9 Things I Wish I'd Known Before Trying Laser Teeth Whitening

I'd be lying if I said I'm not confident in my smile. My parents spent good money on years of orthodontic work to get my pearly whites in tip-top shape. And for that, I'm eternally grateful. My smile is one of the things I get complimented on the most, so I'm forever indebted to my parents' good genes and my hardworking orthodontist. Bless up.

However, being the curious beauty editor that I am, I'll never turn down the opportunity to make my smile a little brighter. When the opportunity presented itself to try out laser teeth whitening, I was all in. Like many other beauty treatments that seem cool in my head, I walk blindly into them with minimal information and maximum excitement. A study by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry revealed the annual revenue in the teeth whitening industry topped $11 billion in 2015—$1.4 billion of that spent on teeth whitening products. In short, the hype surrounding whiter teeth is real. 

As soon as I walked into the office of Marc Lowenberg, DDS; Brian Kantor, DDS; and Gregg Lituchy, DDS, I was greeted with a big smile by Lowenberg, who has a star-studded lineup of smiles under his belt, from Chris Rock's to The Rolling Stones' and Russell Simmons's. A few minutes after meeting me, Lowenberg gave me the lowdown on all things laser teeth whitening, an in-office, noninvasive treatment that uses a zoom light and high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide to create a visibly whiter smile.

At the start of the procedure, an employee took a mold of my teeth to create a custom tray for my mouth, which I'd need after I left (more on that later). They gave me safety eyewear and set up a contraption inside my mouth to protect my gums from the strength of the hydrogen peroxide. Kantor did the honors for my first lasering session, applying bleach to my teeth and explaining how this would all go down.

My teeth were positioned in place, and I didn't move for 15 minutes at a time during each laser session. Kantor checked in on my teeth periodically and applied more bleach after each one to ensure I'd get the best and brightest results possible. Toward the end of my procedure, I started feeling sharp electric shocks. Kantor warned me that these feelings were normal and are signs of my teeth's sensitivity to the high percentage of hydrogen peroxide. The shocks were bearable, just a tad uncomfortable.

Afterward, Kantor and Lowenberg revealed my results, and to say I was happy and thoroughly impressed would be an understatement. My teeth were shades brighter than what they were before. I could not stop staring at them. I was instructed to use my customized tray and apply a lower dosage of peroxide on my teeth for 30 minutes for seven days straight post-procedure to maintain the look of my icy whites. I was also given soothing gel in case I experienced those tingly, shock sensations in my gums again.

Here's the game changer: I couldn't eat any colorful foods or beverages for the next week since they could stain my teeth—a hard task. But I stuck to the rules, and I'm glad. It's been two weeks since my session, and my teeth are still frosty white. If you prefer to know what you're walking into when you're trying something new, here's everything the pros want you to know about laser teeth whitening.