I want better porcelain veneers than my sister! Any advice?

My sister and I have always had an intense rivalry. Everything turned into a competition whether it was a new outfit, house, car, or even who had the best job. Somehow she found out about my plan to save up for porcelain veneers and what do you know, she went ahead and got them herself before me. Maybe she shouldn’t have been in such a rush though, because she isn’t happy with them. They look fake! It’s kind of hard to put a finger on it but they don’t really even resemble a natural-looking color. It’s made me start second-guessing if I really want them or not. The other day she told me one of them popped off already. I don’t know if it is something she did or if the fault lies with the dentist that placed them because I thought they were supposed to last much longer than that. Any advice? I have been saving up for far too long to blow it on ugly veneers.

– Sharon in Arizona

Sharon,

The good news is that you may have the last laugh in this situation. Based on the problems you have described about your sister’s porcelain veneers, it sounds like the dentist may have been in over his or her head. This happens too often because cosmetic dentistry is not a regulated area within the field of dentistry. So pretty much any dentist can claim to do porcelain veneers and call themselves a cosmetic dentist. But just calling yourself a cosmetic dentist isn’t going to cut it since beautiful cosmetic dentistry requires an artistic eye and a lot of training beyond dental school.

So be sure that you do your homework and find an excellent cosmetic dentist. Most dentists that do beautiful porcelain veneers are perfectionists. They will not be satisfied until you absolutely fall in love with your new smile. In fact, they consider their work a failure unless you love them. So ask the dentist about similar cases to yours and ask to see many before and after shots. Also, ask them if they offer a beautiful smile guarantee with their porcelain veneers. If so, then you are on the right track.

As far as the color looking unnatural, it sounds like your sister’s dentist didn’t get the translucency right. Our natural teeth absorb and reflect light, so if this technique is not perfected with a smile makeover, something will just look “off” about the final product. An expert cosmetic dentist will not only match the color perfectly, but the opacity of the tooth should look exactly like the teeth that surround them.

You are also correct in that porcelain veneers should not fall off. This could be due to the sub-standard skill of the dentist or may have happened during the ceramic work from the laboratory. Most porcelain veneers (if they are applied by a true cosmetic dentist) will last for ten years or longer.

So find the right dentist and you will be able to keep smiling at your sister long after her last veneer has fallen off.

This post is sponsored by Newton MA cosmetic dentist Ultimate Aesthetics.

If I have sleep apnea can I fly with my CPAP?

I have to take a business trip which isn’t out of the ordinary. But since my last trip, I have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. The doctor has issued me a CPAP machine and I just can’t figure out how I will carry this thing on board. I want to have it with me. Do you have any advice because I don’t want to be heard snoring like crazy and I refuse to check it.

– Will in Maryland

Will,

You are allowed to travel with your CPAP machine even though it feels like a major inconvenience. As a carry-on item it will need to be screened and checked by the airport security. One thing to consider is to bring sanitizing wipes along with you because the screening area at the airport is likely unsanitary.

The main thing you need to consider because you have obstructive sleep apnea is that there is a power outlet available near your seat. Also, make sure you travel with the correct adapter. If possible, make these arrangements ahead of time by contacting your airline. This will save you time and frustration the day of your flight. With heightened security, you may also have difficulty carrying on distilled water for the machine. So you would be wise to travel with the prescription from your physician. This way you will be able to travel with distilled water in a pharmaceutical grade bottle.

If your travel picks up again and you want to alleviate lugging around the bulky, loud CPAP, talk to your doctor or visit a dentist that is experienced in treating sleep apnea. A dentist may be able to fit you for an oral appliance which you simply pop into your mouth before you fall asleep. It is customized to fit your mouth and moves your jaw into a more favorable position. This appliance keeps your airway unobstructed during sleep. This will save you a lot of hassle and will eliminate the need for the CPAP for travel and in many cases, patients prefer the oral appliance and stop using the CPAP altogether.

But if you are uncomfortable leaving the CPAP behind, be sure to plan ahead to avoid any complications.

This post is sponsored by Newton MA dentist Dr. Steve Bader at Ultimate Aesthetics.