The Maryland bridge is a method used to replace a missing tooth, without having to prepare the neighboring teeth.
A Maryland bridge consists of a metal framework with a porcelain tooth connected onto the front of the framework. The framework then ends up as a false tooth with one or two metal wings on the side. These metal wings are prepared to have a porous surface so that they can receive a bonding agent and then the wings are bonded to the back sides of the teeth on either side of the missing tooth.
- Minimal tooth structure needs to be removed.
- Abutment teeth are not damaged. They are basically left intact.
- Because of the conservative nature of the preparaton, the potential for pulpal trauma is minimized.
- Anesthesia is often unnecessary in order to prepare the teeth.
- Less periodontal irritation results in comparison with the conventional bridge
- Problems Associated with a Maryland Bridge
Though it is valuable, Maryland bridge has some problems in regard to the use of metal and the longevity of the bridge bonding.
- It is used only when one tooth is missing
- The teeth are translucent. The metal backing will cause the teeth to darken slightly, so the result is a slghtely different color than the other front teeth. To overcome this problem we design the framework to fit at the palatal portion of the tooth.
- The false tooth is a porcelain fused to metal. This will make it lack the natural translucency and vitality that other teeth have in them.
- There is a tendency of the metal wings to debond, depending on the chewing forces applied on the bridge. Therefore the bridge has to be recemented every few years.
In conclusion: The Maryland bridge has been successful and is used in dentistry for over more than 20 years. The quality and design of the bridge have been proven successful both as a transitional and permanent prosthesis. It can last over ten years if one takes relevant care of it and mantains a good hygiene regime.