Emax vs. Zirconia Veneer Aesthetics
The purpose of veneers is to cover up something that looks undesirable, yielding an overall improved appearance. Given that mission, the material chosen should emulate the appearance of natural, unaltered teeth. Both Emax and Zirconia do this well.
But Emax excels when it comes to providing a more lifelike, translucent quality that allows underlying tooth structure to partially shine through. This property is a tremendous advantage when the objective is to alter the shape of the teeth. Well-chosen Emax veneers can also reflect off of the neighboring natural teeth, creating a seamless smile line that will fool even the most astute observer.
The clinical choice between the two materials becomes more apparent when the objective is to mask or camouflage stained or darker tooth structures underneath. In this case, zirconia would be the better aesthetic choice because it is slightly thicker and offers greater opacity which hides dark colorations, such as tetracycline-stained teeth.
Emax vs. Zirconia Veneer Materials
Both Emax and zirconia veneers are uniquely created to precise specifications from solid blocks of their respective materials using CAD/CAM technology, reducing errors and allowing for an exacting fit at delivery. Excellent retention by the natural tooth structure is obtained with resin ionomer cements.
If strength is the basis for your choice, realize that both of these materials are highly durable when compared to traditional porcelain veneers. Flexural strength is a measurement of how much force is required to break a test sample of a defined thickness and diameter.
The greater the flexural strength, the more resistant the material is to fracture. While zirconia offers exceptional material flexural strength (900 – 1100 Megapascals), the strength of lithium disilicate at 360 – 400 Mpa still remains far superior to chip-prone porcelain (150 Mpa).
In addition to its inherent material properties, zirconia veneers do require a greater thickness and a slightly more aggressive tooth reduction of 0.8 – 1.5mm for material stability, while Emax ceramic glass allows for more conservative tooth preparation.
Uses for Emax vs. Zirconia Veneers
Obtaining the best aesthetic outcome for your patient is what smile redesign is all about. The majority of veneer cases involve altering the look of the six upper anterior teeth since those are the teeth that are of paramount importance to most patients and make the biggest impact.
Emax really is the aesthetic standard and it is known for its lifelike restorations. Emax will achieve superior results and produce happy patients that love their new smiles. Additionally, it is also possible to fuse Emax to a stronger material, such as Zirconia, for hiding underlying dark areas.
But there are always reasons and tradeoffs when choosing between two or more options. No one material offers every desirable quality while simultaneously avoiding all drawbacks. Zirconia veneers are a great arsenal to have available to the clinician when the patient exhibits parafunctional behavior such as bruxism or the habit of chewing ice.
While no artificial material is totally indestructible, zirconia is pretty close and offers crack resistance that other materials can’t match. In addition, zirconia is also an excellent choice for cases that involve hiding darkened teeth or dentin that would otherwise show through other veneer materials.