Another tooth replacement option is a fixed bridge. This is a restoration that fills the space where one or more teeth have been lost. A fixed bridge is bonded or cemented into place — only a dentist can remove it.

How is a bridge placed?

Placing a bridge usually takes more than one dental visit. On your first visit, your dentist prepares the teeth on either side of the gap. The bridge will later be attached to these teeth.

Your dentist then takes an impression of your teeth and the space and sends the impression to a dental laboratory. Technicians at the lab make the bridge out of metal, ceramics, glass-ceramics or a combination. Your dentist will place a temporary bridge to protect your exposed teeth while you are waiting for the permanent one.

When talking about bridges, your dentist may use these terms:

  • Pontic: the replacement for your missing tooth
  • Crown: a “cap” that covers the attachment tooth

During one or more follow-up visits, the bridge is fitted, adjusted and cemented in place.

Bridge Placement

Before the bridge, teeth are shown with the space where a tooth has been lost.

Before the bridge, teeth are shown with the space where a tooth has been lost.

Teeth next to the gap are prepared for placement of the bridge.

Teeth next to the gap are prepared for placement of the bridge.

The custom-made bridge is placed over the prepared teeth.

The custom-made bridge is placed over the prepared teeth.

The bridge is cemented into place.

The bridge is cemented into place.

Advantages of fixed bridges:

  • look, feel and function like natural teeth
  • don’t require removal for cleaning
  • cost less than implants

Disadvantages of fixed bridges:

  • likely to be more expensive than removable bridges
  • affect the teeth next to the bridge
  • may require extra effort to clean under the pontic