Crown and bridge… what you need to know

Dr Reecha Gupta, Dr Mohit Gupta
Oral health is an integral part of overall general health and well being of an individual. Loss of one or more teeth can lead to functional as well as psychological or aesthetic limitations, thus affecting the overall quality of life. Prosthodontics is a branch of dentistry which specializes in replacing the missing teeth by removable or fixed teeth i.e crown and bridge.
Here are a few frequently asked questions about Crown and Bridge which can help the general public at large.
What is a Dental Bridge?
* Called as fixed partial denture (FPD)
* It is a prosthesis that replaces one or more missing teeth. This cannot be removed by the patient but the doctor can remove it, if required.
Is it better than a Removal Partial Denture?
* Definitely yes. If all other factors are favorable, a bridge / FPD Is a better option. FPD is very much like the natural teeth In the mouth which is fixed and cannot be removed unlike a removable partial denture.
* With FPD, one can speak better, chew better and also aesthetics can be improved as minor irregularities of teeth can also be corrected.
How is it supported?
* A dental bridge or FPD takes the support of teeth adjacent to the missing tooth region on either side just as the bridge is supported by two pillars on either side.
How is it fixed in the mouth?
* The bridge or FPD is fixed in the mouth with the help of special cements called as luting cement.
* There are many type of luting cements available, used according to the type of bridge planned.
What are the different parts of a bridge?
* The FPD broadly has three parts-
1-The part over the support tooth or teeth it is called as retainer.
2-The part of bridge which replaces the missing tooth or teeth it is called as Pontic. 3-The Pontic and the retainer and different units are joined by Connector between them.
Do Dental crown and bridge require root canal treatment?
* No every case of crown and bridge does not require root canal treatment.
Is FPD or bridge possible in all situations?
* No, it is not possible in every situation. It has its own indications and contraindications.
When do you need a crown and bridge?
* Replacing missing teeth
* Restoring chipped, fractured or broken tooth.
* After root canal treatment..
* Discolored teeth.
* Minor spacing between the teeth.
* To correct minor Irregularities.
* Splinting to correct grade-1 mobility of teeth.
What is the treatment process for crown and bridge?
* The tooth or teeth which is to be crowned or capped is first prepared by a dental specialist according to the specifications of desired crown. An impression is made and sent to the dental laboratory. Shade matching is done. The dental lab then fabricates the crown according to the specifications given by the dentist. The crown is then tried in the patient’s mouth, adjusted and then fixed in the mouth of the patient with a special cement for the purpose.
Will I be able to eat comfortably with my crown teeth?
* Yes, very much like a normal teeth with due precautions.
How long do they last?
* With proper care and hygiene maintenance, the crown and bridge last long.
* However a periodic cleaning and checkup enhances the life of any prosthesis in the mouth.
What are the various materials of which crown and bridge is made-up of ?
* FPD can be –
* All metal
* Metal ceramic
* Metal acrylic
* Metal free or all ceramic
What are the various types of bridges?
* Traditional or conventional
* Implant supported
* Cantilever bridge
* Maryland or resin bonded bridge.
Bridge failure?
* Mechanical failure, in case of fracture of any parts of the bridge.
* Poor oral hygiene.
* Improper eating habits or parafunctional habits.
* Aesthetic failure
Are crown and bridge safe?
* Yes, very much. All the materials are biocompatible and bio-inert.
What problems can you face in the beginning after crown and bridge treatment?
* There can be a little foreign body feeling in the mouth in the beginning. A little sensitivity which will gradually vanish with time.
How do I take care of my crown and bridge?
* As dental crown are designed to last long, maintain good oral hygiene, tooth brushing, proper mouth rinse.
* Avoid habits like biting on any objects or nails, very hard or sticky food items, avoid clenching and go for regular dental checkups.
Which foods should be avoided to avoid any damage to the crown and bridge?
* Patients are normally advised to avoid chewing extensively on items such as chewing gums , sticky food items, candies or very hard food.
(Dr Reecha Gupta – Head of Department at Postgraduate Department of Prosthodontics And Crown & Bridge, at IGGDCJ. Dr Mohit Gupta – Consultant Orthodontist.)