You've probably seen the many different at-home whitening options advertised in stores and online. Maybe you've even tried a few out for yourself. There are whitening pastes that you use in place of or along with your regular fluoride toothpaste. These can scrub surfaces stains away, but they won't get rid of deep-down discoloration or make your teeth multiple shades whiter.
At-home bleaching kits and whitening strips tend to work better than pastes when it comes to getting a bright smile. However, it takes time to see results, and they aren't as effective as the whitening products your dentist uses.
Dental-office whitening is stronger than what you can safely use at home. Keep in mind, the word "safely" is key here. Over-the-counter whitening products that claim to have the same strength as an in-office treatment is serious stuff.
Dentists have the training and experience necessary to effectively use higher strength whiteners. Don't risk ruining your teeth by using a professional-grade, at-home option. Instead, visit your dentist. The pros know what they're doing and can give you a whiter smile in a few easy visits.
Sometimes whitening just won't do it. You want a uniformly bright smile and want to add a layer of strength to your teeth. Veneers are ideal for patients who want brighter teeth and need minor fixes, such as evening out a mildly chipped tooth or changing the shape of your teeth.
Veneers are typically made from porcelain and are considered a permanent fix. Even though you may need to replace them over time, these thin covers for your teeth are put in place by a dentist and are not removable — at least, not by you. The dentist will need to remove a layer of enamel to make the veneers fit. This means that you most likely won't have the option to go without veneers in the future.
Along with the cosmetic benefits of veneers, they add strength to your teeth and may keep them looking bright and white much longer than your natural teeth. The material that veneers are made from is stain-resistant and won't discolor in the same way that your real teeth do.