Bridging the Gap

By Catherine M. Fascilla, D.D.S.

If you’ve ever lost a tooth and have been reluctant to undergo further dental treatment to replace it, you may be interested in an alternative to an implant, a removable partial denture or extensive bridgework. A Maryland bridge or a hugger bridge can be a simple, inexpensive way for you to replace a missing tooth with less time spent in the dental chair and very little drilling!

The Maryland Bridge is a single, replacement tooth constructed from extra- strong chrome-cobalt metal and covered with natural looking porcelain. Thin metal wings are bonded to the tongue-side of the healthy teeth on either side of the space (see the diagram). The hugger bridge is designed similarly to the Maryland bridge but is made of acrylic. It has no metal framework.

Attaching these types of bridges to your natural teeth in this manner means there is little or no alteration to the teeth onto which these bridges are bonded. The supporting teeth are not cut or capped as with a conventional bridge. These bridges are permanently bonded so there is no need for removal like a partial denture.

Of course, a Maryland bridge or hugger bridge isn’t the answer to every missing tooth. The surrounding teeth used for support must be healthy and strong and the gap can not be too wide. If you are a good candidate, these types of bridges are a comfortable, economical alternative.

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