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The number of cosmetic treatments for teeth has widened in the last few decades. New and more effective procedures mean that it’s much easier to get the bright, white smile you are looking for.

But which treatments work best and what is the science that lies behind them? Here we take a look at the most popular cosmetic dentistry solutions and how effective they are.

Teeth Whitening

There are a variety of different tooth whitening products on our supermarket shelves today including toothpaste, gels and mouthwashes.

The most effective approach if you want whiter teeth, however, is to visit your dentist. They can make a custom tray that fits your teeth properly and use a stronger bleaching solution that must be administered under medical supervision.

A recent study from the BDJ found that many home or off-the-shelf products contain sodium chlorite which can reduce the hardness of the tooth enamel and lead to damage if used too much. These products also tend to take longer to work and are generally less effective than solutions delivered by a professional cosmetic dentist.

Dental practices use more effective hydrogen peroxide. Dentists are also trained to take the patient’s entire health and safety into consideration.

Orthodontics: Teeth Realignment

The traditional way of realigning the teeth for a straighter smile is to use some form of mouth brace. There have been recent concerns that having these on for extended periods prevents good dental hygiene.

Research by Bristol University, however, showed that there was no predisposition for children who wear braces to develop periodontal disease.

Orthodontics isn’t just for children, of course. The new range of clear or invisible braces has made this sort of cosmetic procedure popular with adults of all ages.

Implants to Replace Missing Teeth

Implants are used for a variety of different reasons. They are ceramic tooth replacements that are attached to a metal base drilled directly into the jaw. They can be used to replace broken or damaged teeth or to provide someone with a more even smile.

This is quite a surgically invasive process and was first developed in the 1950s. It has been used more as a recognised and easily available procedure over the last 30 years. The key here is the long-term success if you are replacing a damaged or missing tooth. If looked after properly with the right hygiene regime, you should expect an implant to last between 15 and 20 years and sometimes much longer.


Veneers are a cheaper and less invasive alternative to implants and have shown a good deal of success. They were initially invented back in 1928 in California. Nowadays there are different types of veneer available and much will depend on what sort of problem you are trying to solve and what condition your teeth are in.

Veneers provide an aesthetically pleasing result for patients but they are also relatively long-lasting. If looked after properly they can last 10 years or more.

What’s Next in Cosmetic Dentistry?

The cosmetic dentistry industry in the UK and around the world is growing and is expected to be valued at £21 billion by 2026. Improved treatment, greater accessibility and affordability have meant that procedures such as whitening and realignment are within many people’s reach.

More and more dental practices are also starting to include a wide array of different treatments for their patients which is making a big difference.