A bridge is a fixed dental restoration used to replace a missing tooth (or several teeth) by joining an artificial tooth or teeth permanently to adjacent teeth or dental implants.
Types of bridges vary depending upon how they are fabricated and the way they anchor to the adjacent teeth.
A bridge is fabricated by reducing the teeth on either side of the gap by a preparation pattern determined by the location of the teeth and by the material from which the bridge is to be fabricated. In other words, the abutment teeth are reduced in size to accommodate the material to be used to restore the size and shape of the original teeth in a correct alignment and contact with the opposing teeth. Conventionally, bridges are made by a dental technician outside of the mouth using casts made by the dentist, and are then placed in the mouth by the dentist who will do final adjustments.
The materials used for the bridges include gold, metal alloy, zirconium and porcelain or a combination of these. The amount and type of reduction done to the abutment teeth varies slightly with different materials. The recipient of such a bridge must be careful to clean well under this prosthesis and will be given the necessary tools to do so.
Each situation should be carefully assessed by the dentist as bridges are not always the ideal treatment of choice to replace a tooth, and more often dental implants are a better option.