Dental bridge, also known as a fixed partial denture, is a dental restoration used to replace a missing tooth by joining permanently to adjacent teeth or dental implants. There are different types of bridges, depending on how they are fabricated and the way they anchor to the adjacent teeth.
A bridge is fabricated by reducing the teeth on either side of the missing tooth or teeth by a preparation pattern determined by the location of the teeth and by the material from which the bridge is fabricated. In other words, the abutment teeth (the teeth that will be used to hold the bridge) are reduced in size to accommodate the material to be used to restore the size and shape of the original teeth in a correct alignment and contact with the opposing teeth.
The materials used for the bridges include gold, porcelain fused to metal, or in the correct situation porcelain alone. The amount and type of reduction done to the abutment teeth varies slightly with the different materials used. The recipient of such a bridge must be careful to clean well under this prosthesis.
When restoring the missing teeth space with a fixed bridge, the teeth that are crowned (the teeth that will hold the bridge) are called the abutment teeth. The “false tooth/teeth” that fill in the gap, are called the pontics. Please see diagram below.