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  • TinWai Ip

Spotlight on: Cantilever Adhesive Bridges

Updated: Dec 5, 2020

Loss of a single tooth can be devastating; especially, if it’s in your smile. A missing tooth can cause a cascade of unwanted effects on your oral and emotional health; from unwanted tooth movement or further tooth loss to low self-esteem or anxiety. But, good news, it’s not the end of the world. There are many different options to discuss to replace missing teeth.

This post will focus on resin bonded bridges, or, more often referred to as Adhesive or Maryland bridges. They are great solutions to replacing a single tooth that is missing either as a permanent solution or a temporary one immediately after tooth loss. A false tooth is used to fill the empty space and is attached to the back of a healthy tooth with a small ‘wing’, which can be metal or tooth-coloured, depending on the material chosen.

The wing is either made of a base metal alloy or zirconia, a white material. Base metal alloys have high rigidity and hardness, making them ideally suited to being used in thin sections resulting in less bulky wings. (St. George et. Al 2002). Zirconia, “also named as ‘ceramic steel,’ has optimum properties; including, superior toughness, strength and fatigue resistance, excellent wear properties and biocompatibility.”

Why I prefer this design when planning for permanent tooth replacements is the minimal amount of preparation needs to be done on your healthy abutment (anchor) tooth. In other words, less of your natural tooth tissue is trimmed away at the first appointment.

Sounds brilliant, but this design isn’t without limitations. While it would never give you the sensation or the strength of a real tooth, it serves as a permanent cosmetic solution to a missing tooth. Because of the lever-like design, with the pontic (false) tooth floating above the gums, and conservative nature of the preparation, this type of bridge is only suited for specific cases.

I look for patients with healthy strong teeth and gums, with little or no teeth clenching or grinding habits, and strong motivation to take care of the new bridge afterwards. Design, attention to detail, and YOUR self-care will determine the success of your dental treatment.


AEGIS Communications, PhD. "What Is The Best Non-Metallic Material For Maryland Bridges, And How Do You Bond Them?". Aegisdentalnetwork.Com, 2020,,have%20been%20attributed%20to%20zirconia.

Bona, Alvaro Della et al. “Zirconia as a Dental Biomaterial.” Materials (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 8,8 4978-4991. 4 Aug. 2015, doi:10.3390/ma8084978

Gulati, Jasneet Singh et al. "Resin-Bonded Bridges – The Problem Or The Solution? Part 1: Assessment And Design". Dental Update, vol 43, no. 6, 2016, pp. 506-521. Mark Allen Group, doi:10.12968/denu.2016.43.6.506.

St George, Geoffrey et al. "Resin-Retained Bridges Re-Visited Part 1. History And Indications". Primary Dental Care, vol 9, no. 3, 2002, pp. 87-91. Royal College Of Surgeons Of England, doi:10.1308/135576102322492927.

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