Pontic Design in Prosthodontics

The pontic, \pŏn΄tĭk\, is an artificial tooth on a fixed partial denture that replaces a missing natural tooth, restores its function, and usually restores the space previously occupied by the clinical crown.

The design of the pontic are as follows [1]:

  •       Sanitary/Hygienic
  •       Saddle/Ridge lap
  •       Modified Ridge Lap
  •       Conical
  •       Ovate
  •       Modified Sanitary













Figure 1. Schematic presentation of various pontic designs; (a) Sanitary pontic; has no contact with the edentulous ridge, (b) ridge lap pontic; forms a large concave contact replacing the contours of a missing tooth, (c) modified ridge lap; shows illusion of a tooth but it has all or nearly all convex surfaces for easy cleaning and minimize plaque accumulation, (d and e) bullet/conical; rounded and cleanable smaller tip in relation to overall size, (f) ovate; round end design currently in use where aesthetics is a primary concern[1].


Sanitary or Hygienic Pontic

This type of pontic makes no contact with the edentulous ridge and is most commonly used in mandibular molar replacement. It is made in an all-convex configuration, facio-lingually and mesio-lingually. This type of pontic design is also known as “fish-belly”. Fig 1 a.

Saddle/Ridge Lap

It looks like a tooth, replaces all the contour of the missing tooth. It maintains a large concave contact with the underlying ridge and obliterates facial, lingual and proximal embrasures. Fig 1 b.

Modified Ridge Lap

Modified ridge lap combines esthetics with easy cleaning, and makes contact with ridge tissues in a shape of ‘ T whose vertical arm ends at the crest of the ridge. This design is most commonly used in the area of the mouth that is visible during function. Fig 1 c.


Conical pontic design is mostly limited to the replacement of thin knife edged ridges in the non-display zone of the mouth. It has a convex surface with only touching the centre of the residual alveolar ridge. Fig 1 d & e.


Ovate pontic design is the most aesthetically suitable appealing design that looks like emerging from the gingiva. When ridge resorption is corrected by ridge augmentation, ovate design appears to be emerging through gingiva just like natural tooth. Fig 1 f.

Modified Sanitary

The tissue facing surface of the modified sanitary design pontic has a hyperbolic parabola. The pontic is designed as a concave archway while the under surface is convex facio-lingually.


  1. Eur J Dent. 2018 Jul-Sep; 12(3): 375–379. doi: 10.4103/ejd.ejd_232_18


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