One recent addition to the kitchen armamentarium of every modern household is the ceramic knife. These knives are said to be very, very sharp, making them good for uses like slicing tomatoes where a sharp blade makes it easy to pierce the the thin skin without compressing the soft flesh inside.
However, ceramic knives aren’t useful for a lot of situations, such as prying or pressing, essentially any application that puts torque on the blade. They are also vulnerable to chipping or breaking when dropped. If you’ve had this kind of experience with ceramic knives, you might worry that porcelain veneers will be similarly vulnerable to breaking in your mouth.
But don’t worry. There are many reasons why porcelain veneers will not crack or fracture like ceramic knives.
Ceramic knives and porcelain veneers are both made out of advanced ceramics, but they’re different ceramics. Ceramic knives are made out of zirconia ceramic, which is mostly zirconium oxide with some yttrium oxide.
Porcelain veneers, on the other hand, are made out of many different materials. Lithium oxide gives its strength to many different porcelain veneers. Other porcelain veneers are made out of aluminum oxide, a material that is used in many advanced ceramic compositions, including body armor.
Technically, zirconia is stronger than either lithium oxide or aluminum oxide, but its strength is its weakness. Strength often comes with brittleness. By being less strong, these veneering ceramics actually benefit by gaining some flexibility. That flexibility is increased by adding other materials that allow the veneers to gain additional flexibility, as well as helping them look more translucent like your natural tooth enamel.
As well as being different in composition from ceramic knives, porcelain veneers are used differently. The ceramic knife is a solid block of ceramic, but the veneers are actually bonded to your natural tooth. The tooth and the veneer support one another, so that they have good fracture resistance. The addition of the hard but flexible porcelain veneer to your tooth makes for a very durable construction.
When we look at the survival rates for porcelain veneers, we see that they are very high, with 95% of veneers lasting ten years, and nearly 85% lasting 20 years, which is not to say that they never break.
What about Metal-Free Dental Implants?
If you remember, ceramic knives are made of the same material as metal-free dental implants. In this case, there is very little risk of the implant suffering the same type of chip or fracture that ceramic knives do. They are encased in the jawbone and covered by a dental crown, so they aren’t subjected to the type of force that leads to chipping.
If you would like to learn more about advanced dental restoration materials and how they can give you a beautiful, durable smile, please call (803) 781-9090 for an appointment with a Columbia, SC cosmetic dentist at Smile Columbia Dentistry.