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What is a Maryland Dental Bridge?

A Maryland dental bridge got its name from the University of Maryland. It’s a type of permanent dental bridge that can be put in the mouth to replace a missing tooth.

A Maryland bridge is a type of permanent dental restoration that can replace a missing tooth. The concept is similar to that of a typical dental bridge in that the dentist will attach the prosthetic tooth replacement to teeth on either side of the gap to create a seamless smile. However, there is one key difference to keep in mind: Maryland bridges are bonded differently.

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How is a Maryland Bridge Held in Place? 

While a traditional dental bridge requires the dentist to shave down some of the enamel on the adjacent teeth, a Maryland dental bridge does not. In order for a dentist to place a typical dental bridge, they need to remove healthy tooth enamel. This permanently affects the intact teeth to which it attaches.

teeth with dental maryland bridge

On the other hand, a Maryland dental bridge has thin metal “wings” that attach to the back of those teeth instead. The dentist will bond that metal framework from the false tooth to the supporting teeth with a composite resin.

While typical dental bridges are common, a Maryland bridge is not a tooth replacement option for everyone. They are only ideal for patients who have good oral hygiene and healthy neighboring teeth. A dental may only use a Maryland bridge for someone who meets this criteria and needs one or two missing front teeth replaced.

Pros and Cons of Maryland Bridges

Like all dental procedures, there are pros and cons to Maryland bridges. Here are some of the pros of getting a Maryland bridge:

  • The procedure is non-invasive
  • The procedure is generally low-risk
  • The procedure can be done quickly with minimal preparation
  • The procedure offers instant results
  • Maryland dental bridges are cost-effective compared to other dental procedures
  • Maryland dental bridges do not require the dentist to remove healthy tooth enamel
  • Maryland dental bridges do not permanently alter healthy, adjacent teeth
  • These dental bridges give you a seamless smile
  • Maryland bridges are hygienic and allow you to brush easily
  • They generally last a long time

The cons of Maryland dental bridges include the following:

  • Maryland bridges may not be feasible for all teeth (such as molars in the back of the mouth)
  • Maryland bridges may need to be rebonded every five to eight years
  • The bonding on Maryland bridge wings may cause adjacent teeth to darken (teeth whitening may be an option to combat this)
  • Bridges can cause tooth decay if they’re not cleaned properly
  • The artificial tooth may not perfectly match your natural teeth
  • You are only a good candidate with good oral hygiene and no tooth decay
  • It is not recommended to get a Maryland bridge if you are missing more than two teeth

Maryland Bridge Procedure Steps

The implant procedure to place a Maryland bridge is simple. It is a generally quick and non-invasive procedure that shouldn’t require too many trips to the dentist’s office.

  1. Your dentist will lightly etch the back of your adjacent teeth to help the bonding surface
  2. Your dentist will apply a bonding resin to the back of each adjacent tooth
  3. Your dentist will place the bridge’s metal wings to the bonding resin on the back of each tooth, fitting the new tooth in the gap
  4. Your dentist will cure the resin to secure the dental bridge in place

Dental Bridge Recovery Tips 

Once you leave your appointment to have your dental bridge put in place, you should be able to eat, chew, and speak normally. There isn’t any downtime following a Maryland dental bridge placement, and you should not experience any pain. 

That said, you might notice mild sensitivity. You should stay away from hard and cold foods and liquids that can trigger your sensitivity.

Practicing proper oral hygiene by brushing your teeth, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash will also help keep your mouth clean and healthy so your bridge can last longer.

Common Questions and Answers

Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about Maryland dental bridges.

How much does a Maryland bridge cost? 

The cost of a Maryland dental bridge will vary depending on several factors like your dental insurance, oral health, the missing tooth (or teeth), the materials used in the Maryland bridge structure, and more. Generally, a Maryland bridge will cost about $1,000 to $2,300.

How long does a Maryland bridge last?

Maryland bridges can last a few years, though you may need to rebond the wings every so often. Typically, the wings on a Maryland bridge will need to be rebonded every five to eight years.

Does a Maryland bridge damage your teeth? 

A Maryland bridge should not damage your teeth because the dentist does not need to remove any enamel from your adjacent teeth like they would with a typical dental bridge. Maryland bridges are better for your teeth than many other dental alternatives because of the minimal damage done.

Do Maryland bridges fail often?

Maryland bridges do not typically fail. However, a Maryland bridge may not work for all teeth, such as back teeth and molars in the back of the mouth. It also may not work if you are missing several teeth in a row. This is because the wings will not have anything to bond to and it won’t be stable enough to support several teeth. Other treatment options are available, like partial dentures and dental crowns.

If a Maryland bridge is an option for you, the bridge should last you at least several years. Some bridges can last up to 15 years, but they will last about a decade with proper care on average.

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Resources

A, Alison, et al. “Dental Bridges Cost, Types & Procedure.” Dental Implant Cost Guide, www.dentalimplantcostguide.com/dental-bridges/

Center, Premier Dental. “What Are Maryland Bridges?: Dental Bridge Dentist in Troy MI.” Troy MI Dentist, 13 May 2020, www.premierdentalcenter.com/what-are-maryland-bridges/

Julieglud@gmail.com. “Traditional Dental Bridge vs Maryland Bridge.” Dental Care of Lombard, 18 Oct. 2019, dentalcareoflombard.com/traditional-dental-bridge-vs-maryland-bridge/

Ladmin. “Maryland Dental Bridge.” Kitsap Dental Clinic, kitsapdental.com/maryland-dental-bridge/

“Maryland Bridges- Advantages-Disadvantages-Athens Dental.” Δημήτρης Αντωνίου, 22 Jan. 2018, www.athens-dental.com/en/project/maryland-bridge/

“Types of Dental Bridges: What Type Is Best for Me?” Westcoast International Dental Clinic, 15 Apr. 2020, westcoastinternational.com/5-types-of-dental-bridges.html

“What Are Maryland Dental Bridge Pros and Cons?” CARDS DENTAL, cardsdental.com/maryland-dental-bridge/.

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Updated on: November 2, 2020
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AnnaMarie Houlis
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