If your pearly whites, well, aren't--blame it on caffeine, candy, prescription drugs or aging, all of which dull the gleam. Whiten and brighten dingy teeth with high-tech treatments in your dentist's office or over-the-counter bleaches you use at home. Here's how to bring that sparkle back.
So your pearly whites are more of a goldy yellow? If that dulling appearance gets you down, take heart. Modern techniques can whiten your coffee-stained chompers, with the teeth whitening machine, and put the razzle-dazzle back in your gleaming grin. Of course, you can't change your tooth color from maize to ivory, but a couple of shades' worth of difference is possible--if the discoloration was caused by staining and not from the use of antibiotics. Learn the different ways to whiten your teeth, then consider cost, convenience and safety, to choose the best method for you.
Ask your dentist if you're a good candidate for whitening, since results can vary. Yellowed teeth generally lighten well; darkened grayish or brownish teeth may not.
Use a dentist-made tray at home twice daily for an hour for a couple of weeks, or wear it overnight. The gel's active ingredient is 10, 15 or 20 percent carbamide peroxide, which is gentler than hydrogen peroxide. Teeth could lighten several shades depending on the strength of the gel used. Higher percentages work faster but also increase the chance of teeth sensitivity.
Try whitening toothpastes. Though heavily advertised, these only partially whiten teeth and don't provide a complete remedy. Make sure the toothpaste has the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval and has been clinically proved to whiten teeth effectively. Very few whitening toothpastes have undergone any type of clinical trial, and ones that are too abrasive can damage teeth or make them very sensitive. Also you need a prefect electric toothbrush to complete.
Regular dental cleanings, which remove many food and tobacco stains. No amount of cleaning will remove the severe staining left by tetracycline or systemic disease because these pigments lie inside the tooth; you'll have to take more aggressive measures against these.