What is a Cantilever Bridge?
When there is not enough support for a traditional bridge because abutment teeth are available on only one side of the gap where the missing tooth or teeth used to be, the dentist may suggests a type of bridgework known as Cantilever Bridge.
A traditional bridge uses a false tooth, also called pontic, resting comfortably in the center of the bridge with a dental crown cemented to the adjacent teeth on each side. A Cantilever Bridge supports the fake tooth from one end.
A typical Cantilever Bridge consists of two abutment crowns placed next to each other on the same side of the toothless gap, with the pontic extended into the missing tooth space.
Depending on how much support the Cantilever Bridge needs, only one dental crown can be used as abutment tooth. Cantilever Bridges are indicated for areas of the mouth under less stress. It is not very common and is not recommended to use this type of bridgework in the back of the mouth, where chewing forces are higher, and the pressure that act on the abutment teeth can damage them.
Cantilever Bridge with the pontic located in front of the abutment teeth is the most favourable situation, because chewing pressures decrease. In these cases, the pontic should have no more than one fake tooth, and at least two abutments are needed to support the bridge. There are some exceptions when the abutment tooth is a strong canine or molar.
Although these type of bridgeworks are supported to one end, they are no less stable than traditional bridges. Cantilever Bridges can last up to 10 years with proper dental care.