When it comes to lightening or whitening your teeth, usually your dentist at a place like Revesby Dental Centre will offer either a bleaching process that uses a type of peroxide to break up stains on your teeth, or may suggest that you have sometime placed over your teeth such as porcelain veneers or a bonding agent. These are a putty-like substance that is shaped, formed over the teeth and hardened to look like real teeth. Note the differences between these procedures and which one might be right for you.

1. Bleaching

The terms "bleaching" and "whitening" are often used interchangeably, and this process usually involves taking home a tray that fits over your teeth and that you wear overnight. You will get a certain type of bleach from your dentist that you may put on your teeth or put into the tray, and the tray then keeps the substance in place as you sleep. 

This type of process may take a few weeks for full effect, and note that the bleach you get from your dentist's office may be stronger and more effective than the bleach included in similar systems you buy at the pharmacy. It may also be safer for teeth, and your dentist may recommend a certain type of bleach based on the extent of stains on your teeth. 

This bleaching system works by breaking up stains on the tooth enamel with a type of peroxide. However, it does not work for those who have artificial teeth of any sort; if you have crowns, dentures, bonding, veneers, and the like, the bleach does not penetrate the surface of these teeth so they  won't be affected by the bleach and change colors. The system may not be recommended for those who have enamel damage either, as this can cause sensitivity. The bleach shouldn't penetrate past this protective enamel so for those with enamel damage, it may not be the best solution.

2. Bonding and veneers

If you have enamel damage to your teeth or are not a good candidate for bleach, then bonding and veneers may be recommended. This is also typically recommended for those who already have bonded teeth or veneers; you may need to have these redone if they have become yellowed with age. Bonding and veneers can give you whiter teeth and they can also be used if you have damaged teeth, such as chips and cracks. The bonding agent will protect the teeth and give them a whiter, brighter appearance. Your dentist may need to drill down your actual teeth for the bonding or veneers to work, but the end result can be whiter and straighter teeth.