For teeth that don't take to bleaching (particularly those with a gray cast), or those that are crooked or chipped, porcelain veneers are a way to go whiter. Your dentist will remove part of your tooth enamel and bond a veneer that will last for up to 15 years ($1,000-$2,000 per tooth). Unlike bleaching, veneers give you "a predictable result," says N.Y.C. dentist Gregg Lituchy. "You can custom-design your smile."
Why me? Some of us are genetically programmed for pearly whites, but others inherit teeth tinged with yellow or brown. And coffee, tea, red wine, colas, and tobacco can take a toll. Another culprit is the antibiotic tetracycline-no longer prescribed to kids, since it can stain developing teeth. Aging and tooth trauma also can cause dullness and discoloration. Battle plan: if you drink coffee, chase it with water and then brush, says N.Y.C. cosmetic dentist Jan Linhart. This will help wash away stains before they penetrate the enamel.