Bridges are one way to replace missing teeth. Your existing teeth are used to support a "bridge" of connected crowns to span the area where your tooth is missing. You will wear a temporary bridge while the lab fabricates your permanent bridge. You will then have a follow-up visit to cement the bridge.
If you are missing a tooth you should strongly consider having it replaced. Besides the esthetic disadvantage of missing a tooth, the adjacent teeth may also shift into the space, causing problems with your bite. If the teeth supporting the bridge do not require crowns, replacement of the missing tooth is often possible with dental implants.
The pictures below show a three unit all-porcelain bridge. The crown in the middle (the "pontic") replaces the missing natural tooth and is supported by the teeth on either side (the "abutments").
Side view of a 3 unit bridge
Top view of the 3 unit bridge
Prettau bridges are full zirconia restorations retained by implants that replace missing teeth and gum tissue. Multiple implants can be placed and full zirconia arches can be fabricated in lieu of dentures.
4-unit Prettau bridge on elderly patient. Notice the custom characterization and staining as well as the pink porcelain used to replicate missing gum tissue.
The pictures below show a Ribbond bridge that was made in one appointment. The reinforced ribbon is bonded to the teeth on either side of the space, and a tooth is built out of composite (tooth colored filling material) until shaped and contoured. This procedure is a more conservative bridge option in that the adjacent teeth do not need to be ground down.
Missing lateral incisor
Lateral incisor sculpted and bonded to adjacent teeth
The pictures below show a Ribbond bridge that was made the day the tooth was taken out.