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You have a missing tooth and your dentist recommends getting a bridge to fill the gap. But the only bridges you know about are the ones over troubled water. Here are a few of the basic facts about what bridges are, what they do, and how they are attached.

What Bridges Are

Bridges are essentially fixed partial dentures. These false teeth are fastened to the crowns of the surrounding teeth. Bridges can be made of porcelain, gold, or alloy. There are several different types of bridges, including:

  • Traditional Bridges: the most common fixed bridge.
  • Cantilever Bridges: used when there are teeth on only one side of the missing tooth.
  • Maryland Bonded Bridges: a bridge supported by metal framework and typically used to replace the front teeth.

What Bridges Do

Bridges obviously fill the gaps left by missing teeth. However, this is more important than just making your smile look nice. Missing teeth can impair chewing and speaking, create a crooked bite, put strain on the surrounding teeth, and even cause these neighboring teeth to lean into the gap. As you can see, filling an empty space can be very important for your dental health.

How Bridges Are Fixed

First, your dentist must file the surrounding teeth so they have room for the crowns. Crowns protect these teeth and support the bridge. An impression is made to create the bridge and crowns and then—after the fit is checked and adjusted—they are attached in the empty spot and over the surrounding teeth with cement.