What is a Maryland Bridge? Cost, Procedure, Pros & Cons

What is a Maryland Bridge? Cost, Procedure, Pros & Cons

Imagine this: you’re enjoying a delicious meal with friends, laughing and savoring every bite. For example, you could be indulging in an esthetic dining experience, appreciating the beautiful presentation of the food. The laughter and enjoyment are shared with others, creating a lively and enjoyable atmosphere. On the side, you may also be relishing the company of your friends, enhancing the overall experience.

But as you take a bite of your favorite dish, you suddenly feel a gap between your intact teeth, specifically the adjacent tooth, which is supposed to be an abutment tooth for your dental bridge. Your confidence in the frame wavers, and the cost of the moment fades away on the side. Missing teeth can be a real downer, affecting not only your appearance but also your self-esteem. If you have a false tooth or dental bridge, it can help restore your smile and boost your confidence. These solutions provide a natural-looking replacement for missing teeth, filling the gaps in your gums and preserving the underlying bone.

But worry not! There’s a solution that can restore both your smile and confidence: the Maryland Bridge. It is a dental procedure that can effectively improve the appearance of your gums using zirconia material. The process involves minimal tooth prep and is safe to use. Zirconia is a dental marvel specifically designed to replace missing teeth, offering a minimally invasive alternative to traditional bridges. It is used as a prep for the procedure.

A Maryland bridge consists of a zirconia, metal, or porcelain framework bonded discreetly to the back of adjacent teeth, providing excellent support for the replacement tooth or teeth. This zirconia framework is commonly used in dental bridges. It’s like having your own natural teeth back again!

With its seamless integration and comfortable fit, it’s no wonder that Maryland bridges have become such a popular choice among patients seeking an effective tooth replacement option. The use of Maryland bridges provides a seamless and comfortable fit for patients in need of an effective tooth replacement. Say goodbye to gaps in your smile and hello to renewed confidence with the use of a dental bridge!

Advantages of Maryland bridges

Maryland bridges offer several advantages over traditional bridges. These unique dental prosthetics provide an alternative solution for replacing missing teeth without the need to remove healthy tooth structure. Let’s explore some key benefits of Maryland bridges in more detail:

No removal of healthy tooth structure

One significant advantage of Maryland bridges is that they do not require the removal of healthy tooth structure. Unlike traditional bridges, which involve reshaping and crowning adjacent teeth to support the bridge, Maryland bridges rely on a different approach. Instead, dental bridges utilize bonding techniques to attach a dental bridge pontic (artificial tooth) to the backside of adjacent teeth using metal or porcelain wings.

This conservative approach helps preserve the integrity and strength of your natural teeth while still providing a stable and aesthetic replacement for missing teeth.

Conservative bonding technique

Maryland bridges offer a more conservative option compared to traditional bridges that rely on crowning adjacent teeth. By utilizing bonding techniques, these bridges minimize the impact on neighboring teeth while still ensuring proper functionality and aesthetics.

The process involves creating small channels or grooves on the backside of adjacent teeth where the wings can be bonded securely. The pontic is then attached to these wings, creating a seamless restoration that blends with your natural smile.

Quick and less invasive procedure

Getting a Maryland bridge typically involves a quicker and less invasive procedure compared to other options like implants or conventional fixed bridges. Since there is no need for extensive reshaping or crowning of neighboring teeth, the preparation phase is relatively straightforward.

During the procedure, your dentist will carefully prepare the abutment teeth by lightly etching their surfaces before applying an adhesive material. The wings are then bonded to these prepared areas, securing the bridge in place.

The minimal invasiveness and simplicity of this process often result in reduced chair time and faster recovery periods for patients.

Disadvantages of Maryland bridges

Maryland bridges, while a popular choice for certain dental restorations, do come with their fair share of disadvantages. It’s important to consider these drawbacks before opting for this type of bridge.

