A missing tooth greatly impacts your smile, and it can also lead to future problems with your oral health if it's not replaced. Your jawbone requires constant stimulation in order to maintain its bone density, and a gap in your teeth results in an area of your jawbone that's not receiving any force from chewing. As a result, the bone that your missing tooth used to connect to will slowly begin to waste away, and this can result in your other teeth shifting out of position.
Replacing your tooth as soon as possible stops this from happening, and it improves the appearance of your smile as well. One way that you can replace a missing tooth is to get a dental bridge. Bridges replace your missing tooth with an artificial one, and there are a few types of bridges available. One type is the Maryland dental bridge, which is a good option for people who are looking for the least invasive method to replace a missing tooth. To learn more about Maryland bridges along with their advantages and disadvantages compared to traditional bridges, read on.
How Does a Maryland Bridge Differ From a Traditional Dental Bridge?
In a traditional dental bridge, the replacement tooth is connected to two crowns that are placed on the healthy teeth adjacent to your missing tooth. Connecting the replacement teeth to the crowns provides the replacement tooth with stability and helps spread the force of chewing evenly across the three teeth.
Maryland dental bridges, on the other hand, don't need to be connected to crowns. The replacement tooth is connected to a metal abutment behind it that juts out slightly on both sides. The exposed sides of this abutment are bonded to the backs of the teeth adjacent to your missing tooth, which provides the replacement tooth with support and keeps it in place.
What Are the Advantages of Maryland Bridges?
The primary advantage of a Maryland bridge is that you don't need to place crowns on the teeth next to your missing tooth. Placing a crown on a tooth requires removing a small amount of enamel from its surface in order to make space for the crown. Removing enamel can make teeth weaker and more sensitive. Using a Maryland bridge to replace a missing tooth doesn't require any enamel to be removed, which makes it a less invasive option.
Another advantage is that Maryland bridges are easier to keep clean than traditional bridges. Just like with your healthy teeth, it's important to brush and floss your bridge regularly. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to reach the underside of a traditional bridge in order to clean the bottom. The metal abutment of a Maryland bridge is higher up and easier to reach, so keeping it clean is simpler.
What Are the Disadvantages of Maryland Bridges?
Maryland bridges are more noticeable than traditional bridges due to the fact that they contain metal. Since your teeth are slightly transparent, people may be able to see the metal abutment behind your teeth when they view your smile from up close. Traditional bridges don't have any metal, so they avoid this problem.
In addition, Maryland bridges aren't as strong as traditional bridges. Their weak point is the resin that bonds the metal abutment to your teeth. Extreme force can break the bond, which will cause your Maryland bridge to fall out. Because of this, Maryland bridges are often not a good choice to replace a tooth on the sides of your mouth, since these teeth are exposed to much greater force than your front teeth when you're chewing.
Overall, Maryland bridges are a great option for people who want to replace a tooth with a dental appliance that's less invasive than a traditional bridge. However, it's not suitable for every tooth replacement—if your bite is misaligned or if you're replacing a molar, they may be subjected to more force than they can withstand. If you're wondering if you're a candidate for a Maryland dental bridge, schedule an appointment with a dentist in your area for an in-office consultation. Your dentist can gauge whether or not your missing tooth is in a location that makes replacing it with a Maryland dental bridge the best option.
For more information, contact a dentist's office in your area, such as Parkview Dental.