Let’s face it. Your smile is the first thing people notice about you. Your teeth are an important part of every first impression you’ll ever make. They tell people how well you take care of yourself, so they are definitely not something to be ignored.
If you’re self-conscious about your smile because of the color of your teeth, here are a few simple ways you can turn your yellow whites into pearly whites.
Go for teeth whitening
Teeth whitening treatment performed by a dentist can dramatically transform your smile in less than an hour.
Professional teeth whitening services are super-useful for removing superficial stains from the surface of your teeth.
Unfortunately, the treatment doesn’t typically work on restored teeth or teeth with intrinsic stains, which are stains that exist on the inner layer of your teeth.
Following thorough tooth cleaning and prepping your mouth to protect your gums and soft tissues, your dentist will paint a high-strength whitening agent on your teeth. This is rinsed off after 15 minutes and can be repeated to achieve your desired level of brightness.
Since your teeth are porous, they can stain again. So try limiting your consumption of staining drinks like tea, coffee, and wine after a teeth whitening procedure.
If you prefer to whiten your teeth at home, your dentist can give you a take-home kit that uses a dentist-supervised whitening gel and custom whitening trays.
While the whitening agent in a take-home kit is stronger than over-the-counter whitening products, it isn’t as potent as the in-chair option. You might have to wait for around 14 days to see any noticeable results.
Reduce your consumption of staining foods
You can’t go back in time and un-eat all the staining foods you’ve consumed in the past. However, you can prevent your teeth from getting worse by simply reducing your current consumption of staining foods.
This is especially important if you’ve just undergone an expensive teeth whitening treatment.
The two most common culprits when it comes to teeth staining are black coffee and wine. The issue with coffee isn’t so much with its dark color but with its high acidity. That acidity hurts your enamel, which in turn, discolors your teeth.
We’re not suggesting you stop drinking coffee altogether. You can simply start adding more milk or cream to your coffee, which will neutralize some of its acidity. Here are some more ways to take care of your teeth when you’re addicted to coffee.
With red wine, make sure to rinse with water after you consume it. You can also ask your doctor for a neutralizing mouthwash to counteract wine’s harmful effects on your teeth. Excessive, long-term consumption of wine can turn your teeth blue.
Other foods that can stain your teeth include:
- Dark cola
- Energy drinks
- Tomato-based sauces
- Tobacco products
You can read more about the effects of these foods on your teeth here.
Brush and floss regularly
Poor dental hygiene is an important cause of tooth discoloration. Not brushing your teeth properly at least twice a day allows acids to destroy the enamel of your teeth. Coupled with the presence of plaque, this gives stains the perfect surface to stick to.
Although brushing and flossing will not change the overall color of your teeth like dental crowns or veneers would, good dental hygiene can prevent the discoloration from getting worse. This is particularly true if you use a dentist-recommended teeth whitening toothpaste.
Consider dental veneers
Dental veneers are extremely thin, shell-like covers bonded to the front surface of your teeth. They are usually applied to the upper front teeth that make up the smile line and can be made from composite resin (the material used for white tooth fillings) or porcelain.
The choice of material depends on your budget and what you want to achieve. But keep in mind that you may require more than one veneer, depending on the extent of your discoloration. Here is a guide comparing resin and porcelain veneers, so you can make an informed choice.
Get a smile makeover
If nothing else works, you can go for a full-mouth restoration or a smile makeover. Technically, these are two different procedures, but people use the terms interchangeably.
To clarify, a full-mouth restoration involves more than addressing cosmetic damage and may include dental implants, extensive dental work, and surgery.
A smile makeover, on the other hand, is mostly cosmetic. It could include braces, teeth whitening, and veneers (or a combination of these).
Your dentist will help you choose the right treatment based on your concerns.