Toothpastes are a dime a dozen, but for a prettier, pearlier smile, sometimes it takes more than a standard toothbrush to do the trick. Lights, veneers, and even coconut oil can eradicate stains and give you more satisfactory enamel. Though some routes require professional support (a visit to the dentist’s office), many brightening techniques can be accomplished without assistance. Here are some doc-approved methods to achieve that million-watt smile. Now, smile like you mean it.
Shine your light over here. Cosmetic dentist Dr. Marc Lowenberg, of Lowenberg, Lituchy & Kantor in New York City, uses ZOOM to whiten patients’ teeth. Oxygen molecules are released, breaking up deeply embedded stains, when light is used as a catalyst. The only preparation required is brushing teeth before having the treatment done. Three or four 15-minute rounds should be completed to see full results: 1-2 shades lighter teeth, which last up to three months. Each treatment costs $1,200.
Show me your teeth. Porcelain veneers cost a pretty penny ($1,600 to $2,700 per tooth) but are perfect for patients looking to change the shape, size, and broadness of the smile, in addition to color. “Find a dentist who has a niche in cosmetic dentistry and experience with porcelain restorations,” says Dr. Victoria Veytsman, DDS in New York City. “Find photos of smiles that you like, and bring them to your consultation.” There’s a bit of planning and many in-office visits before completion, but most take two to six weeks. The wait is well worth it – they last about 15 years.
Don’t forget to floss. Flossing is necessary, and now it’s twice as nice. Flossing out food and plaque is an essential part of a healthy dental regimen. With a built in tongue cleaner, DenTek Fresh & White Silky Whitening Floss Picks use whitening micro-crystals to create a whiter smile when done for three minutes daily. Recommended by Dr. Laura Ruof, DDS in New York City, the medicine cabinet staple will only sent you back $3.
Coconut oil isn’t just for cooking. Rinsing your mouth with coconut oil 10 minutes per day, twice a day, yields whiter teeth in two weeks and lasts as long as the routine is maintained. Dr. Adam Salm, DMD of Madison Dental Spa in New York City recommends this to patients with gingival disease and heavy plaque build up. To prep, the oil must be heated to liquid form (at 76 degrees). Though this is a holistic remedy for the treatment of gum disease, the American Dental Association has not yet approved it.
Charge, spin, and smile. GO SMiLE Sonic Blue Teeth Whitening System is the first rechargeable LED sonic toothbrush that works to kill bacteria, reduce plaque, and whiten. Dr. Maryann Lehmann, DDS of Darien, CT recommends the brush which uses combines brushing and whitening into on step using blue light wavelengths and gel. It takes only two days to achieve teeth that are two shades whiter. In 30 days, a seven-shade difference is seen. The device comes with a toothbrush, whitening gel, blue light, a charging station and two brush head replacements.
Bleach your smile, not your hair. Take-home bleach trays with Opalescence Whitening Gel start with a visit to your dentist and are a favorite of Dr. Robin Ford, DDS at Ford Family Dental. In order for a custom tray, teeth impressions taken to specifically fit the individual’s teeth. Once at home, whitening gel is applied in the trays for certain amount of time (this depends of the gel concentration, which varies per patient). The trays are worn for as little as an hour or as long as overnight. Greater long-term results (even with a low concentration) are seen over the course of several weeks. Before bleaching, it’s recommended to have and exam and a cleaning to determine if the client is clear of decay. To maintain your pearly whites, it’s best to avoid coffee, teas, cigarettes and red wine.