Your smile is often your best feature and is certainly noticed first. When patients are asked what they would change about their smiles, they most often respond, “A whiter, brighter smile!” Keeping your teeth bright can be easy with the treatment options now available.

The Basics of a Brighter Smile

First, start with the basics, which means good oral hygiene. Daily brushing with fluoride toothpaste, flossing, and regular visits to the dentist are the important first steps. Limit your use of foods and beverages that can reduce the appearance of whiteness like coffee, tea, red wine, soft drinks, and acidic foods. Foods high in sugar can promote plaque buildup, which can increase the likelihood of developing yellow or brown stains. When you do consume these items, remember to brush or at least rinse your teeth afterward. Prescription medicine or just plain aging can also cause yellowing or graying of your teeth.

Treatment Options

Sometimes just a good cleaning is all you need to brighten your smile and give you the results you want. Other options include over-the-counter products, professional whitening treatments, veneers, and crowns.

Over-the-counter products are plentiful, but they are usually much less effective than professional treatments. Some common treatments which are available at your local drugstore include whitening strips, special whitening toothpaste, and take-home whitening trays. Because these products are used without a dental professional’s supervision, they normally contain much milder treatments than those used by the dentist.

Perhaps you’ve heard about natural whiteners which can be found in your pantry. Again, they won’t be as effective as professional or over-the-counter treatments. They include making a whitening paste from baking soda and lemon juice; strawberries, baking soda, and salt used as a scrub to clean away stains; or oil pulling with coconut oil, which also helps to protect from gingivitis.

Professional whitening treatments by your dentist are often your best bets and either include an in-office procedure where a bleaching gel is applied to your teeth or take-home trays. With the in-office procedure, the gel is activated with a special light which removes discoloration. The take-home trays are filled with a powerful bleaching gel and are worn for an hour or two daily over the course of one to two weeks. The home procedure is not as immediate as the dental chair procedure, but you will notice results much quicker than the over-the-counter treatments. With these treatments, you dentist can customize the treatment based on your sensitivity.

In some cases, whitening treatments for patients who have stains which form below the enamel may not work. The dentist can apply a thin porcelain restoration known as a veneer. They can be used to reshape and change the color of the tooth. Veneers are custom made from thin wafers of porcelain and are bonded to the front of teeth. They are very durable, stain resistant, and designed to imitate the appearance of surrounding teeth.

Visit SKS Dental in Arlington and speak with Dr. Smita to help you decide one which cosmetic options which would be best to make your smile the brightest it can be.