According to a national survey from the American Dental Association (ADA) and Crest® and Oral B®, the smile outranked eyes, hair and the body as the most attractive physical feature. But many people keep their smiles to themselves, embarrassed by yellowed or stained teeth.
Many factors can cause your teeth to become discolored:
- Antibiotics – The use of antibiotics during childhood, or exposure to high levels of fluoride or tetracycline can cause dull or discolored teeth.
- Certain foods – Oranges, carrots and other foods can yellow teeth, as can coffee, tea, and foods and drinks with tannins (like red wines).
- Tobacco – Both smoking and chewing can lead to an unsightly smile.
- Genetics – Once again, heredity reigns.
- Age – Teeth usually darken as you get older.
At Home or in the Dental Office – What’s the Difference?
Once you’ve decided to brighten your smile, you can either use over-the-counter remedies or choose to let a dentist whiten your teeth. At-home treatments include:
- Rinses – These easy-to-use, mouthwash-type rinses whiten smiles gradually, since they’re only in contact with teeth for a short time.
- Toothpastes – Since these toothpastes remove surface stains with enzymes or mild abrasives, they can make teeth sensitive.
- Gel strips – For best effect, these peroxide-based strips need to be applied once a day, usually for 30 minutes to two hours, and work best when used for 10 to 20 days.
- Whitening gels – Though these whiteners can be applied with a toothbrush or cotton swab, they’re most commonly used with plastic mouth trays. A gel-filled mouth tray can whiten teeth faster than the other methods, but is more likely to irritate gums, since the trays are not custom-made.
Dentists also use mouth trays, but fit them to your mouth. And since dentists can protect your gums during the procedure, they can use stronger whitening agents than at-home remedies contain, and can lighten your teeth as much as ten shades.
Which to choose? If your teeth and gums are in good condition, cost is an issue, and time is not of the essence, a do-it-yourself remedy may work just fine, though it will probably not whiten your teeth as much as a dentist could. For teeth that may be sensitive or especially stained, or when whiter teeth are desired quickly (for a wedding, perhaps), an in-office whitening procedure would probably be a better choice.
Dental Veneers – Putting Your Best Face Forward
You know those megawatt celebrity smiles that grace the front of magazine covers? If the celeb’s teeth look perfectly sized, wonderfully white, and evenly aligned, they may be veneers. Dental veneers are hot right now, and with good reason. They make stained or discolored teeth look brighter. They hide any imperfections, like broken or cracked teeth.
Dental veneers are thin sheets of porcelain or a resin composite that are permanently bonded to the teeth, covering the teeth underneath. Porcelain veneers are most popular, as they have the translucent look of real teeth and tend to resist stains better than resin.
To have veneers applied, you’ll typically go through a three-step process:
- You’ll consult with your dentist. Veneers are custom-designed to look as natural as possible, so your dentist may take impressions and/or X-rays in order to determine the right size and color of your veneers.
- In veneers section where there is three step process after small amount of enamel is removed dentist will design your veneers in front of you with 3 d scanner and milling machines You can actually choose how your veneers will actually look
- Once the lab sends back the veneers, your dentist will bond them to your teeth using light-sensitive resin, hardening the resin with a special light that causes a chemical reaction. Your smile will be beautiful, immediately.