What is a Cantilever Dental Bridge?
When most people think of dental bridges, they typically think of a traditional bridge. These are the type of bridge that consists of one or more pontics (or prosthetic teeth), which are held in place by two crowns. These crowns cover the two closest teeth, allowing the bridge to be secure and stable inside the patient’s mouth.
Unlike a traditional bridge, a cantilever bridge does not have support on both sides. Instead, it consists of a pontic (typically, just one pontic is recommended when a cantilever bridge is being used) and just one crown. This crown will be placed over the tooth that will be supporting the bridge. When just one crown is being used in the bridge, that means it is a cantilever bridge.
Who is a Good Candidate for a Cantilever Bridge?
In many cases, traditional bridges are a great option for many of our patients. In some cases, though, the patient is unable to receive a traditional bridge as a restoration option for their tooth loss. There are a few different reasons why this may be so, but the most frequent reason is that the patient does not have teeth on both sides of the space to support the bridge. This may be due to extra tooth loss or if there never was a tooth available to support the bridge. In this case, a cantilever bridge may be necessary.
A patient who is a good candidate for a cantilever bridge is one who may not have tooth support on both sides of the space. They are in good oral health and do not have any active infection in their teeth or gums. The tooth that will be used as support (also called an abutment) needs to be strong and in good health, too, as it will need to help maintain the cantilever bridge. If the patient does have gum disease or infection, we may need to treat it before we proceed with the bridge procedure.
We do not recommend a cantilever bridge on your back teeth, as there is too much force and pressure in the back of your mouth. This can increase the risk of damage to your bridge. We also advise that a patient receive a cantilever bridge if they are missing just one tooth at the site. This minimizes the risk of the bridge or the supporting tooth becoming damaged over time.
Are you interested in learning about cantilever bridges? Give us a call at (503) 647-4565. We are happy to help you learn more about your smile!