Whereas crowns are necessary for the back teeth, veneers are an excellent solution to improve the smile for the front teeth. Over the years I have been asked about the difference between feldspathic veneers and pressed porcelain veneers. Feldspathic veneers were the first kind of veneer that was created, where the pressed porcelain came later. Although both kinds of veneers produce positive results in patients, there are differences that patients should be aware of before making the decision for or against either type of veneer.
Once placed, feldspathic veneers will look beautiful. However, they will lose their vibrancy and natural appearance as the years progress. The pressed porcelain veneers will show no changes in vibrancy over the years.
Patients are typically advised that feldspathic veneers will need to be replaced in around 7-10 years. I have several patients that still have original ones I placed 25 years ago, but this isn’t industry standard. And although they still look acceptable, they do not compare to how nice the pressed porcelain look. Pressed porcelain veneers can last between 10-20 years on average.
Wear on Natural Teeth
The feldspathic materials abrade the opposing teeth. Meaning that when patients have feldspathic teeth as crowns or veneers they will have accelerated wear of the natural teeth that chew against them. This is not the case for pressed porcelain, which has the same wear factor as natural teeth.
The Shade of Your Teeth
The shade of your underlying teeth will actually bare weight in the color that your veneers end up being. The feldspathic materials are not very dense, thus if the natural tooth has a lot of grey in it with significant variation in shade, then feldspathics will not be able to raise the value or cover the color of the underlying tooth very well. Porcelain pressed materials do not have this same problem as they are higher quality and more dense.
Marginal Integrity and Decay
Better marginal integrity refers to less degradation at the margins. If you have degradation of the margins, which is much more common with feldspathic materials, then you are more susceptible to decay. The reason for this is that the pressed porcelain has a superior fit to the underlying tooth.
Before pressed porcelain veneers came about, skilled dentists would not put veneers on those with a decay active mouth as it would make the problem worse. However, pressed veneers fixed this problem, as a better fitting veneer will not worsen the underlying tooth.
Both feldspathic and pressed porcelain veneers are solutions for increasing the beauty of one’s smile. Some patients, based on the state of his or her teeth, can wear feldspathic veneers and they are perfect. Others will need to go with the pressed porcelain. Like many decisions, the best solution for each patient will be case-specific based on his or her personal needs.