Lower strength and durability

One significant disadvantage of Maryland bridges is that they may not offer the same level of strength and durability as traditional bridges. Unlike conventional bridges that rely on crowns or implants for support, Maryland bridges are held in place by metal or porcelain wings bonded to the back of adjacent teeth. While this design allows for a more conservative approach by preserving the natural structure of neighboring teeth, it also means that the overall strength and longevity of the bridge may be compromised.

Unsuitability for molars and high biting forces

Another drawback is that Maryland bridges are generally not recommended for replacing molars or areas with high biting forces. These types of bridges work best in situations where there is minimal stress on the restoration. The adhesive bonding used to attach the wings can be susceptible to damage from excessive chewing pressure, potentially leading to dislodgment or failure over time. Therefore, if you require a bridge in an area with substantial biting force, alternative options such as traditional fixed bridges or dental implants may be more suitable.

Dependence on supporting teeth

The success rate of Maryland bridges heavily relies on the strength and health of the supporting teeth. Since these bridges rely on adjacent teeth for support rather than implants or crowns, it is crucial that those neighboring teeth are robust enough to withstand the additional load placed upon them. If the supporting teeth have existing issues like decay, fractures, or inadequate structural integrity, it could compromise both their own health and the stability of the bridge itself.

To summarize:

  • The strength and durability of Maryland bridges may be lower compared to traditional bridges due to their design.
  • They may not be suitable for replacing molars or areas with high biting forces.
  • The success rate of Maryland bridges depends on the strength and health of the supporting teeth.

It’s essential to consult with a dental professional who can evaluate your specific needs and provide guidance on whether a Maryland bridge is the right choice for you. Understanding these disadvantages will help ensure that you make an informed decision about your dental restoration options.

Comparison with traditional dental bridges

Traditional dental bridges and Maryland bridges are both popular options for tooth replacement. However, they differ in the way they are constructed and the level of tooth preparation required. Understanding the differences between these two types of dental bridges can help you make an informed decision about which option is best for you.

Traditional dental bridges involve crowning adjacent teeth, while Maryland bridges rely on bonding.

One key distinction between traditional dental bridges and Maryland bridges lies in how they are attached to your natural teeth. Traditional bridges require the neighboring teeth to be crowned or capped with a prosthetic tooth suspended between them. This method provides excellent strength and stability, making it suitable for replacing missing molars or back teeth that experience significant chewing forces.

On the other hand, Maryland bridges rely on bonding to attach a prosthetic tooth directly to the back of adjacent natural teeth using metal or porcelain wings. This technique eliminates the need for crowning neighboring teeth, preserving their original structure and reducing potential damage caused by extensive tooth preparation.

Traditional bridges provide higher strength and stability but require more extensive tooth preparation.

While Maryland bridges offer a conservative approach that minimizes alteration of healthy teeth, traditional dental bridges provide superior strength due to their design. By crowning adjacent abutment teeth, traditional bridge structures distribute biting forces evenly across multiple supporting teeth, ensuring long-term durability.

However, this increased strength comes at a cost: more extensive tooth preparation. To create room for crowns on neighboring teeth, some enamel needs to be removed from those teeth. This irreversible process may weaken otherwise healthy natural teeth and necessitate future restoration procedures if the bridge fails or requires replacement.

Both types have their advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to consult with your dentist.

When considering tooth replacement options like dental implants or dentures, understanding the pros and cons of different bridge types is crucial. Here’s a summary of key points regarding traditional dental bridges versus Maryland bridges:

Traditional dental bridges:

  • Provide higher strength and stability
  • Require crowning adjacent teeth
  • Involve more extensive tooth preparation
  • Suitable for replacing molars or back teeth

Maryland bridges:

  • Rely on bonding without crowning adjacent teeth
  • Preserve the original structure of neighboring natural teeth
  • Offer a conservative approach with minimal tooth alteration
  • May not be as strong as traditional bridges

Ultimately, the choice between a traditional dental bridge and a Maryland bridge depends on various factors such as the location of missing teeth, overall oral health, and personal preferences. It’s essential to consult with your dentist who can evaluate your specific situation and guide you towards the most suitable tooth replacement option.

Who is a good candidate for a Maryland bridge?

