Why do crowns and bridges require multiple dental visits?

Paul Rubin, DDS
They don't always! Traditionally, crowns or bridges need to be made by a lab technician outside of the dental office, because the materials required for strength can't be built directly in the mouth like fillings can. An impression of the teeth is made, and this is sent off to a lab for construction while you go home with a temporary crown or bridge for a week or two. However, many offices now use a CAD/CAM technique where the prepared tooth or teeth are optically scanned and a computer assisted design program creates the crown design. The crown is then milled and fired in a ceramic oven and is complete in less than an hour. It can then be placed in the mouth and you go home with a permanent crown in one visit! The most common system is called CEREC, and it allows the dentist to choose from a variety of ceramic materials for crowns, inlays, and even bridges.
Todd A. Welch, DMD
Typically it takes two dental visits to fabricate a dental bridge. The first visit entails preparing the teeth, making a temporary bridge and taking a dental impression. A couple of weeks later, you will return to the dentist to remove the temporary bridge and the dentist will cement the permanent bridge.
Crowns and bridges are dental prosthetics, which take time to prepare. If your dentist decides that a dental prosthetic is necessary, they will reshape your damaged teeth, or the teeth on either side of a missing tooth, and then take impressions of the newly shaped teeth. These impressions are then sent to a lab where someone else will prepare your new prosthetic. In the meantime, temporary crowns will be used to cap your damaged teeth. When the new prosthetic is ready, you’ll have to go back to the dentist’s office to have it set permanently.

Crowns and bridges are a decision that you and your dentist should discuss. During this initial visit, your dentist can advise you as to whether these are the right procedure for you. Both require making molds for the bridge or crown to be fitted into your mouth. This is usually done at an offsite dental lab. During your second visit, the crown or bridge will be fitted into your mouth. A follow up post-procedure visit may also be necessary to make any additional adjustments and check the prosthetic, or if you are having any complications. Your dentist wants to make sure that you are both happy and comfortable with your new bridge and crown.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.