What Is a Resin-Bonded Bridge—And Is This the Best Dental Replacement for You?
A dental bridge offers a way to replace one or two missing teeth without the long, expensive treatment process of dental implants. Your general or cosmetic dentistry specialist can advise you on the many different types of bridges available. One such type is the resin-bonded bridge, also called the Maryland bridge.
The resin-bonded bridge has pros and cons that can help you and your dental professionals decide whether this is the right treatment for your case.
Pro: Doesn't Require Filing of Natural Teeth
Tooth-supported bridges, a common type of fixed bridge, involve the dentist shaving down the natural teeth on either side of the missing tooth. The teeth are shaved to make way for dental crowns that are installed to support the suspended artificial tooth. While the tooth-supported bridge is technically reversible, your natural teeth will need to retain the dental crowns to cover up the tooth material lost to the shaving.
The resin-supported bridge doesn't require any dental crowns, so your neighboring natural teeth can remain intact. Your dentist will secure the artificial tooth with two resin wings that bond to the backs of the adjacent teeth with no shaving required. If you decide at a later date to remove the bridge, such as by deciding to upgrade to dental implants, your dentist can remove the wings without any damage to your natural teeth having taken place.
Con: Doesn't Work on Rear Teeth That Perform Grinding
Why would a dentist risk damaging the natural teeth to support the artificial tooth? The tooth-supported bridge setup offers more stability and support for the artificial tooth, which isn't attached to the jawbone underneath so is mainly hanging there as you chew. The added support from the crowns is of particular importance on teeth that take on a lot of grinding bite force, such as the rear molars.
A resin-supported bridge doesn't have adequate support for the artificial tooth to replace a grinding tooth. The bite force will gradually weaken the bridge, and you can risk having the bridge fall out while you try to chew.
Con: Doesn't Promote Jawbone Health
The main selling points of dental implants are the natural feeling while chewing and the fact that the jawbone-inserted root helps promote continued bone health. The natural roots of teeth provide gentle friction that keeps the bone stimulated, and implant roots can mimic that friction. A bridge that sits above the gums won't provide the same benefit.
Opting for a bridge can allow your jawbone health to deteriorate over time. That's fine if you plan to opt for a dental implant as soon as possible, but know that the longer the jawbone goes without stimulation, the more the bone health will degrade.