How to Get a Picture-Perfect Wedding Smile

Photo by Munoz Photography
The first thing Larry Dougherty noticed about his dental school classmate Ana Paula Ferraz was her long, jet black hair. As Ana got to know Larry, she fell in love with his kindness and sense of humor.

After dental school, it was “I do” for the couple. Ana and Larry married in a small, 60-person wedding at an old estate home in Miami. One of their most special guests – the couple’s rat terrier Chi Chi, in full top-hat regalia – even rode to the wedding with Larry in the limo. “It was perfect,” Ana says. “We couldn’t stop smiling.” And they haven’t stopped since. Today, dentists Ana and Larry run their own practice and have some “been there, done that” advice to share for anyone getting ready to celebrate a wedding.  

Whitening for the Wedding

The dress isn’t the only thing that’s white at many weddings. Some couples, including Ana and Larry, whiten their teeth for sparkling smiles on the big day. “If I were to whiten my teeth for a wedding, which I did, I would have a dentist do the whitening in an office,” Dr. Ferraz said. “That way, you can see results right away and not have to worry about placing whitening trays in your mouth every day.” 

Because whitening can make your teeth feel more sensitive, Ana and Larry whitened their teeth a month before the big day. “We scheduled the appointment early to give our smiles time to adjust, which I recommend,” she says. “That way, by your actual wedding day, your teeth aren’t too sensitive.”  

There are also some at-home options you can use, such as trays you can get from your dentist. You can also use whitening toothpaste or strips with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. That way, you know they are safe and effective. Ask your dentist which method is best for you, but above all, stay away from home remedies, which can actually do more harm than good.  

Schedule a Dental Appointment Early On 

“Weddings mark such momentous days in our lives, and our smiles are a big part of them,” Ana says. “The last thing you want to worry about is a toothache on your wedding day or on your honeymoon.” 
If you don’t see a dentist regularly, the time leading up to your wedding can be a great time to start. Schedule an appointment a few months out to avoid painful and possibly expensive problems around your wedding. “I once cared for a patient whose wisdom teeth were infected less than two weeks before her wedding,” he says. “Having regular dental visits can help reduce your chances of a dental emergency or needing a procedure that close to the wedding.”  Need a dentist? Find one today! 

Wedding Day Must-Haves

If your bridesmaids are putting together an emergency kit, there’s one item Ana recommends bringing along. “Have one of your bridesmaids carry floss and little compact mirror to make sure there’s nothing in your teeth and everything looks good,” she says. “That’s what I did.” 
Regular brushing and cleaning between your teeth should help your breath stay fresh, but feel free to also pack some sugarless gum with the ADA Seal of Acceptance if you need a breath boost during the day. “Also, avoid food that can leave your breath not as fresh, like onions or garlic,” she says.   Make a 

Commit to a Daily Dental Routine

Your wedding is just one small part of a long life with your partner. When it comes to your dental routine, don’t let it slide after tying the knot. Ana and Larry followed a healthy dental routine before the wedding.—and have kept up a sweet daily ritual together since then.  “We have our own little routine in the morning where we brush and floss together,” Ana says of her bathroom moments with Larry. 

Sometimes, they even chat over the noisy buzzing of their electronic toothbrushes. “It can be hard to hear her but that doesn’t keep me from talking,” Larry says. “I always have something nice to say.”  

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