Dependant on the teeth that are missing and the location in your mouth, there are various options that can be considered. We will discuss with you which is the most appropriate option for your particular case at your consultation appointment.
A Maryland bridge consists of a metal framework with a porcelain tooth baked onto the front of the framework. The framework has two metal wings on the side. These metal wings are prepared to have a porous surface so that they can receive a bonding agent, and then the wings are bonded to the back sides of the teeth on either side of the missing tooth. The main disadvantage is that if you have a strong occlusion, there is the risk that the bridge will lose adhesion and fail. Also, as the false tooth is a porcelain fused to metal tooth, it lacks the natural translucency and vitality of your other teeth. This option is available on the NHS at a band three cost, but only if the dentist considers that it is suitable for your occlusion. It is also only generally suitable when only one tooth requires replacement; a larger gap would be better suited to a different type of bridge, or a denture.
A fixed bridge uses the two teeth either side of the space for retention. They are prepared for crowns, and the replacement tooth or teeth are fixed to this crowns and cemented as one whole unit. As with crowns, you have a choice of materials for bridges; they include metal, porcelain fused to metal and zirconium. The decision for the most appropriate material will be based on the location of the missing tooth (or teeth), its function, aesthetic considerations and cost. Conventional bridges made of metal and porcelain fused to metal are available on the NHS as band three treatment, zirconium is considered an aesthetic alternative to full metal and is therefore only available privately.
This option is similar to a Maryland bridge, except that instead of wings to retain the tooth an inlay preparation or cuspal coverage is done on the two teeth surrounding the space, and the replacement tooth is attached to this. The advantages of this are primarily for people who have not had much dentistry in the past, as it removes far less tooth structure than a conventional bridge. However, they do have a higher failure rate as they rely purely on the bond rather than mechanical retention, and they are not suitable for people who grind their teeth. These are available both on the NHS and privately.