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A Very Chic Dentist On How To Properly Whiten Teeth

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For the record, dentists don't need to be chic. Dentists just need to be good dentists. No Céline sweaters or Brioni loafers required. But if they happen to be chic—hey! That's great, too. It certainly works well for Dr. Michael Apa, the downtown "dentist of record" for top models to royalty and everyone in between. ITG first discovered him through his toothbrush—a device that looks like your Oral-B went to Art Basel and really found herself at the Soho Beach House. Tall, sleek, and expensive. It's stocked in full spaceship glory at Violet Grey on Melrose Place, another locale that seems full of Dr. Apa's probable patients. (Everyone in LA has really good teeth.) If you're looking to talk dental aesthetics—in addition to health, of course—you've found your man.

"It’s like having great skin," Dr. Apa says of having white(r) teeth. It's a topic that seems to be of great interest to the readers of Into The Gloss—one of the top-clicked products of the year was the whitening kit in this story. That glow, that confidence, that clarity... "More importantly, when people wake up in the morning and see white teeth in the mirror, it activates a chain reaction to want to take care of their smile more." Cheesy, but in a cute way. And who doesn't want whiter teeth? Who cares what you do with them.

But teeth whitening can be a dangerous game. Anyone who's done a Whitestrip and taken a sip of cold La Croix can tell you that. So Dr. Apa wrote you up some rules. Whiten wisely, friends.

Put down the whitening strip

So much of mainstream whitening actually damages the teeth in the process. Kind of like overexfoliating, but your enamel ain't coming back. Instead, focus on the right ingredients. "Safe whitening uses the active ingredient hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide," Dr. Apa says. "This is the only safe way of whitening." Did you see that? Let's copy/paste and italicize. This is the only safe way of whitening.

White doesn't mean healthy, though

When was the last time you went to get your teeth cleaned? Every six months, says almost every dentist ever—though annually may serve you well enough if you're free of certain risk factors. Either way, white does not mean healthy—and healthy is almost certainly better than white. So "make sure you don’t have any pressing cavities or bigger problems at large," Dr. Apa says before starting any sort of serious whitening regimen. Then keep it up with an electric toothbrush (why are you not using one already???) and a gentle whitening toothpaste. Dr. Apa's is great if you're fancy, but we also endorse Colgate Optic White. It works!

And if you're flush with cash

"The ultimate is to get porcelain veneers," Dr. Apa touts. "Veneers can fix bite issues, tooth position issues, color, cavities, really any pressing dental issue." Or you can just use a whitening system—obviously Dr. Apa recommends Dr. Apa's. Don't fault the man! He knows what he's talking about.

Photo via ITG.

And now, some answers to the Botox questions you didn't yet know you had: Read here.