A dental bridge is a false tooth that is used to fill a gap. Unlike a traditional removable denture, dental bridges are permanent as they are anchored to the teeth at one or both sides. If well cared for a bridge should last for 10 to 15 years.
The type of bridge used will depend on the quality of the teeth either side of the gap, as well as the position of the gap.
With a fixed bridge the false tooth is anchored to new crowns attached to the teeth either side of the gap. This forms a very strong bridge that can be used anywhere in the mouth.
Resin Bonded Bridges
These are sometimes called Maryland Bonded and do not involve crowning of the adjacent teeth. The false tooth is attached via metal bands to the adjacent teeth using resin. This type is particularly suitable for front teeth where stress is minimal and the bond can be made behind the teeth so is out of view.
These are used where there is a healthy tooth only on one side of the gap so the bridge is anchored to one or more teeth on just this one side. As a result this type of bridge in generally only suitable for front teeth where there is low stress.
The dentist will not normally fix your bridge in permanently until you have worn it for a few weeks and you are both happy with the fit and the feel. Only then will it be fixed permanently into place.
Are there any alternatives?
The only alternatives to a dental bridge are dentures or implants.
A single tooth denture can often be uncomfortable and awkward where only one or two teeth are involved and are not generally recommended for this situation.
Dental Implants involve having a false tooth fixed to a titanium post that has been screwed into the jawbone. This can be an invasive process and is only suitable for people who are medically fit, with healthy gums and thick jawbones.