If you have one or more missing teeth, chances are you are looking for an easy and effective way to restore your smile. One common tooth restoration method that you have heard of is a dental bridge. Like their name suggests, dental bridges are supported on either side and “bridge” the gap left by one or more missing teeth.
However, if you’ve never seen a dental bridge or are not familiar with dental bridges, you are probably wondering what a dental bridge looks like. Especially if you are considering having a dental bridge placed. Fact is, there are different types of dental bridges and although they all use a similar structure, they have slightly different appearances. Therefore, let’s take a look at the different types of dental bridges:
Traditional Dental Bridge
Traditional dental bridges are the most commonly used and are generally the most well-known type of bridge. They are composed of one or more pontics (fake teeth) fused together and supported by a dental crown on either side. Dental crowns are tooth-shaped caps that fit over an existing tooth. Both the crowns and pontics will be customized in terms of color, shape, size, and texture to ensure that they blend in with the rest of your smile. Once in place, traditional dental bridges are indistinguishable from your natural teeth.
Cantilever Dental Bridge
Cantilever dental bridges are slightly different from traditional dental bridges in that they are only supported on one side and resemble a diving board in the sense that only one side is supported while the other is suspended. They are not used as much as other types of dental bridges and are considered rare. However, they are sometimes used to replace a front missing tooth and have certain advantages that can make them an ideal choice.
Maryland Bonded Dental Bridge
Maryland bonded dental bridges also use the same basic structure of a traditional dental bridge, however they are composed of different elements. Instead of using dental crowns on either side to support one or more pontics, Maryland bonded bridges use a metal framework. In most cases, this metal framework is bonded on the backside of teeth so that it is not immediately visible. However depending on the location of the bridge, it may sometimes be visible.
Implant-Supported Dental Bridge
Implant-supported dental bridges are similar in structure to traditional dental bridges, however they are supported by implant-supported dental crowns instead of traditional crowns. While a traditional crown acts as a cap placed over a natural tooth, an implant-supported crown is one that is mounted to a dental implant. Dental implants are artificial tooth roots used to replace missing teeth. An implant-supported bridge will look similar to a traditional dental bridge, since dental implants are below the gum line.
As you can see, dental bridges all use a similar structure, but have slightly different appearances. Although appearance and aesthetic goals are important factors in choosing a restorative treatment, there are other important factors you will need to discuss with your dentist before deciding which type of bridge would work best. Luckily, with so many different types, you are sure to find a bridge that works for you.
Dr. Jonathan McCartney received his doctorate from Case Western Dental School. After a few years of practicing in another dental office, Dr. McCartney’s goal was to create an environment for his patients that combines the most advanced dental technology with gentle, affordable, individualized care. The end result of this goal is McCartney Dental, a state of the art North Port modern dental practice.