How to Get a Whiter Smile
Everyone from celebrities walking the red carpet to brides on their big day to the average person going on a job interview want the same thing – a bright, white smile. There are multiple options when it comes to whiting your teeth, and some might even surprise you.
Try over the counter whitening.
Who doesn’t want to save a little money and be able to whiten their teeth on their own schedule? It is possible to get great results from teeth bleaching products purchased at your neighborhood drugstore. Nancy Rosen, DMD, a cosmetic and restorative dentist in New York City, says the best way to get a whiter smile is to bleach (or whiten) your teeth, and this can be done using an over-the-counter product such as her favorite, Crest White Strips. These products work easily, effectively and without a lot of hassle. Timeframes and guidelines vary depending on which product you purchase, but if you simply follow the instructions on the package, you should see results. But beware, similarly to stronger whiting products at your dentist’s office, the teeth are being bleached and can become sensitive. As always, be sure to check with your dentist and follow his advice regarding any whitening treatments.
Get your dentist to professionally bleach.
If you are willing to invest a little more in a whiter smile, there are two options for professional teeth whitening. Dentists can either send you home with a custom-fitted kit, similar but more intense than an over-the-counter treatments, or they can bleach your teeth in the office. Steve Weinstein, DDS, who runs a private practice in Philadelphia, Pa., explains the whitening process as being similar to tanning: “You can get a tan, but slowly it fades away,” he says. “Whitening works the same way, but instead of losing color, you are bringing back stains on your teeth. Whitening products work by oxidizing stains on teeth. Over-the-counter treatments work well for lots of people, but if you haven't gotten results you wanted with those, you can try in office whitening.”
If you choose a professionally-dispensed at-home treatment, you will be fitted you for a custom mouth guard which holds a bleaching gel. Your dentist will then give you directions on how long to wear the mouth guard and how much gel to use, as it varies from patient to patient. On the other hand, if you do bleaching at your doctor’s office, each appointment will last around 30 minutes to one hour, and it can take between two and 10 appointments at one week intervals to obtain the desired results.
Bring on the veneers.
Ever wonder how celebrities like Jon Bon Jovi, Oprah Winfrey and Hilary Duff have such big, white smiles? Well, it’s not just bleaching their own teeth that gives them their bright smiles; they have veneers. A veneer is a casing that goes around the front of the tooth, often made from porcelain tooth-colored materials. They are typically used to hide permanently stained or broken teeth, but this procedure has also become popular for cosmetic purposes. On average per tooth, a veneer can cost somewhere between $ 1,300 and $2,000 depending on how many you are having done, and where they are located in your mouth. Dentists often recommend that you have at least four teeth done at once, especially when they are in the front of your mouth to keep the coloring as consistent as possible. It is not a cheap process and is a big commitment, but the results will definitely be something to smile about.
Get your teeth cleaned.
When was the last time you had a dental checkup? The good oral hygiene guidelines from the American Dental Association (ADA) include regular visits to your dentist for professional cleanings and oral exams. Interestingly enough, depending on the amount of stains and buildup, all it takes to have a whiter smile is to get your teeth professionally cleaned. The dental hygienist and dentist are able to use powerful tools that will remove more of these stains than an average toothbrush at home. Please keep in mind that a cleaning might not give you the desired bright-white effect that comes with bleaching your teeth, but it is healthy for both your teeth and gums.