Conventional, Cantilever, Or Maryland: Pros And Cons Of The Different Types Of Dental Bridges

A dental bridge is a common replacement option for a missing tooth that was located between two remaining healthy teeth. There are three main parts to any bridge: an artificial tooth, called a pontic, in the center, and some type of connecting mechanism on each side. The connecting mechanisms are usually dental crowns, which are the uppermost cap of an artificial tooth that can be bonded to the natural teeth on each side.

There are a few different types of bridges available. Your dentist will help you choose the best option for your situation. But it's helpful to enter the appointment knowing your most likely options.

Conventional Bridge

A conventional bridge has the pontic supported by a dental crown on each side. The crowns bound on the natural teeth will serve as an anchor so that the pontic can dangle in the gap. The pontic and crowns are custom-crafted and colored to match your existing teeth as closely as possible. A conventional bridge works best for a missing tooth that has a strong natural tooth on each side.

One potential downside is that the natural teeth will need to be shaved down slightly to prepare for the crown bonding. If those teeth are already rather small or have suffered some sort of damage in the past, you might not want to undergo this shaving.

Cantilever Bridge

A cantilever bridge has the same pontic and dental crowns as a conventional bridge. But with a cantilever bridge, both crowns are on the same side rather than straddling the pontic. This setup works best for a situation where there isn't a natural tooth available on one side of the gap.

An example would be a missing rear molar backed by a missing wisdom tooth. The crowns would then have to be placed on the two forward teeth so that the pontic can hang in the missing hole.

Lacking the crown on each side can make the bridge feel a bit less anchored, and the crowns will still require the natural teeth to be shaved down slightly.

Maryland Bridge

A Maryland bridge differs from the others in that no crowns are involved. Instead, the pontic is flanked on each side by a resin-coated metal band that is bonded to the rear of the natural teeth. The Maryland bridge can work in any situation where a conventional bridge would work and doesn't require the tooth shaving for the crowns.

The downside of a Maryland bridge is that even with the resin covering, the metal bands won't closely match your teeth. Natural teeth are somewhat translucent, so the teeth backed by the bands could end up looking a bit darker.

If you're not sure which dental bridge is best for you, talk to a dentist, like those at A Q Denture Services. He or she will make a recommendation based on your personal needs and dental health.