Patients who want to replace missing front teeth without compromising healthy adjacent teeth are ideal candidates for a Maryland bridge. This dental restoration option offers an effective solution for individuals with sufficient enamel and strong supporting teeth. It is particularly suitable for those seeking a less invasive alternative to traditional dental bridgework.

Several factors come into play. One of the primary considerations is the desire to replace missing front teeth while preserving the integrity of neighboring teeth. Unlike conventional bridges that require grinding down adjacent teeth, Maryland bridges rely on resin or metal wings bonded to the back of existing teeth for support.

People with sufficient enamel and strong supporting teeth are well-suited for this type of dental restoration. The strength and stability of the surrounding teeth play a crucial role in ensuring the long-term success of a Maryland bridge. These bridges rely on the neighboring natural teeth to bear some of the load when biting and chewing, so it’s important that they can withstand these forces without causing damage.

Another key factor in determining candidacy is whether someone prefers a less invasive treatment option. Traditional dental bridgework typically involves reshaping adjacent healthy teeth to accommodate crowns or caps that hold the artificial tooth in place. In contrast, Maryland bridges offer an alternative that requires minimal alteration of existing teeth.

Here are some examples of people who may be good candidates for a Maryland bridge:

  1. Young adults or teenagers who have lost their front teeth due to trauma or accidents but have otherwise healthy adjacent teeth.
  2. Individuals with naturally strong and sturdy supporting teeth in close proximity to the missing tooth/teeth.
  3. Patients looking for an aesthetic solution that provides seamless integration with their natural smile.
  4. People who prefer conservative treatments that preserve as much natural tooth structure as possible.
  5. Those seeking quick results since Maryland bridges can often be placed within just one or two appointments.

The Procedure for Getting a Maryland Bridge

To understand what a Maryland bridge is, it’s important to know the procedure involved in getting one. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you understand the process:

Assessing Eligibility and Oral Health

The first step in getting a Maryland bridge is visiting your dentist. During this initial consultation, your dentist will assess your oral health and determine if you’re eligible for the procedure. They will examine the condition of your teeth and evaluate whether a Maryland bridge is suitable for your needs.

Preparing the Abutment Teeth

If you are deemed eligible for a Maryland bridge, the next step involves preparing the abutment teeth. These are the adjacent teeth on either side of the gap where your missing tooth used to be. To ensure a secure fit, minimal enamel from these abutment teeth will be removed by your dentist.

After preparing the abutment teeth, impressions will be taken. These impressions serve as molds that allow dental technicians to create a custom-made Maryland bridge that fits perfectly in your mouth.

Temporary Bridge Placement

While waiting for the permanent Maryland bridge to be fabricated at a dental laboratory, your dentist may place a temporary bridge over the prepared abutment teeth. This temporary solution helps protect the exposed area and allows you to maintain proper functionality while awaiting completion of the permanent bridge.

Custom-Made Permanent Bridge

Once your dental laboratory completes fabricating your custom-made Maryland bridge, it will be time for its placement. Your dentist will remove the temporary bridge (if one was placed) and carefully attach and bond the permanent one onto the prepared abutment teeth.

Final Adjustments and Care Instructions

After securing the permanent Maryland bridge in place, your dentist will make any necessary adjustments to ensure proper fit and comfort. They may check how it affects your bite alignment and make minor modifications if needed.

To maintain optimal oral health with your newly placed Maryland bridge, your dentist will provide you with specific care instructions. These instructions may include proper brushing and flossing techniques, the use of special dental tools, and regular check-ups to monitor the condition of your bridge.

By following these guidelines and maintaining good oral hygiene practices, you can ensure the longevity of your Maryland bridge and enjoy a restored smile.

