Your Fixed Bridge

A fixed bridge is 1 or more replacement teeth attached to the natural teeth next to them. Once it's in place, the bridge is not removed. A bridge can be made of gold, alloy, porcelain, or a combination of these materials. Your dentist will suggest the best material for your mouth. There are 2 main types of bridges: conventional and resin-bonded.

  • Conventional bridge. This has replacement teeth that are attached to crowns. The crowns are cemented over the natural teeth on either side of the space to be filled.

  • Resin-bonded bridge. This has replacement teeth that are attached to the back of nearby natural teeth using a metal or plastic strip and cement. This type of bridge is also called a Maryland bridge.

Closeup of bridge being fitted on prepared teeth.

Closeup of resin-bonded bridge being fitted on prepared teeth.

What happens after tooth loss?

Spaces left by missing teeth affect the rest of your teeth. These gaps can cause chewing problems. If even 1 tooth is missing, other teeth may slowly shift out of place. This changes the way your teeth fit together (your bite). A poor bite may make your jaw sore. Your teeth may become harder to clean. This can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. And shifting of teeth following tooth loss may change your smile. But a bridge replaces 1 or more missing teeth. A bridge makes it easier to chew, improves your appearance, and keeps your teeth, gums, and jaws healthy.

The procedure

It will usually take 2 or more visits to prepare and fit your bridge.

Preparing your teeth

For a conventional bridge, the teeth on either side of the space to be filled must be reshaped to hold crowns that support the bridge. A temporary bridge will likely be placed. Limited reshaping is necessary with the resin-bonded bridge. For either bridge, molds (impressions) of your teeth are taken and used to make your bridge. This process typically takes a couple of weeks.

Fitting your bridge

When it's ready, your dentist places the bridge on your teeth and adjusts it until it fits and feels right. The bridge is then cemented or bonded into place. If you have any problems over the next few days, call your dentist.