A bridge is fixed dental device used to replace one or more missing teeth. Bridges fuse an artificial tooth to adjacent teeth and/or dental implants (depending on the health of the other teeth).
To prepare for the bridge, a crown is prepared on the support teeth on either side of the missing tooth/teeth. These teeth are used as anchors on which the tooth is cemented. A bridge may also be fixed to dental implants if the surrounding teeth are not healthy and/or more than one tooth is missing.
If several teeth are missing a fixed bridge may not be possible and your dentist may recommend a denture or an implant.
A bridge is one of the most permanent, long-term restorations available to replace a missing tooth. The lifespan of a bridge depends on the strength of the material used (porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, metal, composite), the length of the span of missing teeth bridged (longer bridges must withstand higher stress) and the quality of the underlying teeth that are supporting the bridge.
As with natural teeth, how you care for your bridge will also factor in to its lifespan. With appropriate daily care, eating a balanced diet and regular examinations you can expect your bridge to last for many years.
Care must be taken to clean under the bridge to prevent decay at the margins of the support teeth. Speak to your dentist about any other care considerations and frequency of recall examinations.