Traditional dental bridges aren't always the best way to fill the gap left by a missing tooth. While these bridges work well in many cases, you sometimes need a different solution, such as a cantilever bridge.
How do cantilever bridges work and what are their benefits?
What Are Cantilever Dental Bridges?
Traditional bridges use the teeth at either side of a missing tooth to support the bridging device. Your dentist attaches the bridgework to these teeth. So, the bridge has three false teeth in it. The two on the outside go over the supporting teeth; the one in the middle fills your gap.
Cantilever bridges work on the same principle as traditional ones. They use existing teeth as a supporting structure. However, they only need support from a single tooth.
Here, the bridge attaches to a remaining natural tooth at one side of the gap. It doesn't have double-sided support. So, these bridges contain two false teeth, one for the support tooth and one for the gap.
What Are the Benefits of Cantilever Dental Bridges?
If you only have one tooth next to a gap, then a traditional bridge won't work. It needs two teeth to get the right support.
Traditional bridges can also run into problems if the teeth on either side of a gap aren't in good shape. If you don't have two healthy teeth here, then bridgework isn't likely to work. Both of your support teeth need to be strong and secure enough to hold their part of the bridge.
In these circumstances, a cantilever bridge might be the most logical solution. It only needs a single support tooth. As long as one of your adjacent teeth is in good enough shape, you can still have a bridge fitted.
Plus, cantilever bridges don't need as much invasive preparation work as traditional bridges. Your dentist has to prepare support teeth to take a bridge by removing some of the surface enamel. If you have a cantilever bridge, then only one tooth will be affected.
This should also reduce your costs. Your dentist has to do less work to prepare your teeth for the bridge. The bridge itself is smaller and should, therefore, also cost less.
While cantilever bridges might look like an attractive option, they won't work effectively on every gap. To find out whether this is a viable way of replacing your missing tooth or whether you should choose a different type of bridgework, contact your dentist.