Maryland Bonded Bridges
A Maryland bonded bridge is a minimally invasive alternative to a traditional dental bridge, as it does not require extensive modification to neighboring healthy teeth. Developed by researchers at the University of Maryland, this bridge features one or more artificial teeth (pontics) and two small wings. Wings are made of a tooth-colored resin material, so they can attach to the backside of adjacent teeth without affecting the aesthetics of your smile. Typically these restorations are used to replace a single missing tooth. However, Maryland bonded bridges can replace two or more teeth in qualifying cases.
Bridge Design and Placement
The Maryland bonded bridge traditionally featured metal wings and porcelain pontics. Although sturdy, the metal caused the enamel to appear darker and teeth to take on gray tint. Today, the wings are composed of a custom-colored composite resin for more realistic results. To secure the bridge, the supporting teeth are chemically etched to create a strong bond between the wings and teeth. The bridge is then secured with a biocompatible bonding agent.
Who Is a Candidate?
You may be a candidate for a Maryland bonded bridge if you have one to three consecutive missing teeth. To qualify, the teeth on either side of the gap should be healthy and sturdy enough to support the bridge. Your dentist will examine your teeth and gums using x-ray technology to determine whether this form of treatment is right for you.
Traditional Bridges vs. Maryland Bonded Bridges
A fixed bridge features one or more pontics nestled between two dental crowns. These restorations are secured to remaining healthy teeth, known as abutment teeth, on either side of the gap. To create sufficient space for a traditional crown, neighboring teeth must be reshaped. As abutment teeth are altered, this procedure is considered irreversible. If teeth are uncovered, patients can experience significant dental sensitivity and have difficulty eating properly.
With Maryland bonded bridges, remaining teeth are not extensively reshaped, so you can maintain more natural, healthy tissue.
Maryland bonded bridges, however, require minimal alteration to the enamel of adjacent teeth. If ever you want to remove the bridge, a dentist can do so without causing long-term damage.