Dental bridges literally bridge the gap created by one or more missing teeth. A bridge is made up of two or more crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap and a false tooth/teeth in between.

The most obvious reason is the way you look - A gap in the teeth is not attractive. It is also important to balance the way the jaw bites and avoid putting strain on the neighbouring teeth. The teeth next to the space can lean into the gap and alter the way the upper and lower teeth bite together, leading to food getting packed in the gap which causes both decay and gum disease.
There are three ways to replace missing teeth, depending on the number of teeth missing and what condition the other teeth are in.Options:
  • Removable false teeth: This is known as partial denture.
  • Fixed bridge: A bridge is usually used where there are fewer teeth to replace ,or when the missing teeth are only on one side of the mouth.
  • Implants: Where a titanium rod replaces the root of your tooth.

Partial denture

This is a plate with a number of false teeth on it. It may be only acrylic (plastic) or a mixture of metal and acrylic. Both types may have clips, to help keep the denture in place. Metal partial dentures are stronger, lighter to wear and can be supported by the remaining teeth.
Although the base is metal, they have natural looking teeth fixed to them.

Fixed Bridge

The main alternative is a fixed bridge. This is made by putting crowns on the teeth at either side of the space, and then joining these two crowns together by placing a false tooth in the space.
This is all made in the laboratory and then cemented into place with special adhesives. The bridge cannot be removed for cleaning. Another option is an adhesive or 'Maryland' bridge. This has wings that are bonded to the back of the supporting teeth with very little drilling involved.
Bridges are usually made of porcelain bonded to precious metal. There are also new bridges made entirely of a special type of strong porcelain. The benefits are:
  • A bridge almost lets you forget that you have missing teeth.
  • It can improve the way you look, bite, chew and speak.
  • The teeth can be matched to the color of your own teeth.
  • A bridge can last many years if it is kept clean and there is no accidental damage.
  • Natural teeth are protected from wear and tear and from moving or tilting out of line, which can cause your teeth to bite together incorrectly.
Yes, by having implants. The success of this technique means you may be able to replace missing teeth without crowning other teeth.