themselves go so badly.

Upon arriving for my appointment, my hygienist, Melanie, took me back into "the whitening closet" - possibly the smallest room I have ever seen in a dentist's office. It contained the standard dentist chair and that freestanding octopus thing with angular metal tentacles emanating which I guess is all that's important. I was given a Standard Release Form to sign that warned me of some possible negative side-effects such as increased tooth sensitivity and gum bleaching, death, etc. The form made me a little paranoid because my teeth are already pretty sensitive; I'm not sure I could stand any more sensitivity for extended periods - but Melanie was very professional and reassuring. I should say that what she said was very professional and reassuring but she was evaluating me the whole time and her eyes said something like: "This crackpot is going to mentally snap 15 minutes into this procedure..."

So after the legalities were taken care of, we started. Melanie pumiced my teeth to clean them, then handed me a cup of something to gargle with - something to suppress my saliva production I think? Then she handed me a cotton swab covered in something and said something like: "you're mouth is going to be open for around an hour and a half so we ask you to apply this to your lips to prevent drying/chapping..." so I smeared what seemed like a half a pound of Vaseline over and around my lips. I should mention now that Melanie is good-looking, and though I am married and fat and old, I am still pretty good-looking comparatively speaking. And good-looking people like me don't like to look ugly around other attractive people. (Those of you out there who are ugly all of the time will have no idea what I am talking about, but all of you other hotties hear me, right?) The lip balm wasn't exactly making me look cool but I figured I could make the shiny lips work for me. But Melanie had other ideas. She next gave me to wear, a pair of yellow safety glasses styled in the 1980's. This was to prevent my eyes from getting aggravated by the laser light. So now, with the dry mouth, shiny Vaseline lips and the gayest glasses ever created, I was failing fast in the cool department.

But it was far from over. Melanie next adjusted the chair so that my feet were up and my head was low, causing my sinuses to instantly clog. She also pulled out this contraption called a "cheek spreader" and instructed me to flip over on my stomach so she could install it. No, I'm totally kidding. The cheek spreader was to hold my lips and cheeks away from my teeth while the bleach did it's work. Picture the eye spreader thing from A Clockwork Orange in your mouth. The inventor of the spreader however decided that this horrible medieval device was missing something - a tongue suppressor which is a snap-in addition, a sort of shot glass with wings that you tongue slides into - to prevent the tongue this time from coming into contact with the tooth bleach. The whole assembly was plastic and the sharp edges pinched my gums and dug-in to that skin-thing that fastens my tongue to my head. Next I received this vacuum tube to suck up the saliva that was collecting at the back of my throat. Then Melanie applied this blue stuff called Rubber Dental Dam to the edges of my gums so that any excess bleach would hit the rubber instead of my gums. So forget about me looking cool or sexy - instead by this point I think looked like Predator near the end of the movie after Arnold knocks off his helmet.

I couldn't believe I had endured all of this and we hadn't actually started whitening teeth yet. But thankfully that was next. Melanie applied some bleach-solution-gel-cream to my teeth in sections, and once she had done all of the top teeth she placed some Saran Wrap over the teeth to hold the bleach on. Then she applied bleach to the bottom teeth and another piece of Saran. Lastly, she flicked on this laser light that looked like some kind of gem (so that the laser light shoots out in multiple directions at the same time) and shoved the gem in my cranked-open mouth. Then she flipped me back upright, swung a television in front of my face, put a remote in my hands, and gave me a box of Kleenex because I guess I was crying pretty hard by that point. Melanie asked me if I was OK. I said "Unngh, Ack!" and threw in a few clicks like some central African tribesman. For good reason there were no mirrors in the room, but I could imagine what I looked like and sadly accepted that fact that Melanie and I will never date if Patti and I ever split up.

All of that took exactly 30 minutes. All that was left was an hour holding still with my face locked in the rictus of happy-horror. I watched Everybody Loves Raymond and Cheers. Ray's mother reminds me of my own, but without the humour or the kindness, and that Woody is quite the country bumpkin! Melanie had left a motion detector behind and told me to wave my hand in front of it if I needed any assistance - she would come check on me periodically. The damn detector went off every time I moved so eventually I turned it around to face away from me. After 10 minutes Melanie came into to check on my progress and noted that my Saran had fallen off. She asked if I was a mouth-breather and said, "Try to breathe through your nose so the Saran doesn't fall off" So, snorting like a fine-food critic dining at an A&W, I endured 10 solid minutes of pulling a thin and barely survivable stream if oxygen through my completely stopped-up nostrils, only to have Melanie return after 10 minutes and report with a sigh that the Saran had once again fallen off and that I must breathe through my nose to prevent this from happening. This statement didn't bode well for our blossoming relationship and I am sad to report it caused our first fight because I responded with something along the lines of "I can't breathe through my @#$@ nose! It's so plugged that when I try, it sounds like a pig farm at lunchtime, godd----t! But all she heard was "Unngh, Ack!"

After the hour was over, everything went quickly. The laser gem was pulled out, the horrible plastic spreader was removed; she pulled out the Saran, and the blue rubber dam material. I think I might have gargled again with something, then she handed me a mirror and...

...well, I don't know what I was expecting going in, but the utterly medieval and horrible procedure was offset by the fantastic results! It TOTALLY exceeded my expectations. I haven't had teeth like this since I was 20! My teeth look fantastic! So good in fact, that I don't want to drink coffee anymore. Or eat ketchup or anything else that could remotely stain my teeth. I brush my teeth three times a day now. Life is good. When I smile now, streams of God-like light radiate out from my mouth. Angels sing. Funny enough, I stood in front of the mirror with Patti afterwards to compare the whiteness and she is already the same shade of white as me. Wow, but it's way more dramatic for me because of how yellow I was before.

So the long and short of it, dear diary, is that I would recommend this to anyone contemplating it. Phenomenal!

Dear Diary...
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