PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Thursday, August 25, 2005

What Price Vanity?

That's the line that has rolled around my head for a couple months, ever since I went to the dentist for my regular checkup, and inquired about teeth whitening. I had thought it cost around $200. And I was seriously considering it, because while I have many things I don't invest a lot of angst or energy in, I do like my teeth. I've got "lucky teeth", or at least that's what I've been told my whole life: when people have asked if I ever wore braces, and I said "No", they always said, "Wow, you're lucky." I believe 'em - my teeth are pretty straight, and I take fairly good care of them.

So back to the tooth-whitening adventure. To have the professional trays made, and your first set of whitening solution? FOUR HUNDRED AND TWELVE DOLLARS. I must shout that amount. Because there were times over the past 2 months, even as long as five minutes, I decided I was going to do it, despite the cost. And then I'd hear that voice in my head saying, "What price vanity, Jennifer?" So I did some internet research. And some eBay perusing. I decided to risk it on eBay, having read the different auctions thoroughly and intently, as though I was signing away my life's savings. The grand total damage? $89. Not cheap, but that's about what the "professional" grade Crest white strips will run you at the dentist. For my $89, I received a month's worth of 22% whitening solution, and dental forms & putty you activated by kneading the two balls together. A mailer to send the forms back, and complete instructions.

Here is where you get the glimpse into the obsessive-side of my brain. I read the directions three times, at least. For once you knead the putty together (for 40 seconds, timed maniacally with a watch), you are now in a window that is slamming shut. You must roll the putty into a small snake, place it in the dental tray, position said tray in your mouth, and imprint your teeth CORRECTLY. Getting the gumline, but not biting THROUGH the putty. This is apparently what costs the $350 at the dentist's office, that expertise, and unlimited putty if they fuck up. Which I did, on my first try, and so I read the directions again, 2x. Because I only had one extra set of fuck-up putty. My next two attempts came out "OK", but not being a trained putty-form-dental-tray maker, I was still concerned. But then I noticed in the directions "take pictures of the forms if you are at all concerned about if they'll work." Hello, you haven't met me, have you? I like to cover my bases. (Because it costs a bunch more if you arrogantly send in your f-d up forms and they're not right. Like another $20 or so, to get replacement putty & a mailer and all.) So I take pictures. Big ones. Detailed. I send the eBay seller four of these, so big he can use them as wallpaper on his computer, if he so chooses. He emails me back, these look fine, send them back.

So yesterday, I got my little plastic dental trays & I had my first hour of whitening while we watched a movie. I think I've got the real-deal, the solution isn't expired, it's the same stuff sold at the dentist & you can't buy it direct. My plastic trays fit my teeth like painted-on latex, and I paid a 1/4 of what I'd have spent at the dentist. And I guess the answer to my question? I like my vanity anywhere from 50%-90% off retail.

My next job: at-home-dental-tray-putty-form-teeth-impression maker:
posted by PlazaJen, 7:27 AM