A bridge is a fixed dental restoration (a fixed dental prosthesis) used to replace one or more missing teeth by joining an artificial tooth definitively to adjacent teeth or dental implants.
A bridge will span the area where teeth are missing. They are attached to the natural teeth or implants that surround this space. The natural teeth or implants which support the bridge are called abutments. Depending on the type of bridge, natural abutment teeth may be reduced in size to accommodate the bridge to fit over them. An impression will be taken of the abutment tooth or implant and space to provide a mould to create the bridge. Using this, the bridge is then fabricated in a dental laboratory. With digital scanning, physical moulds are unnecessary. Instead, digital files, which are 3D models, generated from the scans are sent electronically to the lab which can use computer aided design software (CAD) for designing the bridges.