When it comes to aging, the first thing we tend to scrutinize is our skin.  But teeth - either due to genetics or the ravages of time - are also huge factors in how old we look.   

Luckily, improving your smile and looking years younger are easier than ever, thanks to the wide assortment of cosmetic dental procedures and at-home use products available today.  Here is a quick "know-before-you-go" overview of some of the most popular options:

Tooth whitening. Today, there are more tooth whitening options than ever to consider, from whitening toothpastes and mouth rinses, to gel trays and strips, to in-office professional treatments.  While more costly, in-office procedures usually produce the fastest, most dramatic and long-lasting results.   

Bonding. Dental bonding is a relatively inexpensive procedure that can be used to correct small spacing issues as well as chips and cracks.  It involves applying a tooth colored composite to the affected area, bonding it to the tooth, where it then hardens, and is finally polished. 

Bonding cannot be used to whiten your entire smile, like porcelain veneers can.  And unlike porcelain veneers, bonding composite is vulnerable to staining.  It is not recommended for smokers.

Braces. Many adults (even some who had orthodontia as children) are turning to braces to help improve the look of teeth that are crooked or crowded, correct an irregular bite, or jaw positioning.  Besides traditional metal braces, they often have the option of Invisalign (clear removable trays), depending on the nature of the problem they need to correct.  A dentist can help determine which option is best.  

Braces typically require multiple office visits, and can involve pain during application and tightening (traditional braces).  The time commitment is daunting for some patients, and often a retainer must be worn indefinitely after the braces are removed.  While braces can result in a beautiful even smile, they only correct alignment and/or bite, and don't fix chips, cracks, worn down teeth or discoloration.

More options on how to perfect your smile coming Monday!

This article was originally published on Fashiontimes.com