Millions of people want to know how to get white teeth in these image-conscious times.
Little wonder – we're bombarded with images of beautiful people with impossibly perfect teeth on TV, in the movies and on the front pages of popular magazines.
We're not all going to be movie stars, but everyone wants to look their best whether it's for a job interview, a hot date, giving a presentation to a school class or making a speech at a friend's birthday or wedding.
Now it's never been easier to get a great-looking smile, but if you don't do it right you could be setting yourself up for a big disappointment – not to mention causing yourself some real injury and pain.
So, here are three things you must know about getting the dazzling smile of your dreams:
1) Don't try this at home. Yes, those do-it-yourself tooth whitening kits do look tempting, but unless you are really careful and follow the instructions to the letter you could wind up with irritated, sore gums and painfully sensitive teeth. In some cases people over-bleach their teeth, causing discoloration – the last thing you want. Also, if you have crowns on any of your front teeth be warned: A whitening procedure only works on your natural teeth, not on porcelain crowns. Those crowns will stick right out if they appear duller alongside your newly whitened natural teeth.
2) See a dentist for the best results. OK, it might cost more, but those extra dollars will buy you a professional teeth whitening procedure with minimal risk of problems. Also, a dentist will carefully examine your teeth to make sure you don't have cracks or leaky fillings that need fixing before a tooth whitening. This is very important because some tooth whitening ingredients can erode tooth enamel if not carefully applied and they could cause pain if they get deep inside a cracked tooth.
3) Get a good dental insurance plan. It's true most dental plans don't cover tooth whitening, but here's why you need dental insurance: Your tooth whitening procedure might look great on the front teeth, but if when you laugh you reveal a lot of ugly metal amalgam fillings on your back teeth the effect will be ruined. Most dental insurance covers white composite fillings these days so you can, in stages, replace the old fillings and get a truly natural look for your whole mouth.
Your teeth are precious – get them the best care you can afford!