A dental bridge replaces missing teeth with false teeth. The bridge is attached to the real teeth on either side of the gap left by the missing teeth. Bridges are usually made of porcelain or metal, or a mixture of the two. They are fixed in place and, for some people, are an alternative to dentures.
When might you need a dental bridge?
You might need a dental bridge if you have a missing tooth or teeth and have healthy teeth on either side of the gap left by the missing teeth.
What happens during a dental bridge procedure?
To prepare for a dental bridge, your dentist will usually file down the 2 healthy teeth on either side of the gap. Your dentist will then take a mould to make your bridge.
You might be given a temporary bridge while waiting for your permanent bridge to be ready. If so, that is taken out once your permanent bridge has been prepared.
The permanent bridge is put in place when ready, and usually cemented to the surrounding healthy teeth. Or your dentist might anchor your bridge with a dental implant, which is surgically placed in your jaw. Your dentist will need to check if dental implants are suitable for you.
How do you care for your dental bridge?
You’ll need to brush your bridge with fluoride toothpaste and floss, as is usually recommended for natural teeth. Regular dental visits are also important.
Benefits and risks of a dental bridge procedure
Dental bridges can help restore your smile and avoid you feeling self-conscious about having missing teeth. Filling in the gap left by missing teeth is also important because, if the gap is not filled, the surrounding teeth might lean into the gap over time and change the way you bite.
Bridges can last for many years if they are cared for properly. However, they can fail, usually due to decay of the natural teeth next to them, or failure of the cement.
Alternatives to dental bridges
The main alternative to a dental bridge is using removable false teeth, known as a partial denture, which you can take out to clean. Another alternative is a dental implant.
Last reviewed: March 2017