Smiling is a natural instinct and forms part of basic human interaction. However, if your teeth are stained and discoloured, you may feel too embarrassed to smile properly in social situations. This can cause a lot of anxiety and self-consciousness that makes life more stressful than it needs to be.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways that you can enjoy a whiter, brighter smile. Here are three dental treatments that will help to whiten your teeth, remove stains and let you feel confident enough to smile again.

1. Cleaning

For many people, a professional clean by a dentist is enough to make teeth look more presentable and bright. This is a great option if your teeth have only low levels of discolouration and staining caused by eating and drinking. Often, a build-up of plaque can also give teeth a yellowing colour that can be helped with a professional clean.

To clean your teeth, the dentist will use an instrument that directs a fine, high-pressure water spray onto the surface of your teeth. For stubborn areas of plaque build-up, they may use a small scraping instrument. To finish, they use a small polisher to give your teeth a fresh shine.

2. Whitening

If your teeth are more heavily stained and discoloured, you may require a professional whitening treatment. It's advisable to have your teeth cleaned by your dentist prior to the whitening treatment for the best results. The whitening treatment involves the application of a hydrogen peroxide-based gel to your teeth which is then enhanced using ultraviolet light.

Although there are many home-based or beauty salon whitening treatments available, these are not as effective as a dental whitening treatment. Dentists are licensed to use much higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide in their treatments which means better results.

Dentists will also check your teeth for cracks and cavities before the treatment. This prevents the gel seeping into the tooth, which can cause damage to the root of the tooth and a lot of pain.

3. Veneers

If your teeth are very badly stained and discoloured, you may need to go a step further and opt for porcelain veneers. They are essentially custom-made covers that are glued in place over the existing tooth surface.

Veneers are the most expensive option to restore your smile, but in some cases, they are the best option. Some deep stains, such as those on the teeth of long-term smokers, are resistant to both cleaning and whitening.