Updated on February 22, 2024
6 min read

Types of Dental Bridges & Procedure Steps

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What is a Dental Bridge?

A dental bridge is a type of dental restoration that replaces one or more missing teeth. It fills the gap with one or more false teeth, using the surrounding teeth as support.

3d render of jaw with dental incisor cantilever bridge

Also known as fixed partial dentures, dental bridges are made up of two main components:

  1. Abutments ⁠— Adjacent teeth that support the bridge; they may be your natural teeth or dental implants. Bridges usually have abutments on either side of the missing teeth.
  2. Pontics ⁠— Artificial teeth that bridge the gap between the abutments. There can be more than one pontic if you’re missing several teeth in a row.

The natural teeth (abutments) themselves are usually fitted with dental crowns. Dental crowns on natural teeth are often referred to as retainers. They’re attached to the artificial teeth (pontics) with connectors.

Who Needs a Dental Bridge?

You may need dental bridges if you have missing teeth. Your teeth share the pressure of biting and chewing and exert pressure on each other.

Dr. Nandita Lilly, one of NewMouth’s in-house dentists, says, “A missing tooth is a serious matter. If the tooth is not replaced, other teeth can drift out of position, change the bite, possibly leading to tooth decay and gum disease.”

Dental implants can also replace missing teeth, but not everyone is qualified for implants.

Who is a Candidate for Dental Bridges?

Your dentist may recommend a bridge if you:

  • Already have teeth that need crowns on what would become the abutment teeth
  • Have medical or financial reasons that prevent you from getting dental implants
  • Simply don’t want implants

If you are a candidate for a bridge, your dentist can also help you decide what kind of dental bridge procedure is best for you.

Why Do I Need a Dental Bridge?

Your teeth work together as one unit. If you lose a tooth, another may move into the opening. This can cause jaw issues and pain. 

When teeth move around in an attempt to fill the space, you may experience:

  • Difficulty chewing
  • Difficulty biting 
  • Pain due to stress on your jaw and teeth
  • Insecurities about the way your teeth look or your smile

Four Types of Dental Bridges

There are four different kinds of dental bridges. What makes them different, generally, is how they attach.

1. Conventional Dental Bridge

A conventional or traditional dental bridge requires a crown (retainer) to attach to both abutment teeth. The connectors to both retainers can be rigid (fixed-fixed), or one of them can allow some movement (fixed-movable).

Your dentist will decide which one you need depending on your specific situation. Fixed-fixed bridges require the adjacent teeth to be parallel, while fixed-movable ones allow for more deviation.

2. Cantilever Dental Bridge

Conventional bridges can also have a cantilever design, which is now less common. These bridges have just one abutment tooth for support rather than two.

3d render of jaw with dental incisor cantilever bridge supported by implant

Cantilever bridges are ideal for someone with teeth on only one side of the missing front tooth or gap.

3. Maryland Dental Bridge

An adhesive or resin-bonded bridge, also called a Maryland bridge, doesn’t require dental crowns on the abutment teeth. Instead, it features wings on either side of the artificial tooth that attaches to your abutment teeth by an adhesive.

3d render of jaw with teeth and maryland bridge

The most common use for Maryland bridges is on the front teeth. These bridges require less preparation, but for the same reason, they may not be as secure as conventional bridges.

On the other hand, the less complex nature of an adhesive means a less invasive procedure.  

4. Implant-Supported Bridge

This type of bridge is similar to the conventional permanent bridge. The difference is that the abutment teeth are implants rather than a retainer crown being placed over your natural tooth. 

implant supported bridge NewMouth scaled 1

How Much Does a Dental Bridge Cost?

The cost of your new dental bridge depends on the type of bridge you choose: 

  • Traditional or cantilever bridges — $2,000 to $5,000 for a pontic and a crown for each abutment tooth9
  • Maryland bridges — $1,500 to $2,500 for one pontic and its framework that attaches to the abutment teeth9
  • Implant-supported bridges — $5,000 to $15,000 for a bridge with two implants spanning three or four teeth9

Other factors that affect the cost of a dental bridge include:

  • Cost of materials
  • Location of the bridge in the mouth 
  • Factors that may increase the difficulty of the procedure
  • Number of missing teeth gaps to fill
  • Any additional treatments required

Benefits and Risks of Dental Bridges

Dental bridges offer some clear benefits, but they aren’t without risks.

Benefits of Dental Bridges

  • Restored function (biting and chewing)
  • Restored esthetics 
  • Maintenance of the alignment of your teeth over time
  • Do not require surgery 
  • Relatively quick to place (usually only two appointments are needed)

Risks of Dental Bridges

  • Extensive preparation of abutment teeth (for traditional bridges) is necessary, which may require the sacrifice of healthy tooth structure
  • Secondary caries (tooth decay in an already treated tooth) can occur, especially if you don’t use superfloss or floss threaders to clean under the bridge 
  • The eventual failure of the bridge and the need for replacement

Taking care of your oral health can significantly minimize the possibility of complications or dental bridge failure.

How to Care for a Dental Bridge

Although they are fixed, bridges don’t last forever. They experience wear and tear over time, so you’ll need to replace them at some point.

To ensure that your bridge remains in good shape for as long as possible, you’ll need to:

  • Keep a good oral hygiene regimen, including regular brushing, flossing, and rinsing
  • Take it easy with hard foods and sugary foods
  • See your dentist and dental hygienist regularly for checkups and routine cleanings

Other Tooth Restoration Options 

If a bridge isn’t right for you, there are other dental restoration options available:

Like bridges, these options each have their advantages and disadvantages. Your dentist can provide information about specific options suitable for your unique situation.

Common Questions about Dental Bridges

Will I speak differently after receiving a dental bridge?

If you are missing teeth, it may be hard to speak clearly. Placing a dental bridge may help improve your speech.

Is it hard to eat with a dental bridge?

Most people find eating with a dental bridge easier than eating with missing teeth. Some people prefer to consume softer foods while acclimating to their new bridge.

How long will a dental bridge last?

Most dental bridges last five to seven years. However, some dental bridges last more than 10 years with proper care.


Dental bridges are a type of fixed dental restoration for missing teeth. They consist of one or more pontics (fake teeth) supported by abutments on one or both sides.

There are different ways that bridges can attach, as well as different types of materials. Some may suit your preferences more than others. 

Talk to your dentist about your options.

Last updated on February 22, 2024
8 Sources Cited
Last updated on February 22, 2024
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. Smith, B.G.N. “Types of Bridges.” Planning and Making Crowns and Bridges, CRC Press, 2013.
  2. Zhao, J., and Wang, X. “Dental Prostheses.” Advanced Ceramics for Dentistry, Butterworth-Heinemann, 2014.
  3. Nesbit et al. “Definitive Phase of Treatment.” Diagnosis and Treatment Planning in Dentistry, Mosby, 2017.
  4. Mine et al. “Critical Review About Two Myths in Fixed Dental Prostheses: Full-Coverage vs. Resin-Bonded, Non-Cantilever vs. Cantilever.” Japanese Dental Science Review, 2021.
  5. Dăguci et al. “Considerations on Dental Bridges’ Stability and Balance for Mandibulary Teeth with Coronary-Root Amputation.” Current Health Sciences Journal, 2012.
  6. Farish et al. “Dental Implant Surgery.” Clinical Review of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Mosby, 2014.
  7. What Is The Cost Of A Dental Bridge?” Brook West Family Dentistry.
  8. How Much Does A Dental Bridge Cost?” Wake Dental Care.
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