Bridge Types in Dentistry: Pros & Cons of Each Type

Dental bridges are one of the most common treatments in dentistry, and it has been around for a very long time. They are used to replace missing teeth and restore chewing function as well as appearance. A traditional bridge consists of two crowns and a false tooth in between, and it is supported by two adjacent natural teeth. With the advancement of dentistry, many bridge types have been created to suit the patient’s needs and requirements. Also, dental implants have started to emerge as an alternative to traditional bridges. In this guide, we will be going over the different bridge types in dentistry for you to take a look at.

What are Dental Bridges?

Dental bridges are fixed prostheses that are used to replace one or more missing teeth. A traditional bridge consists of two crowns on each side of the bridge, which are placed over two adjacent teeth. It also has a false tooth or teeth in between these crowns, and they are used to restore the chewing function and the appearance of your smile. However, there are several bridge types in dentistry that have different designs to suit your specific needs.

Different Bridge Types in Dentistry

There are many bridge types in dentistry, and they have different designs according to the situation. Each bridge type has its advantages and disadvantages. In this section, we will cover the different bridge types in dentistry.

Traditional Bridges – The Common between Bridge Types in Dentistry

Traditional bridges are the standard bridge type in dentistry that has been around for a long time, and its design hasn’t changed much. It consists of two crowns and one false tooth in between. The bridge is supported by the surrounding natural teeth on both sides of the gap.

  • Advantages of traditional bridges: they are strong, durable, and less expensive than dental implants. Traditional bridges can last for 15 to 20 years if they are well maintained.
  • Disadvantages of traditional bridges: they require the reduction and reshaping of adjacent natural teeth for support, which can compromise the tooth’s long-term health. Also, traditional bridges can only be used when there is a natural tooth on each side of the gap.
Traditional bridges – the common between bridge types in dentistry
Traditional bridges are the standard bridge type in dentistry.

Cantilever Bridges

Unlike traditional bridges, the cantilever bridge is supported at only one side, and the other end is unsupported. It is usually used to replace one missing front tooth, for example, a missing upper lateral incisor.

  • Advantages of cantilever bridges: they only require the reduction of one tooth, which makes them less expensive than traditional bridges.
  • Disadvantages of cantilever bridges: they are not as strong as traditional bridges because they are only supported on one side. So, they are not recommended for replacing multiple missing teeth, back teeth, or places with high chewing forces.

Maryland Bridges

This is one of the conservative bridge types in dentistry. Maryland bridges consist of an artificial tooth with a metal or porcelain framework that bonds onto the back adjacent teeth for support. Simply, a false tooth with porcelain or metal wings. They are usually used to replace a single missing front tooth, for example, a missing upper lateral incisor.

  • Advantages of Maryland bridges: this bridge type is conservative because it does not require tooth reduction. Also, Maryland bridges are cost-effective.
  • Disadvantages of Maryland bridges: The metal framework of Maryland bridges becomes loose in places with high chewing forces. So, they are not recommended for replacing multiple missing teeth, back teeth, or places with high chewing forces.

Implant-Supported Bridges – The Best between Bridge Types in Dentistry

Implant-supported bridges are considered the most durable type of bridge in dentistry. They have the same design as traditional bridges but they are supported by implants instead of natural teeth.

  • Advantages of implant-supported bridges: they are strong and durable and can last up to 25 years if they are well maintained. This bridge type is recommended for replacing multiple missing teeth, back teeth, or places with high chewing forces.
  • Disadvantages of implant-supported bridges: they are more expensive than other bridge types in dentistry. Also, the placement of implants requires a surgical procedure and healing period that may take several months.
an implant-supported bridge for replacing multiple missing teeth
Implant-supported bridges are the most durable and long-lasting type of bridge in dentistry.

In Dentistry, What Types of Materials are Used to Make a Bridge?

In bridge construction, the bridge material is as important as the type. In this section, we will cover different bridge materials used in dentistry.

  • Metal bridges: they can be made of stainless steel, gold alloy, or nickel-titanium alloy.
  • Porcelain fused to metal (PFM) bridges: this type is the most commonly used today because they are strong and durable, do not discolor or fracture, and are less expensive than other bridge materials.
  • All-ceramic bridges: they are made of porcelain. All-ceramic bridges are the most esthetic bridge type in dentistry.
  • Acrylic bridges: they are not as strong and durable as bridge materials mentioned above.

How to Choose The Suitable Bridge Type for You?

There are bridge types that require tooth reduction and some bridges that do not. Types of dental bridges are different in uses, strength, durability, and cost. So, before choosing one, you should consider these factors:

  • The number of missing teeth. Learn more about a bridge for two missing teeth.
  • Location of missing tooth or teeth.
  • Strength and durability.
  • The material used to make the bridge.
  • Your budget.
  • Your dentist’s recommendation.
  • Personal preference.

Bridge Types in Dentistry – Conclusion

If you have one or more missing, dental bridges are a good treatment option. There are many bridge types in dentistry, and they have different designs according to the situation. In this article, we’ve covered four different types: traditional, cantilever, maryland, and implant-supported bridges. We also discussed some advantages and disadvantages for each type so that you could make an educated choice about which one would work best for your situation or what might fit into your budget better than another option.

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