Everyone wants a clean, white smile. But what’s the better way to achieve that: by whitening your stained teeth or fitting them with shell-like prosthetics called porcelain veneers?

Let’s investigate.

Teeth whitening

Amazingly, professional teeth whitening can brighten your smile by up to eight shades after one visit to the dentist. Typically the way this process works is dentists like this Bradford dentist apply a specially formulated, hydrogen peroxide-based gel to your teeth and leave it there for about 15 minutes.

Oftentimes, the bleaching gel is also exposed to an “activating lamp,” which allows the peroxide to fully penetrate your teeth.

The process can be repeated three times to achieve maximum results.

Professional teeth whitening is best for getting rid of stains that have occurred over time due to drinking red wine, coffee, tea or eating or drinking other highly pigmented food and beverages.

You cannot whiten dental prosthetics like crowns, bridges or veneers.

Porcelain veneers

You don’t need to whiten porcelain veneers, however, because they’re installed to hide teeth that have been discoloured or are misshapen or cracked.

“A veneer is just basically a cover that goes on the tooth, like an acrylic nail,” explained Dr Kevin Sands, a Beverly Hills-based dentist said in a Buzzfeed article on veneers. Dr Sands specializes in dentistry for the wealthy elite. “If you're just doing healthy teeth, you just have to take a thin layer off [the tooth], a couple of millimetres, like a contact lens.”

Like teeth whitening, porcelain veneers can transform your teeth into a stunning smile in short order – although installing them usually takes two visits. First, an impression of your teeth is made as a reference. Then the teeth that will receive the veneers are prepared by the dentist who will remove a small portion of each tooth to make room for the veneers.

On your second visit – probably about two weeks later – your dentist will attach the veneers to your teeth.

Combining the two

Professional teeth whitening and installing porcelain veneers are often presented as an either-or option for patients looking to whiten their smile. But you don’t have to look at the procedures that way. They can be used in tandem to make your smile dazzling.

Pros and Cons

While veneers are traditionally resistant to whitening procedures, your natural teeth can be whitened with the help of a professional to make sure all of your teeth are the same colour. It’s very important to work with a professional capable of colour-matching your teeth, otherwise, you can run into the issue of having mismatching coloured teeth.

According to Honestteeth.com, whitening services are traditionally suggested before receiving veneers. Once the procedure has started, high-quality images of your teeth are taken, as well as dental impressions and moulds of your smile. The shade of your teeth will be noted, with that information then being sent to a dental lab. That is where your perfectly matched veneers will be manufactured.

Making the decision to improve your smile is a big one, make sure you connect with a dental professional to see what options are available to you.