What are dental bridges?

Dental bridges literally bridge the gap created by one or more missing teeth.

A typical bridge consists of 2 crowns (1 on each side of the gap created by missing tooth/teeth) and a false tooth/teeth (that fill in the gap and is attached to the crowns). These 2 crowned ‘anchoring teeth’ are called abutment teeth. These supporting teeth can be natural teeth or dental implants. The false tooth/teeth in between the anchoring teeth are called pontics. Bridges can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain or a combination of these materials.

What types of dental bridges are available?

There are 3 main types of bridges:

  • Traditional fixed bridges consist of 2 or more crowns and a filler tooth/teeth. The filler tooth/teeth are attached to one or more crowns. The crowns keep the bridge in place. Traditional bridges are the most common type of bridge and are made of either porcelain fused to metal or ceramics.
  • Cantilever bridges are used when there are teeth on only 1 side of the missing tooth or teeth (there are no teeth next to the other side of the missing tooth/teeth.
  • Maryland bonded bridges (also called a resin-bonded bridge or a Maryland bridge) are made of porcelain fused to metal teeth supported by a metal framework. Metal wings on each side of the bridge are bonded to your existing teeth. This type of bridge is commonly used to replace front teeth.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/11/2012.


  • Bridges. The American Society for Dental Aesthetics. www.asdatoday.com  Accessed 10/11/2012
  • Bridges. American Dental Association. www.mouthhealthy.org  Accessed 10/11/2012
  • Bridges. American College of Prosthodontists. www.gotoapro.org Accessed 10/11/2012
  • Dental Implant vs. Fixed Dental Bridges. American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. www.aacd.com  Accessed 10/11/2012
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