A white dress and yellow teeth don’t make a great match— or great photos! Luckily for you, the latest whitening dynamos make brightening up your smile easier than ever.
Whether you’re a whitening newbie or habitual bleacher, before you try another product, have a frank discussion with your dentist about what’s making your teeth look dull. Are the surface stains intrinsic (from tetracycline use, or trauma to teeth), or extrinsic (the result of coffee, tea, wine, spaghetti sauce, or smoking)? The degree of discoloration and the condition of your teeth will affect how well any whitening regimen works. Both in-office and at-home techniques use peroxide as the active ingredient “to penetrate the micropores of the outer enamel, breaking down the stain,” explains Atlanta cosmetic dentist Peter V. Vanstrom. “As a rule, brown and yellow staining can be whitened more easily than gray or darkened teeth.” If you already experience some zingers when drinking hot or cold liquids, chances are sensitivity will be an issue. Try using a less intense bleach product, and go slowly for effective yet shudder-free results.