My Maryland bridge is 15 years old, but until recently, it was intact. I agreed with my dentist to replace two crowns on the top left side of my mouth. I grind my teeth, so the crowns were worn and looked rugged. I got new crowns three weeks ago, and when I got home, I noticed a silver line showing through the bridge tooth. My dentist covered the silver line with composite and said that I should probably get the bridge replaced. He did agree that he might have nicked the bridge tooth while adjusting my bite, but he also said that my teeth grinding more likely caused the streak. How could teeth grinding cause a line? Today, I see the silver line again on the bridge tooth. So, I probably will get it replaced. What’s the point of having two new crowns with another damaged tooth flashing a silver streak? I’m wondering if my dentist should pay for this, though. Should I ask? Thank you. Wesley from Andover, MD
For our readers: A Maryland bridge is a type of tooth replacement. Replacement teeth are in the center, and wings, or extensions, on each end of the bridge attach to the back of adjacent teeth. See the photo on this page.
Thank you for choosing our office for your question.
Dr. Cha would need to examine your Maryland bridge to see its condition. But you realize that your bridge tooth did not have a silver line before your dentist replaced your crowns and adjusted your bite. So yes, you should ask your dentist to restore or replace the bridge tooth at no charge.
Asking Your Dentist to Pay for Your Damaged Crown
You can ask your dentist to pay for the bridge tooth directly, but you may want to prepare an explanation. We suggest finding an experienced cosmetic dentist to examine your Maryland bridge. The dentist who examines it can do the following:
- Tell if teeth grinding caused the streak on the bridge tooth
- Determine if a dental instrument scratched the surface
- Give you documentation on the cause of damage to the surface
You can return to your dentist with the second opinion document and ask for a refund or if he will pay for getting your bridge restored or replaced.
Restoring a Crown without Replacing the Maryland Bridge
Perhaps a highly skilled cosmetic dentist can conceal the damage to the tooth of the bridge without replacing the entire bridge. One method includes these steps:
- Grind some of the metal to make room for dental bonding cement
- Etch the metal with a micro-etcher
- Prime the metal with a thin layer of opaque cement that bonds to metal
- Cure the cement
- Place composite over the cement
- Shape and polish the composite
Patient cases differ, so an advanced cosmetic dentist will need to examine your bridge and determine if they can save it.
Schedule an appointment with an accredited cosmetic dentist or one with extensive post-graduate training in cosmetic dentistry.
Dr. Jerome Cha, a Tulsa, OK accredited cosmetic dentist, sponsors this post.