How do Digital Crowns and Bridges offer Patients Quality Restorations?

How do Digital Crowns and Bridges offer Patients Quality Restorations

We are now in an era powered by technology and digital solutions. Technology has transformed every sector of the economy and has paved the way to provide quality service to consumers. Dentistry has seen a steep curve of development and transformation, thanks to the Digital Revolution in Dentistry. The digital impressions have reshaped the industry of dental restorations such as dental crowns and bridges. The digital techniques have made restorations more efficient and comfortable for patients. In this post, let us see what has made digital restorations popular and how it offers value to the consumer.

An opportunity to reduce errors

The traditional techniques used physical methods to measure dental crowns and bridges which offered the opportunity for errors. Some common errors that happen due to traditional indirect methods are as follows;

  • Improper water-powder rations of the dental stones
  • Expansion of dental stones because of hygroscopic ability
  • Inaccurate measurement for impressions
  • Disingenuous impressions
  • Imprecise trimming of dies
  • And the list doesn’t end here

With so many chances of introducing error along with the fact that many dentists adapt faster techniques resulting in the short cut procedure, it is not to anyone’s wonder that digital restorations are more preferred nowadays.

Use of digital impressions 

To prevent any errors at the time of crown and bridge preparation, digital impressions are used by dentists as the base. A digital impression is a process of making a virtual map of your teeth. A virtual map of your dental cavity and teeth is created using lasers and other optical scanning devices. The virtual map gives a detailed image of the hard and soft tissues in the mouth of the patient on a computer screen. Instead of viewing a patient’s dental cavity using a mirror, a mold, or an X-ray, the dentist can analyze the computer-generated 3D image and send it to the lab. In the lab, dental restorations are done precisely and quickly.

A step by step workflow of digital restorations 

A digital workflow for crown and bridges starts with an intraoral scan.

  • To scan the patient’s teeth for digital impression, the dentists prepare by clearing the side of the mouth from blood and saliva. 
  • The dentists then capture a series of dental images and videos with the use of an intra-oral scanner
  • The software then stitches the digital images together to create a digital map of teeth.
  • The digital impression is scanned for accuracy and is either sent to a lab or used at the chairside for milling.

CAD/CAM dentistry

The crown and bridge restorations are no longer processed using manual techniques. The restorations are made using digital manufacturing techniques. CAD/ CAM are used to design the restorations based on the digital impressions and manufacture them using digitally operated machines. The CAD design software and CAM manufacturing techniques have become more sophisticated allowing details to speak. Common materials used for restorations are different for CAD/CAM dentistry compared to conventional prosthodontics. The commonly used for digital restorations production includes ceramics, nano-ceramics, zirconia, resin composites, and lithium disilicate restorations.

Zirconia restorations

Lab produced commercial Zirconia is typically used for CAD and manufacturing using dry discs of zirconia. Once milling is done, it is infiltrated with color and sintered with heat. The final restoration is finished off with stain and glaze or covered with feldspathic ceramic. Followed by this, the restoration is chipped using standard design principles. When manufactured properly the porcelain fused zirconia restorations have significant survival rates similar to porcelain fused metal.

The monolithic restoration offers great advantages over any other form for zirconia restorations. Monolithic zirconia restorations can be easily modified using straining, glazing, and polishing. The monolithic zirconia, when polished heavily, offers an extremely strong and non-abrasive restoration solution.

Lithium Disilicate Restorations

Another Common material used for restorations is Lithium Disilicate. The commercially produced Lithium Disilicate restorations are designed using CAD or the conventional wax-added techniques. The restorations designed using CAD are wet milled and then crystallized. These designs can also be printed in ways which are invested and hot-pressed. The improved esthetics has made lithium restorations available in different translucencies that make it perfect for single-crown and veneer applications. The durability of Lithium Disilicate is also significant. Its durable nature has made layering and adhesion to composite elements possible.


The nano-ceramics offer a combined ability of both resin and ceramic. The combined resilience and strength offer great opportunities. Though cannot stain them in an oven, resin staining kits are used. The fact that it cannot be stained properly makes it unfit for use in the anterior region.

Which material to use where?

The Easy milling and staining have made zirconia and Lithium Disilicate perfect for crowns and bridges. Opt for restoration that offers a high degree of sophistication and strength for the right purpose. Here are some options that can be commonly used

Second Molar: highly Polished, Monolithic Zirconia, Lithium Disilicate

First Molar: highly Polished, Monolithic Zirconia and Highly polished Monolithic translucent Zirconia and Lithium Disilicate

Premolar: highly Polished, Monolithic Zirconia and monolithic Lithium Disilicate

Anterior: veneered Lithium Disilicate and more

In the same way, the materials used differ based on the site of restoration and esthetic requirements.

Bottom line

The Digital Revolution in Dentistry has improved esthetic dentistry and helps in providing a meaningful solution to the patients.

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