In the middle of last year, 22-year-old Abby decided to bite the proverbial bullet and get her teeth professionally whitened.
“When I was about 12, when my adult teeth had literally just come through, I smashed my face on the monkey bars and broke all four of my front teeth. I’ve been my parents worst nightmare with all the dental work I’ve had to have,” Abby told Mamamia.
As a result of the accident, she had her teeth capped, and over the years she found the colour faded.
Her dentist suggested she get her teeth whitened to “even them all out.” She had two options; to have the procedure done in the dentist’s chair for approximately $800, or purchase an at home kit from her dentist, for approximately $400.
She chose the latter.
The kit required her to insert a mould every night for over an hour, which she says was a pain, both physically and practically.
"You don't realise how much of an inconvenience it is - if you want to eat or sleep..." she said. But then there was the sensitivity, which she says was incredibly painful.
"I did it in winter... and I remember walking to work and the cold air would kill me," she recalled.
Abby told Mamamia she usually has quite a high pain threshold, and was shocked by how much it actually hurt. Her dentist, though he warned her there might be some sensitivity, had never told her the procedure could be painful.
"I wouldn't do it again," Abby said.
Writing for Self, Jenn Sinrich also attested to the pain involved in professional teeth whitening.
Sinrich opted to have the procedure done in the dentist's chair, and says the first 15 minutes were uneventful. During the second session, where the whitening gel was reapplied, she writes: "Seemingly out of nowhere I was in immense pain.
"I started moaning for help and instantly the hygienist turned the lights on and moved the UV light..."
When Sinrich told her she was in agony, the hygienist nodded and said, "It's the zingers."
Apparently 'zingers' are caused by "aggravating the nerves in the teeth."
In the end, Sinrich could not go through with the remainder of the session, because she says the pain was "maddening".
Mamamia spoke to a number of women about the pain they were left with during and after the treatment, with one woman describing the "sudden spikes of pain through the roots of your teeth."
Siobhan, who purchased a kit from the dentist, said her teeth have been overly sensitive ever since.
Though the pain is well-known to those who have undergone the treatment, it is rarely discussed with those who are considering it.
When a treatment costs as much as professional teeth whitening does, an individual ought to be adequately cautioned that serious, excruciating pain is a potential side effect.