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If you’ve recently lost a tooth, you may be a candidate for a Maryland bridge. Unlike traditional bridges, Maryland bridges don’t involve enamel removal. This makes them a minimally invasive dental restoration.
This article explains what a Maryland bridge is, how it differs from other tooth replacement options, and what to expect from a Maryland bridge procedure.
The concept is similar to a traditional bridge. It involves a floating false tooth that replaces the missing one. Your dentist will attach the prosthetic tooth to the neighboring teeth on either side of the gap, creating a seamless smile.
However, a Maryland bridge bonds to the surrounding teeth differently than a regular bridge. Instead of fully covering the teeth on either side with a dental crown, a Maryland bridge uses a thin metal framework that attaches to your natural teeth.
A Maryland bridge is not a tooth replacement option for everyone. They’re best if you have good oral hygiene and healthy existing teeth.
Your dentist may recommend a Maryland bridge if you meet the following criteria:
Generally, a Maryland bridge will cost about $1,000 to $2,300.2 Insurance may cover some of the cost.
The cost of a Maryland dental bridge will vary depending on several factors, including:
Getting a Maryland bridge is much less expensive than a dental implant procedure. However, Maryland bridges don’t last as long as dental implants. Consider the replacement cost before making a decision.
Like all dental procedures, there are pros and cons to Maryland bridges. Consider these before undergoing the procedure.
Advantages of Maryland dental bridges include:
Disadvantages of Maryland dental bridges include:
A Maryland bridge is designed to give you a natural-looking smile. The bridge includes a porcelain prosthetic tooth attached to two wings. The wings are made of thin metal and look like bat wings.
The false tooth is shaded to match your natural tooth color, and the metal wings attach to the backs of your intact teeth. This allows Maryland bridges to blend in with your other teeth.
The main difference between a Maryland bridge and a traditional dental bridge is how they attach to neighboring teeth.
A traditional dental bridge attaches to crowns on either side of the false tooth. Placing a crown requires your dentist to shave down enamel from your intact teeth.
These bridges permanently alter the structure of the teeth on either side of the missing tooth.
Instead of crowns, a Maryland dental bridge attaches to thin metal wings bonded to the back of your teeth. Your dentist will bond the metal framework from the false tooth to the supporting teeth with a composite resin.
The metal wings don’t require enamel removal to bond to the surrounding teeth. A Maryland bridge preserves healthy tooth enamel, making it a conservative tooth replacement option.
A Maryland dental bridge is a simple, quick, and non-invasive procedure.
During the procedure, your dentist will:
Here’s what to expect after a Maryland bridge procedure:
There isn’t any downtime following a Maryland dental bridge placement, and you should not experience any pain.
Once you leave your appointment to have your dental bridge put in place, you should be able to eat, chew, and speak normally.
However, you may experience the following symptoms a few hours after the procedure:
Maryland bridges last between 12 to 21 years.4 Proper aftercare will help yours last longer.
Aftercare tips for Maryland bridges include:
There are many alternative options to Maryland bridges. If you're not a good candidate for a Maryland bridge, your dentist may recommend one of the following:
A Maryland bridge is just one of four types of dental bridges. The others include:
Dentures are removable false teeth that replace missing teeth. You can choose from several different styles of dentures. Some are made with acrylic resin, while others use porcelain.
Newer denture designs can be attached directly to the base, eliminating the need for a metal frame. Talk to your dentist about what type of dentures best suit your needs.
Implants are small titanium posts surgically inserted into the jawbone to hold artificial teeth in place. Dental implants look and feel like natural teeth.
This alternative is usually more expensive and requires multiple dentist visits. However, dental implants are considered the most permanent of all tooth replacement options.
Maryland bridges can last 12 to 21 years.4 However, the wings on a Maryland bridge may need rebonding every 5 to 8 years.6
Because Maryland bridges often require frequent rebonding, some dentists consider them a temporary solution.1 Some people choose to have a Maryland bridge for a few years before undergoing dental implant surgery.
A Maryland bridge shouldn’t damage your teeth. This is because the dentist doesn’t need to remove any enamel from your adjacent teeth to place the bridge.
Maryland bridges are better for your teeth than many other dental alternatives because they preserve healthy tooth enamel.
A high failure rate is the primary disadvantage of a Maryland bridge. Approximately ⅓ of Maryland bridges debond after a few years, and the failure rate increases with every rebonding.1
Maryland bridges are best suited to replace one tooth and may not work if you are missing several teeth in a row. This is because the metal wings won’t have anything to bond to, and they aren’t stable enough to support several teeth.
Other treatment options are available, including partial dentures and conventional bridges.
Cantilever bridges require the reshaping of a single abutment tooth. A Maryland bridge has thin metal wings that attach to the back of your teeth.
A Maryland bridge is a dental restoration that replaces a missing tooth. It functions similarly to a conventional dental bridge in that it involves a false tooth supported by neighboring teeth.
The main difference is that a Maryland bridge attaches to metal wings that are bonded to the backs of the supporting teeth. The metal wings allow your dentist to place the bridge without removing enamel from intact teeth.
Maryland bridges are a cost-effective and non-invasive tooth replacement option. However, not everyone is a candidate for them. Additionally, Maryland bridges don’t last as long as other tooth replacement options, such as dental implants.
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