Different Types of Dental Bridges and How to Choose the Right One

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Different Types of Dental Bridges and How to Choose the Right One

types of dental bridges

27% of adults 20-64 have permanently damaged areas in their mouths. 25% of them have no teeth left at all. 

Dental implants and bridges are two of the most common ways to replace and repair these missing teeth, but they couldn’t be more different. Patients can qualify for one and not the other, and they don’t always have the same success rate.

One thing they do have in common is that they have more than one variety. There are several types of dental bridges, and finding the right one is important to your success.

Read our dental bridges guide to learn what sets them apart and how to choose the right one for you.

Types of Dental Bridges

The primary purpose of a dental bridge is to fill a gap left by one or more missing teeth. There are four main varieties; traditional, cantilever, Maryland, and implant-supported.

Traditional

A traditional bridge is the most common type. It can be made of materials such as:

  • Metal
  • Porcelain
  • Ceramic

A false tooth or teeth get held in place by crowns. They’re cemented to an abutment to keep them steady.

There are even two types of traditional dental bridges. Rigid or fixed-fixed arrangements keep the teeth from moving, but fixed-movable allow for a bit of movement. 

Cantilever

Cantilever is a term that comes from bridge construction. It refers to bridges with on projecting beam or girder at one end. 

In dental bridges, a cantilever is held in place by a crown that’s cemented to a single abutment tooth. There only needs to be one natural tooth to hold it in place. 

Maryland

Maryland dental bridges require two natural abutment teeth on each side. What sets them apart from a traditional bridge is that they have a framework of metal or porcelain. It gets bonded to the backs of the abutment teeth with an adhesive to help it stay in place. 

Implant-Supported

An implant replaces every missing tooth, and the implants hold the dental bridge in position. If that isn’t possible, it may go between two implant-supported crowns instead. 

How to Choose the Right Dental Bridge

The wide range of dental bridge benefits includes better speech, digestion, and cosmetics. A few cons include high prices and maintenance requirements.

Getting the right type of bridge is one of the most important parts of the process, so make sure to talk to your dentist about which one is right for you. You’ll have to consider factors such as which teeth you’re missing, how stable it’ll be, what type of procedure you can handle, and how much you can afford.

Number of Missing Teeth

A traditional bridge is best for those who have natural teeth on both sides of the gap created by their missing teeth. Maryland bridges are the same way but tend to be used on front teeth for more stability.  

Cantilever dental bridges are the best type for those who only have one tooth on one side of their gap. Implant-supported bridges can replace multiple teeth and cover a larger area. They’re perfect for those without enough healthy teeth to support other bridges.

Procedure

Traditional and cantilever bridges require your dentist to prepare your abutment teeth by filing down the enamel. You’ll then have to endure the procedure of getting an impression of your teeth taken. This can be done by:

  • Placing your head into a computer
  • Biting down onto a foul-tasting material

The results get sent off to the lab that will create the permanent bridge. It can take a while to come back ready to wear.

Maryland bridges require a less invasive procedure. They use wings instead of crowns, which is why you won’t have to even get an impression or have your teeth filed. The process is quicker and easier to recover from.

Getting an implant-supported bridge is the most complex procedure and requires no less than two surgeries. One embeds the implants into the jaw and the other places the bridge.

It can take months to complete and for you to heal from. There are also risks, including:

  • Implant failure
  • Plaque
  • Gum issues

Stability

One reason that traditional bridges remain one of the most popular of all the different types of dental bridges is that they’re durable. Implant-supported bridges are also stable because they’re supported by existing teeth.

The cantilever bridge has a single-sided structure that makes it one of the least durable. It’s placed in the back of the mouth because it can’t withstand the force of chewing.

Dental bridges bring stability back to your mouth, and they need to be stable themselves. If they break or crack, you may experience issues such as:

  • Loosened crowns
  • Fractured teeth
  • Pain or infection

Cost

At least 48% of Americans with dental insurance have skipped a recommended procedure because of cost. At least 10% of them regretted it. 7% more regretted paying for a procedure they didn’t need.

Your teeth and your wallet will thank you for looking into the costs of each of the types of dental bridges before you choose one. It’s affected by several factors such as:

  • Materials
  • Number of appointments 
  • Complexity of the procedure

Traditional bridges tend to be the most expensive. Cantilevers have a similar price but cost a bit less because there’s only one crown involved.

Maryland bridges are the least expensive but can cost more when expensive material is used to make them. Implant-supported bridges vary widely in price depending on the number of missing teeth they need to cover. 

Where to Find the Right Dentist

Bridges are one of the best ways to replace gaps from missing teeth. The four main types are traditional, Maryland, cantilever, and implant-supported.

They have their pros and cons when it comes to the procedure they require, their stability, and their cost. They may also only work if you have a certain number of teeth missing. Having a dentist help you choose the right one helps you improve the way your smile looks and your overall health.

Forest Park Dental is offering care for new and existing patients. Schedule an appointment today.

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