Crowns and Bridges

Enter a dental clinic and a crown is the most used word! With no relation to anything royal whatsoever, dental crowns and bridges are the most common dental treatments. Therefore, it is essential to understand them in detail.

What are crowns and bridges

A dental crown or cap is a type of tooth restoration that completely covers the tooth. It is secured onto the tooth with the help of a dental cement. Bridges are modified dental crowns that are joined together to replace any missing tooth/teeth. Crowns and bridges can restore the functions of the teeth and aid in chewing, talking and smiling.

When are they indicated

Crowns are generally indicated in damaged teeth which cannot function normally. Some situations which may require crowns are listed below:

  • Large decay with minimal remaining tooth structure

  • Large fillings that are unable to withstand chewing forces

  • Fractured/Cracked teeth

  • For correction of misshapen teeth

  • Following root canal treatment

 

Bridges are indicated for replacing any missing tooth or teeth, with the support of adjacent standing teeth.

Types of crowns and bridges

Crowns and bridges are available in a range of materials, with each material offering its own advantages. Some commonly used materials for fabrication of crowns are

How is it done

The procedure for getting a crown/bridge is rather simple. A thorough investigation is carried out clinically and radiographically with a set of X rays. In most cases, crowns are indicated after a root canal treatment. A treatment plan is then formulated for the fabrication of a crown or bridge. The procedure entails the following steps:

 

  1. Preparation and modification of the tooth surface with certain tools like diamond drills

  2. Impression of the prepared tooth and the surrounding teeth either manually with an impression material or digitally through scanning

  3. Fabrication of the crown/bridge in the laboratory. During this period, your dentist may provide a temporary crown

  4. Trial of the crown to check for fit, contacts and shade

  5. Cementation of the crown/bridge with a dental cement

 

With digitized measurements, it is possible to deliver the crowns on the same day as the preparation these days.

What to expect after the treatment

A newly cemented crown may feel a little unusual at first. There may be post operative sensitivity in a few cases. If the sensitivity lasts for more than a couple of days, visit your dentist immediately.

Maintenance of crowns and bridges

Crowns and bridges require the same care as of natural teeth. In fact, proper maintanance of oral hygiene is the key to long term success of a crown/bridge. It is essential to brush twice a day and floss around the crowns once a day. Few precautions to be taken are:

  • Avoid grinding/clenching of teeth

  • Avoid sticky foods like chewing gums, toffees etc as they loosen the crown

  • Keep the surrounding gums clean and free of food deposits

 

Also, visit your dentist at regular intervals for follow ups.