A bridge, also known as a fixed partial denture, is a dental restoration used to replace a missing tooth or teeth with prosthetic replacement(s) while being attached to and supported by adjacent teeth or dental implants, usually with crowns.
There are different types of bridges, depending on how they are fabricated and the way they anchor to the adjacent teeth. Most bridges are made using the indirect (dental laboratory) method of fabrication and are held with crowns on the abutment teeth, however, bridges can be built directly in the mouth using such materials as bonded composite resin.
A bridge is generally created by reducing the teeth on either side of the missing tooth or teeth, making records to facilitate laboratory fabrication of the bridge and placing a temporary bridge in place while the final prosthesis is being made. When it returns from the lab, the final restoration is bonded into place once it has been determined to have met all of the necessary criteria for fit, function, appearance and occlusion (bite).
Materials used for making bridges include gold, porcelain fused to a gold substructure, or all ceramic with no metal framework. The amount and type of preparation done to the abutment teeth varies slightly with the different materials used.