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What’s a Maryland Bridge and Can it Be Used to Replace a Congenitally Missing Tooth?

Posted on: September 21st, 2022 | Categories: Uncategorized

While dental implants are a great way to replace a missing tooth, sometimes a dental implant is not the right solution for a patient. One cosmetic dental solution for replacing missing teeth without dental implants is a dental bridge. In the front (anterior) of the mouth this bridge is sometimes in the form of what’s called a ‘Maryland Bridge’ (a resin bonded bridge). Here are answers to some questions you may have about Maryland Bridges.

What’s the difference between a Maryland Bridge and a typical bridge?
Maryland Bridges are resin-bonded, which means they are attached to the enamel on the back of the teeth on either side of the gap with a special resin that attaches very well to enamel. Typical dental bridges, on the other hand, require that the teeth on either side of the bridge be shaved down so that the dental bridge can be supported on top of them. This makes the Maryland Bridge a minimally invasive procedure, conserving much of the tooth’s enamel.

When might a Maryland Bridge be used instead of a dental implant or a flipper?
In the case of younger patients who lose a tooth or have a congenitally missing tooth from birth, dental implants cannot be placed since the mouth hasn’t fully developed yet. If these patients want a temporary or semi-permanent solution until they can have a dental implant placed they may choose to have a flipper, a removable retainer with inserts that fill in the gaps where the teeth are missing, as a temporary solution. Many patients find it annoying to deal with the retainer, however, and look for a more permanent solution. For these patients a Maryland Bridge might be the solution.

Can a molar be replaced with a Maryland Bridge?
While Maryland Bridges are a good solution in the aesthetic zone in the front region of the mouth, they don’t function as well in the back (posterior) part of the mouth. For the posterior a more typical bridge or dental implants are needed to replace the tooth.

Where did the Maryland Bridge get its name?
While there are conflicting stories as to the origins of the concept behind the Maryland Bridge. Some attribute it to Dr. Stewart R Halbauer, a dentist in Atlanta, while an article in the Journal of the History of Dentistry shows a record of it being used as early as 1887 by dentist from Trenton, Dr. Allison R. Lawshee. Regardless of who invented it, the technique was popularized by dentists from the University of Maryland in the 1980s, hence the name.

If you are in the Sterling/Leominster area and have any additional questions about replacing missing teeth, whether the teeth are missing congenitally or not, don’t hesitate to contact our dental office in Sterling.

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