In the interest of journalistic integrity I’ve found myself in some pretty sketchy situations over the years.

As a writer and reviewer, I’ve jumped out of perfectly good planes, dropped tires on a $250,000 Mercedes Benz SLS at Laguna Seca, and snowboarded the backcountry of Park City. Just last week I flew into Austin after spending the better part of fifteen hours climbing a 650 foot tall ice climb in Rocky Mountain National Park without even acclimatizing. I tell you this because I’m no stranger to voluntarily putting myself in situations that my loved ones, and life insurance carrier, would prefer I didn’t.

None of those things worried me as much as going to the dentist to get my teeth whitened.

My editor had booked me to review Austin Dental Spa, a cosmetic dentistry office run by Mark Sweeney and Jordan Slagter in a five story brick office building located just off Austin’s MoPac. I’m here to find out if the Zoom! whitening procedure is as painful as everyone on Google says it is and to see if it actually works as well as it’s advertised.

Anyone who has thought about whitening their teeth has probably come across the Zoom! whitening method and heard about the “zingers”. One person online referred to them as “worse than laboring for twelve hours and delivering a nine pound baby.” I have pretty sensitive teeth, so reading about the “zingers” isn’t helping my general anxiety about seeing a dentist.

My fears are briefly alleviated when I’m met by the incredibly friendly dental assistant who, for the next two hours, will perform my teeth whitening. I’m given an office tour and told about their ‘Digital Imaging Smile Preview” which allows patients to see what their teeth could look like after teeth whitening, porcelain veneers, or any other smile makeover or restorative dentistry enhancement.

The entire procedure took under two hours and left my teeth ten shades whiter than they were when I walked in. Does it work? Without a doubt.

The before and after - our journalist went 10 shades whiter with one treatment

The before and after – our journalist went 10 shades whiter with one treatment

It wasn’t painful at all. I did experience the “zingers” but even with my sensitive teeth it wasn’t anything more than a mild discomfort (which was wildly offset by the fact that I was getting a complimentary hand and foot massage to take my mind off the procedure).

It’s easy to see why Dr. Mark Sweeney has so many loyal patients. He’s been in business for thirty years, is a complete pro with hundreds of hours of continuing education under his belt, but there’s still something about him that reminds me of everyone’s uncle who never quite left Woodstock.

Before leaving I was invited back for a teeth cleaning with a dental hygienist who, one of the assistants tells me, is “amazing” and “girly” but is also a rugby-playing tom-boy. I’m also told that the other doctor, Jordan, is “gorgeous” which has me thinking this is the kind of office Charlie Wilson would operate if he were a world-class cosmetic dentist.

It’s probably worth noting that other doctor, Jordan Slagter, graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Maryland School of Dentistry and is a second generation dentist.

When I woke up the next morning my teeth looked even whiter than when I left the Austin Dental Spa and my teeth were back to feeling completely normal. The whitening process only made my front teeth whiter which makes sense since those are the teeth most visible when you smile, but now I’m thinking I might go back to check out their Smile Preview just to see what other magic Dr. Sweeney and his team can make happen for the perfect smile.


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