Two steps that can be taken to improve the appearance of your teeth

If you're unhappy with the way that your teeth look, here are some steps you can take to improve their appearance.

Tackle tooth stains

Even a perfectly straight, even set of teeth can look unsightly if they are badly stained. If your teeth have brown or yellow patches which are having a negative impact on their appearance, you may want to take steps to remove these stains.

There are two types of stains: extrinsic and intrinsic. The former is caused by external factors such as smoking cigarettes (the nicotine in these can give your teeth a yellowish hue) and consuming too many drinks which are rich in tannins (such as red wine, black tea and coffee), whilst the latter is the result of the enamel eroding to the point where the tooth's dentin layer until it starts to become visible (this layer is naturally yellow in colour).

If your teeth are stained because of extrinsic factors, you should ask your dentist to perform a professional cleaning (referred to as a 'scale-and-polish'), followed by a whitening treatment. The polishing stage of the cleaning process will scrub off the deeply-embedded stains that your normal toothbrush cannot, whilst the whitening treatment will gently bleach your teeth and in doing so, will remove any residual stains that have been left behind after the scale-and-polish.

If your teeth have intrinsic stains, you will not be able to remove them with cleaning or whitening treatments. Instead, you will need to seek out a dentist who specialises in cosmetic dentistry and have them disguise your stained teeth with veneers.

Veneers are essentially very thin tooth caps which are placed over permanently stained or crooked teeth. They are usually made of either composite resin or porcelain.

Veneers are non-absorbent and cannot be stained. This means that after you have had them fitted, you will no longer have to worry about your teeth turning an unattractive yellow or brownish shade after one-too-many cups of coffee or glasses of red wine.

Undergo orthodontic treatment to straighten any crooked teeth

If some or all of your teeth are quite crooked, it may be worth undergoing orthodontic treatment to straighten them.

Braces will place constant but gentle pressure on your teeth and in doing so, will help to gradually move them into their correct positions.

This is a long-term dental treatment, which can take anywhere from a few months to a couple of years to completely straighten all of your teeth. You will also need to go for regular orthodontic tightening sessions to ensure that your braces continue to apply sufficient pressure as your teeth start to move.

However, the end results are permanent and will drastically improve the overall appearance of your smile.