There are three different types of dental bridges. Although all serve the same purpose of bridging the gap between teeth where a tooth is missing, the condition of a patient’s existing teeth will largely determine which sort of bridge will best suit him or her.
Types of Dental Bridges
Traditional fixed bridge—With this, the most common type of bridge, a false tooth (or pontic) is anchored in the mouth with two crowns that are attached to the two natural teeth on either side of the space where the bridge will go. The surrounding natural teeth usually have to be sculpted and reduced in size a bit to make room for the crown and bridge. The two crowns and the false tooth are bonded together into one unit, and the combination is then affixed in the patient’s mouth. As the name indicates, the fixed bridge cannot be removed once it is anchored into place. Fixed bridges can work well for people with fillings because existing fillings can actually be used as foundation for the crowns that are placed on the patient’s natural teeth.
Bonded bridge (or resin bonded bridge)—This kind of bridge is usually less expensive than a fixed bridge, but unfortunately, it is not for everybody. A bonded bridge is usually offered only to a patient who has healthy, well-maintained teeth surrounding the area where it is to be inserted. People with weak, unhealthy teeth or people whose surrounding (or abutment) teeth have large fillings in them are generally not candidates for bonded bridges. These bridges are also more likely to be affixed in areas that aren’t stressed during eating, and they are popular for replacing missing front teeth. With a bonded bridge, the false replacement tooth is attached with metal bands or wings and resin cement to the two surrounding natural teeth. Some people prefer this type of bridge because it requires less work to be done on the surrounding teeth.
Cantilever bridge—Like a bonded bridge, a cantilever bridge is typically used on the front teeth and in areas that aren’t stressed when a person is chewing. This type of bridge is usually used when a person has a natural tooth on only one side of the space where the bridge will sit, instead of on both sides. Unlike other bridges, which need to be attached to two surrounding teeth, cantilever bridges are designed to adhere on just one side to the natural tooth or teeth to the left or to the right of where the false tooth will sit.
Before investing in a bridge, talk to a dental expert about which type will give you the longest lasting and most natural result and fit best with the rest of your teeth.