One of the things that recommend porcelain as a material for making dental restorations is its high level of durability. However, durability is not the first thing on most people’s minds when they hear the word, “porcelain.” Instead, people think of fragile figurines in curio cabinets, things that are all too fragile. Many of us have a memory of something porcelain broken, and the disappointed look on the face of mother or grandmother that was so much more painful than their anger.
But dental porcelain is actually a highly durable material and capable of lasting for many years in your mouth under normal conditions.
What Is Porcelain?
It’s important to understand what porcelain is. Porcelain is a description for many types of materials that are connected by one particular similarity. The word “porcelain” comes from the Latin “porcella,” meaning “little sow,” which was used when referring to cowrie shells. Porcelain is intended to evoke the smooth and white interior of the cowrie shell, which was itself so valued that many cultures used it for money.
Because the label “porcelain” really only refers to the color of the material, porcelain may actually be many different types of material, all basically ceramics, but with widely varying strengths and durabilities.
Dental porcelain can actually be many different types of materials. For most of the restorations used today, dental porcelain is actually a combination of glass and plastic that is heat-pressed to remove the tiny voids and unevennesses that can result in early failure. In other cases, dental porcelain may be a zirconium oxide, chosen for their strength and used most often in situations where the restoration has to withstand a significant bite load.
Durability of Porcelain Veneers
So do the advanced compositions of dental porcelains improve the durability of the restorations? You bet! Porcelain veneers are now highly durable restorations.
Notwithstanding the promoted 20-year lifespan of brand-name Lumineers, which has never been accepted by a scholarly journal and may very well be spurious, porcelain veneers have been shown in many studies to have quite long lifespans. Five-year studies give survival rates above 95%, and ten-year studies indicate about 93-95% of veneers survive at least this long. Estimates for porcelain veneer survival rates are about 85% at 20 years, making them remarkably durable.
Even though we tend to think of porcelain as fragile, the durability of veneers shows that the material can actually be quite robust.
If you are considering porcelain veneers in the Philadelphia area, please visit the website of Lindsey Marshall, DMD for more information at www.lindseymarshall.com.
By: Max Health
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