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What is a crown and bridge? 

A crown and bridge replaces a missing tooth with support from crowns (caps) on natural teeth. A simple crown and bridge has one artificial tooth attached to a cap on either side for support. Crowns and bridges can also be made for more than one missing tooth, with the support of more teeth. 
 Crowns and bridges, like dental crowns, can be made of different materials - metal, metal-ceramic or full ceramic. 
3M Lava crown and bridge
full ceramic crown and bridge

Full Ceramic Crown and Bridge on a dental model

3M Lava Crown and Bridge

How is it done?

A crown and bridge replaces a missing tooth with support from adjacent teeth. To take support from the adjacent teeth, they are capped; and the crown and bridge is fabricated as a single unit with crowns (caps) on either side and a bridge (artificial tooth) joined to them in between. The procedure is very similar to the making of a dental crown . The teeth to be cappped are trimmed smaller to a particular size and shape, and measurements of the teeth are made. These measurements (also called as "impressions") are sent to a dental laboratory, where the crown and bridge will be fabricated. 

The fabrication of crowns and bridges may be done manually in special furnaces and casting machines, or they may be made by CAD-CAM technology (Computer Aided Designing - Computer Aided Machining). The latter is more advanced and yields crowns better in strength and much more precise in fit. 

dental model with teeth prepared for crown and bridge

crown and bridge from inside

The crown and bridge is fabricated as a single unit with caps on either side and an artificial tooth joined to them in between

To take support from the adjacent teeth, they are capped

What else should I know about Crowns and Bridges? 

Crowns and bridges offer the best cost-benefit ratio for replacement of your missing teeth.  You can know more about other treatment options for replacement of missing teeth, and compare them with dental implants here.  
 A crown and bridge can only be done if there are healthy teeth to support the bridge on either side of the missing tooth/ teeth, you maintain good oral hygiene and there is sufficient space to accomodate the replacement tooth. Crowns and bridges are not an option to replace the last chewing molars, because there are no teeth behind it. The teeth providing support for any bridge (called as "abutment teeth") must be sufficiently strong and firm to bear the load of an extra tooth. 
 The most important reason why dental implants are considered superior to crowns and bridges is that the latter require healthy teeth to be grinded down and capped. Any discrepancy in the fit of the crowns renders the abutment teeth prone to decay and cavities, and very often they require root canal treatment (RCT) in the long run. Therefore, if you have a crown and bridge, you must take extra care to maintain good oral hygiene.
 When a tooth falls out or is removed, it leaves an empty space which should be replaced by a dental implant, crown and bridge or denture. Failing to do so causes the adjacent teeth to shift into that space from all sides, and a replacement may become difficult at a subsequent time.   
A quick "brush-up"
Crown and Bridge, Fixed Partial Denture
Done for 
Replacement of one or more missing teeth
Number of sittings
2-4 sittings
Pain/ Discomfort
Sensitivity in teeth after reducing them for crowns; temporary crowns given to prevent sensitivity
Need for root canal treatment (RCT) 
Requires anesthesia (numbing)