Ceramic knives have become a popular addition to many kitchens. People love the sharpness of the blade and how well this allows for slicing some things like tomatoes. But other people have had bad experiences with ceramic knives, seeing them chip in some situations or break during normal use. If you’re considering porcelain veneers, a bad experience with a ceramic knife might make you think twice.

But porcelain veneers aren’t really like ceramic knives, for very important reasons.

knife, cutting board and chopped up vegetables.

They’re Made of Different Materials

Although ceramic knives and porcelain veneers are both made out of advanced ceramics, they’re made out of different ceramics. Ceramic knives are made out of one of the strongest ceramics available, zirconium oxide with small amount of yttrium oxide. As far as its strength goes, this is a very durable ceramic, but strength and brittleness often go together. When used as designed, ceramic knives are very resistant to chipping or breaking. But if they’re subject to bending or torqueing, they can break.

Porcelain veneers, on the other hand, are made out of different ceramics like lithium oxide and aluminum oxide, which are technically not as strong as zirconium oxide, but when they’re blended with certain inclusions, they are more flexible, and this makes them tougher.

Of course, the main reason why we don’t use zirconium oxide for porcelain veneers is that it’s too opaque. It doesn’t let enough light through, which means it doesn’t really look like natural tooth enamel.

They’re Used in Different Situations

It’s also important to remember that porcelain veneers aren’t being used like ceramic knives. A ceramic knife is intended to support itself as a large exposed blade, which makes it vulnerable to the kinds of forces that can lead to chipping and fracturing.

Porcelain veneers, though, are bonded to your natural teeth, which help support them. And talk about flexibility–the tooth has a lot of built in flexibility that helps absorb bite forces.

This is why porcelain veneers are so extremely durable, lasting 10 or 20 years when properly cared for. Which is not to say that they won’t break, especially if not treated properly.

Situations That Can Break Veneers

Comparing porcelain veneers to a ceramic knife does remind us of some of the situations that can make your veneers more likely to break. Remember, it’s twisting and bending forces that are most likely to damage ceramics. Although your veneers are more resistant of these, they’re still the forces most likely to break them.

Don’t use veneered teeth to pull food. When you’re biting with veneered teeth, make sure you bite completely through, not partly through. The veneers can take the bite force well, but they don’t respond well to flexing or tearing motions. Also don’t use your veneered teeth to bite really hard nonfoods like ice or nut shells, or use your veneered teeth to grip and tear packages.

If you would like to learn more about porcelain veneers in Philadelphia and how to make your veneers last a long time, please call (610) 272-0828 for an appointment with a cosmetic dentist at Dental Excellence of Blue Bell.