Are veneers the right option for me?

veneers before and after photosThe quest for the perfect smile is difficult and often times frustrating. For many, teeth must be sparkling white, straight, and have not gaps between them. In the past, braces and abstaining from dark colored foods and drinks were the only methods of achieving the perfect smile. However, advancements in dental technology have made the process much easier.

Veneers have become the all-in-one solution for many seeking an improved smile. Veneers are often made from porcelain or other dental-safe materials and are shaped into a thin covering or plate that can fit over a tooth. In one procedure, discolored, misshaped, broken, and crooked teeth can become white, whole, and straight. While veneers can be a solution for those unhappy with their smile, it is wise to think carefully before undergoing the procedure.

In order to apply veneers, the dental surgeon will have to grind teeth down to a smoother surface so that the veneer will properly adhere. At least half of the tooth’s enamel is lost during the grinding process, and the natural teeth become susceptible to sensitivity, pain, and even infection and disease. “Once a tooth undergoes this process, it cannot be reversed, so it is important to understand the procedure prior to undergoing it,” warns Indianapolis dentist Dr. Jerrold Goldsmith.

Another thing to consider before getting veneers is the maintenance. Veneers can last up to fifteen years, but those who have them should be prepared to have them replaced every seven or eight years. After this time, the chances of losing or breaking a veneer dramatically increases. Those with veneers must be careful in choosing what they eat. Like with braces, certain foods can contribute to breaking or popping off veneers, and since veneers must be worn permanently once the procedure has been maintained, the wearer might have to undergo some dietary changes.

Because veneers have to be replaced every few years, those considering the procedure must be able to financially maintain them. Veneers can cost up to $1200 per tooth depending on the size of the veneer and the complication of the procedure.

A final consideration before getting veneers is the physical change that takes place once the veneers are in place. “Because veneers change the shape of teeth, they can also change the way a person speaks, chews, and position and alignment of the jaw. It will take time to grow accustom to the change,” says Dr. Goldsmith. Some people require night guards and other equipment to ease the adjustment.

For some, the benefits of getting veneers outweighs the potential problems that can arise. It is important to investigate all possible issues before undergoing a procedure.

Are you better off using antibacterial soap?

Would you believe the answer is a resounding NO? In fact, this week the FDA proposed a new rule targeting companies that make antibacterial soap and body washes to prove that their products are actually more effective at stopping the spread of infection or illness than just using plain old soap and water.

Nearly half of the soaps currently sold in the United States contain antimicrobial agents. This despite the fact that the American Medical Association has said there is absolutely no reason to buy antibacterial soaps. The AMA even has gone one step further and argued that you should not buy antibacterial soaps because they could do more harm than good. They suggest that antibacterial soaps can actually make bacteria stronger and more resistant to existing germ killers.

There is other research that suggests that ingredients like triclosan or triclocarban, both often used in these soaps, can have negative health effects on your hormones and possibly break down some of your body’s natural defenses against some cancer-causing agents.

“Most illnesses are caused by germs and viruses, not by bacteria,” says Stuart Levy, M.D., a microbiologist at Tufts University. “That means antibacterial soap really isn’t any better than the regular stuff,” he says.

What that means for you is you are better off just sticking to the regular stuff.