5 Types of Dental Bridges – Which Type is Best for Me?
A dental bridge fills the space created by missing teeth, preventing the surrounding teeth from shifting out of place. It can also improve your smile and oral health.
There are a variety of different types of dental bridges. The conventional fixed bridge, with a fake tooth supported by crowns on either side, is the most popular. However, other types of bridges may be more suitable for your situation.
Here are 5 types of dental bridges
1. Traditional Bridge
This type of dental bridge uses a crown on either side to support pontics or false teeth. It is a good option for people with healthy teeth on both sides of the gap and who don’t want to undergo a more invasive treatment like implants.
Our dentist will prepare the teeth on both sides of your missing tooth gap and fit them with crowns to secure the bridge in place. The bridge can be made from a variety of materials. Metal bridges are the most common, but porcelain is becoming more popular because of its ability to replicate the look of natural teeth. Newer types of ceramic, like E max and Zirconia, are even more durable.
If you choose a traditional fixed bridge, it is not removable. It is important to care for it properly and avoid biting down on hard items that can damage your bridge or your remaining natural teeth.
Cantilever bridges are similar to traditional fixed bridges but use a single anchor tooth on one side of the gap. They are not advised for the back of your mouth because they put too much strain on a single tooth. However, if they are designed and anchored well they can be a valuable alternative to more expensive procedures. Like other dental work, your bridges can last up to with proper oral hygiene.
2. Maryland Bridge
A Maryland bridge is a good option for patients that are missing one tooth, but they don’t qualify for dental implants. This is often the case with younger patients who have lost a tooth due to oral trauma or were born with congenitally missing teeth. They may have tried using a flipper to replace the tooth and are looking for a permanent solution.
This style of bridge is known for its conservative nature, as it requires minimal or no healthy tooth structure to be removed during the procedure. It consists of plastic teeth and gum material that are fortified by a metal framework. It also has metal “wings” on opposing sides that are bonded to the backside of existing anchor teeth. This type of bridge is most commonly used for the replacement of front teeth.
However, this type of bridge is not the best choice for your back teeth as it is prone to dislodging over time due to the heavy chewing forces placed on those teeth. Additionally, the metal attachments on the abutment teeth can cause them to darken or become different in color from the natural teeth. Because of these issues, Maryland bridges are considered temporary replacement appliances and are typically only recommended if you don’t qualify for an implant or you are under the age of 18 and waiting for your growth cycle to finish before getting an implant.
3. Cantilever Bridge
Cantilever bridges are best used to replace a missing front tooth because they don’t put as much stress on the other adjacent teeth. They also tend to look more natural than traditional or Maryland-bonded dental bridges and are more affordable than other tooth replacement solutions.
Like other types of bridges, a cantilever bridge uses artificial teeth (pontics) and dental crowns to fill in the gap caused by a missing tooth. Unlike the other two options, however, cantilever bridges are anchored in place by only one healthy tooth on one side.
Because of this, cantilever bridges aren’t suitable for everyone. Patients must meet certain requirements to qualify, including having healthy gums and adjacent teeth. Otherwise, they may face a higher risk of damaging the healthy tooth on which the cantilever bridge depends.
Typically, dentists recommend cantilever bridges to people who don’t have enough space in their mouths for other restorations. This treatment option is less expensive than other bridges and can even be covered by dental insurance.
Like other dental bridges, a cantilever bridge can be made from porcelain-fused-to-metal, all-porcelain, or zirconia. In addition to keeping the bridges’ color bright, these materials help protect the natural teeth that support the restorations from stains and decay. Similarly, dentists recommend that cantilever bridge recipients floss regularly and visit their hygienists regularly to prevent plaque buildup and gum disease.
4. Porcelain Bridge
If you have one or more missing teeth due to decay, gum disease, tooth damage or a physical condition, a bridge can restore your smile and give you back your confidence. These restorations work in conjunction with crowns that fit over the two healthy teeth on both sides of the gap, known as abutment teeth, to keep them securely in place. These are then connected by a pontic (false tooth or teeth) to fill the gap and create a natural-looking smile.
In addition to providing a new surface for chewing, bridges prevent the surrounding teeth from shifting or moving, which can cause bite problems and lead to further tooth loss. They also protect the gums from stress and wear, and they allow you to chew properly, improving your overall oral health.
In most cases, traditional fixed bridges are made from porcelain fused to metal or porcelain and ceramics. Porcelain bridges are typically used to replace missing front teeth and can be a great alternative to dental implants for replacing a single missing tooth. They resist staining better than metal bridges and can last 20+ years with good oral hygiene and regular dental visits. For a more permanent replacement solution, we recommend dental implants. Dental implants can also provide a strong foundation for your new teeth and are designed to last a lifetime.
5. Hybrid Bridge (All-on-4 or All-on-6 Bridge)
This is a full-arch bridge that replaces all of the teeth in an arch using a combination of dental implants and a fixed dental prosthesis. The bridge is supported by a small number of dental implants (typically four or six) strategically placed in the jawbone.
The choice of the dental bridge depends on various factors, including the location of the missing teeth, the condition of the surrounding teeth, bone density, and the patient’s preference. It’s best to consult with a dentist or prosthodontist to determine the most suitable type of dental bridge for your specific case.
If you need guidance about dental bridges, our dentist Hesperia team will guide you about the various types of dental bridges. To reach out to our dentists at Maple Dental, call 760-949-7274.