Types of Dental Bridges

If you have one or more missing teeth, you may be considering a cosmetic dental bridge. The bridge, which typically consists of false replacement teeth and one or more dental crowns, is fixed in the oral cavity to restore the appearance and functionality of the mouth. 

Here are a few types of bridges that a dentist may apply.


Among the available bridge types, the conventional bridge is most common. A conventional bridge includes two crowns that are attached to the abutment teeth to secure the device in the mouth. The abutment teeth are natural teeth that surround the empty space along the gum line that was left by the missing tooth. That space is filled by the false tooth of the bridge.

In order to apply a bridge crown, the dentist must remove a bit of tooth material from the abutment teeth, permanently altering them.  As a result of the changes to the structure of the teeth, they must remain covered by dental crowns.


A conventional bridge may also be supported by dental implants when one or more abutment teeth are missing. The implants include a connector that attaches to the bridge crowns. Since the implants rest in the bone of the jaw just like the roots of natural teeth, they provide the same degree of bridge stabilization as natural abutment teeth.


Unlike a conventional bridge, a cantilever bridge includes only one crown. Thus, only one abutment tooth is needed for the placement of the bridge. As a result, dentists often use cantilever bridges when there is an abutment tooth on only one side of the gap.

Although a conventional bridge tends to be more stable in the mouth, a cantilever bridge is sufficiently supported if proper care is taken to avoid damaging activities, such as chewing on hard objects or failing to wear a mouthguard while playing contact sports.


Another type of bridge that may be used to replace a lost tooth is the Maryland bridge. Unlike the other bridge types, the Maryland bridge attaches in the mouth using wings made of porcelain or metal to connect the bridge to abutment teeth.

Since the winged portions of the bridge do not fully cover the abutment teeth, the adjacent teeth do not have to be altered for the placement of a Maryland bridge. Nevertheless, the attachment to the teeth is less stable than the attachment formed by bridge crowns, so a Maryland bridge may not be as long lasting.

To learn more about dental bridges, schedule an appointment with a dentist in your local area.