Alternatives to Maryland bridges

Dental implants

Dental implants are an excellent alternative for patients seeking a more permanent tooth replacement option. Unlike Maryland bridges, which rely on adjacent teeth for support, dental implants are surgically placed into the jawbone, providing a stable foundation for the artificial tooth. This innovative solution offers several advantages:

  • Long-lasting: With proper care and maintenance, dental implants can last a lifetime, making them an appealing choice for those looking for a durable tooth replacement option.
  • Natural appearance: The implant-supported crown closely resembles natural teeth in both look and function. It seamlessly blends with the surrounding teeth, enhancing your smile’s aesthetics.
  • Improved oral health: Unlike Maryland bridges that require alteration of adjacent teeth, dental implants preserve the integrity of neighboring healthy teeth. They also stimulate the jawbone, preventing bone loss and maintaining facial structure.

Removable partial dentures

For individuals who prefer a removable solution, removable partial dentures can be considered as an alternative to Maryland bridges. These dentures consist of replacement teeth attached to a pink or gum-colored plastic base that matches your natural gum tissue. Here are some benefits of choosing removable partial dentures:

  • Affordable: Removable partial dentures tend to be more cost-effective than other alternatives like dental implants or traditional bridges.
  • Easy maintenance: Cleaning and maintaining these dentures is relatively simple. You can remove them at night for cleaning and soak them in a denture cleaner solution.
  • Versatility: Removable partial dentures can replace multiple missing teeth while allowing you to retain any remaining healthy natural teeth.

Traditional dental bridges

Traditional dental bridges provide another viable option if the adjacent teeth require crowning due to decay or damage. These bridges consist of artificial teeth (pontics) held in place by crowns attached to the adjacent healthy teeth. Consider these advantages when contemplating traditional dental bridges:

  • Stability: By utilizing adjacent crowned teeth as anchors, traditional bridges offer stability and support for the replacement tooth.
  • Efficient procedure: The process of getting a traditional dental bridge is relatively quick and straightforward, requiring minimal invasive procedures.
  • Restored functionality: Traditional bridges restore your ability to chew and speak properly while improving the appearance of your smile.

Understanding the benefits of Maryland bridges

Maryland bridges offer several advantages that make them a popular choice for dental restoration. Firstly, they are a conservative option as they require minimal alteration to the adjacent teeth. This means that more of your natural tooth structure is preserved, resulting in a healthier smile overall. Maryland bridges are less invasive than traditional dental bridges, making them a comfortable and convenient solution for those seeking tooth replacement.

But it doesn’t stop there! Maryland bridges also provide excellent aesthetics by blending seamlessly with your natural teeth. The metal or porcelain framework is hidden behind the teeth, giving you a natural-looking smile without any noticeable metal clasps or attachments. Furthermore, these bridges are relatively quick to place compared to other restorative options, allowing you to enjoy your restored smile sooner.

If you’re considering a Maryland bridge, consult with your dentist to determine if you’re an ideal candidate for this treatment. Remember, maintaining good oral hygiene practices and regular dental check-ups will help ensure the longevity of your bridge. Don’t hesitate to take the next step towards restoring your smile and reclaiming your confidence!


What is the average lifespan of a Maryland bridge?

The average lifespan of a Maryland bridge can vary depending on various factors such as oral hygiene habits and bite forces exerted during eating. However, with proper care and maintenance, a well-placed Maryland bridge can last anywhere from 5 to 15 years.

Can I eat normally with a Maryland bridge?

Yes! One of the advantages of Maryland bridges is that they allow you to eat normally without major restrictions. However, it’s advisable to avoid excessively hard or sticky foods that could potentially damage or dislodge the bridge.

Will getting a Maryland bridge be painful?

The procedure for getting a Maryland bridge typically involves minimal discomfort as it does not require extensive preparation of the adjacent teeth like traditional bridges do. Your dentist may use local anesthesia during the placement process to ensure your comfort.

Can a Maryland bridge be replaced if needed?

Yes, a Maryland bridge can be replaced if necessary. However, it’s important to consult with your dentist to assess the condition of the existing bridge and determine the most appropriate course of action.

Are there any alternatives to Maryland bridges?

Yes, there are alternative options for tooth replacement, such as dental implants or traditional dental bridges. Each option has its own advantages and considerations, so it’s essential to discuss with your dentist which solution is best suited for your specific needs and circumstances.

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