Treatment options: BriteSmile and Zoom! are two light-activated tooth bleaching options available only from a dentist. Both treatments take about an hour and use light systems to activate hydrogen peroxide-based gels. BriteSmile uses a blue wavelength lamp that generates no heat, while Zoom! uses UV light. Each of these procedures can make an immediate and sometimes dramatic difference in the appearance of teeth. The procedure costs around $500, though dentists frequently run specials that can lop a third or more off the price of the treatment.
Restorative procedures like dental veneers, crowns, and caps may be far more effective than brushing, flossing, and bleaching alone. Veneers are thin shells placed on the surface of a tooth (once the tooth is shaved down), and are made from either porcelain (at least $1000 per tooth) or a composite material (about $250 per tooth).
Lumineers are an alternative to porcelain veneers, set apart by their contact lens-thin construction and the fact that the procedure can be reversed, unlike veneers. Dental crowns, or caps, provide another way to cover discolored teeth. A dental crown is a casing that's cemented over the entire visible portion of the tooth, thereby masking imperfections, such as stains.