There are three main types of dental bridges. Traditional bridges, which are the most common type, are made with crowns on either side. The crowns might cover implants or teeth, and the false tooth is attached to it. A cantilever bridge, meanwhile, is held in place by only one crown or tooth. A Maryland or resin-bonded bridge is held in place by wings that bond to teeth on either side. A less common fourth type is the implant-supported bridge.
Traditional bridges are most often used to replace back teeth. They must be hardy because the greatest amount of chewing and grinding is done in this part of the mouth. Traditional bridges are made from ceramics or porcelain fused to metal.
Cantilever bridges are used when there is only a tooth on one side to attach the bridge to. This is not only because that another tooth might be missing, but there may be aesthetic reasons to do this, or the other tooth might already be used in supporting a bridge on the other side or for other purposes.
The wings on resin-bonded bridges require teeth on either side to hold them in place. These so-called "wings" are actually made of metal. These types of bridges have the advantage over a traditional bridge of being easier to repair or replace if necessary due to the simple bonding required.
The implant-supported bridge combines the use of crowns and bridges. In some cases, there might not be any teeth to support the bridge. When this occurs, the bridge can be supported with the use of implants. Traditional bridges are for situations in which there are two stable teeth on either side; cantilever bridges for cases in which there is only one, and Maryland bridges for cases when it is best to choose a less invasive method.