Hygienist holding a set of Invisalign

The Four Common Types of Dental Bridges By Stephen Dowell, DDS on January 30, 2021

There are four types of dental bridges: Maryland, cantilever, traditional, and implant-supported. The goal of a dental bridge is to replace one, two, or three missing teeth in a row. Each type of bridge offers different advantages and disadvantages. 

At Dowell Dental Group serving Minerva, Carrollton, and Dover, OH, patients have the option of a traditional dental bridge or an implant-supported dental bridge. Dr. Stephen C. Dowell believes these two types of dental bridges are superior because of their proven effectiveness. 

Here’s a closer look at the four types of dental bridges:

Maryland Bridges

Maryland bridges consist of an artificial tooth called a pontic that is attached to metal wings. The wings are cemented to the backs of the patient’s healthy, neighboring teeth. In order to receive a Maryland dental bridge, a patient needs to have healthy neighboring teeth.

Because of the way they are bonded, Maryland dental bridges are not a great option for teeth that are used heavily for chewing such as molars.

Cantilever Bridges

Cantilever bridges consist of pontics and a dental crown. The pontic fills in the gap left behind by a missing tooth, while the crown is anchored to one adjacent tooth instead of two. When placing a cantilever bridge, your dentist will need to reshape one of your teeth to support the dental crown. Because only one tooth needs to be reshaped during the process, cantilever bridges are popular among patients who want to keep their healthy teeth intact.

However, many dentists refrain from using cantilever bridges because they have a much higher failure rate than traditional or implant-supported bridges. Cantilever bridges are also more prone to cracking and debonding. 

Traditional Bridges

Traditional, or conventional, dental bridges are composed of two dental crowns on either side of one or more artificial teeth (pontics). Unlike Maryland and cantilever bridges, traditional bridges are supported by dental crowns on either side. The crowns anchor the bridge in place for a strong and sturdy restoration. Compared to implant-supported bridges, traditional bridges have a faster treatment process and are typically more affordable. Patients do not need to undergo surgery or a period of healing before the bridge can be placed. However, patients receiving a conventional bridge must be willing to have two of their teeth reshaped in order to support dental crowns.

Implant-Supported Bridges

Implant-supported dental bridges are widely considered the best bridge option. These bridges do not use healthy teeth as an anchor. Instead, dentists place dental implants into the jaw bone that act as tooth roots and secure the bridge in place.

The root of a tooth stimulates jawbone growth and keeps it from deteriorating. When a tooth goes missing, bone atrophy will eventually occur. Inserting an implant into the jawbone stimulates bone regrowth. The implant and bone fuse together through a process called osseointegration, creating the most stable foundation for the dental bridge. 

Implant-supported bridges require surgery and up to six months of healing time before the bridge can be placed. Successful dental implants are expected to last a lifetime, won’t damage neighboring teeth, and significantly reduce the risk of further tooth loss. 

Explore Your Dental Bridge Options

Restoring missing teeth is the first step toward achieving optimal oral health. At Dowell Dental Group, we offer the most effective and trusted solutions to patients with missing teeth. When you are ready to improve your appearance and oral health with a dental bridge, contact us to determine whether a traditional bridge or implant-supported bridge is best for your smile. 

Call our dental practice today at (330) 868-5001 or message us online to schedule an initial consultation. 


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