A bridge is a fixed dental restoration used to replace a missing tooth - or several teeth - by joining an artificial tooth permanently to adjacent teeth or to dental implants. Types of bridges may vary depending on their fabrication and how the anchor to adjacent teeth; common materials include gold, porcelain, or porcelain fused to metal.
A bridge is fabricated by using a preparation pattern that reduces the teeth on either side of the missing tooth or teeth, making room for the bridge to correctly align the teeth. Bridges can be fabricated using wax molds, or by using CAD/CAM software to machine a bridge.
A prosthetic that sits on top of an existing tooth is referred to as a crown.
Bridges are almost always used to restor more teeth than there are root structures to support. Prosthodontic dentists have to calculate the number of abutments needed to support the bridge based on the surface area needing to be supported. Sometimes, a canitlever bridge will be used if there are not enough abutment teeth on either side.