Are you missing teeth and struggling with their impact on oral health and appearance? If so, a dental bridge may be the solution you need.
This restorative dentistry option uses artificial teeth to fill the gap and restore oral function. However, it’s important to note that getting a dental bridge is not simple, and the cost can be high.
In this article, we will explore the different types of dental bridges, the associated costs, and the difference with or without insurance. We will also provide tips on how to save money on your next procedure.
So, whether you’re considering a dental bridge or just curious about this innovative dental technology, keep reading to learn more.
What is Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is a prosthetic device used to fill the gap left by one or more missing teeth. Unlike removable partial dentures, dental bridges are fixed in place and anchored to the natural teeth on either side of the gap.
The pontic, or false tooth, is attached to dental crowns that fit over the abutment teeth, creating a bridge between them.
Overall, dental bridges are an effective way to restore your smile and improve oral health. They can give you the confidence to eat, speak, and smile with ease.
Types of Dental Bridges
Conventional or Traditional Dental Bridge
The traditional method of replacing a missing tooth involves a dental bridge that is secured in place with attached crowns. These crowns may be connected to natural or artificial teeth nearby. This type of bridge is known as a fixed or traditional dental bridge and is the most common.
This procedure can range from $1,800 to $4,500 without insurance, but with 50% insurance coverage, the cost can be reduced to $2,225.
Traditional bridges are usually made of metal, porcelain-fused-to-metal, or ceramics. One downside of traditional fixed dental bridges is the need to place crowns on adjacent natural teeth, which may not have any decay or defect. However, this is necessary for stability.
Dental bridges can be made of ceramic or porcelain, with porcelain being more expensive but giving a more natural look. However, dentists only use porcelain-only dental bridges for front teeth due to their fragility, while metal and porcelain bridges are stronger and better for back teeth.
Cantilever Dental Bridge
The Cantilever dental bridge is a type of bridge that also uses an artificial tooth and a connecting crown, similar to the traditional bridge. However, in this case, the crown is attached to a single natural tooth that is firmly in place.
The cost for this process can range from $2,000 to $5,000 without insurance, but with the right dental insurance, it can be reduced to $1,000 to $2,400.
Cantilever bridges consist of a single support tooth or implant, with the artificial tooth attached to this tooth through a connector known as a cantilever.
Cantilever bridges differ from traditional bridges in that they rely on only one abutment tooth or implant instead of two. As a result, the abutment tooth or implant bears all of the forces during chewing, making it essential that it is sturdy enough to withstand the pressure.
One disadvantage of cantilever bridges is that the abutment tooth may become damaged or dislodged due to the pressure exerted on it while eating.
Maryland Dental Bridge
The Maryland dental bridge is different from traditional or cantilever bridges as it uses metal or ceramic frames to draw support from two adjacent teeth.
This bridge is ideal for those who have missing front teeth and costs around $1,200 to $2,400 on average. However, insurance can reduce the cost to $1,200 with 50% coverage.
The Maryland bridge is less invasive, and there is little need to shave enamel from the natural teeth.
The implant-supported dental bridge is the most durable and reliable solution for missing teeth. This involves placing artificial implants in the gap where the tooth or teeth are missing.
The bridge is then secured to these implants, providing more structural stability than traditional crowns. However, due to the complexity of the procedure, implant-supported bridges are generally more expensive than other types of bridges.
For example, a porcelain pontic with a strong implant can cost up to $15,000 without dental insurance. However, insurance can reduce costs to $7,000 or $8,000, resulting in significant savings.
Your dentist will surgically place a metal dental implant in your jawbone where a tooth is missing to support the bridge. This option is usually recommended if you’re missing several teeth in a row and is the most expensive option.
Why You Need Dental Bridges
Regaining the benefits you lost with missing teeth can be achieved by getting a dental bridge. Here are some important reasons why your dentist may recommend one:
- Restore your ability to chew and accommodate food in your mouth properly.
- Eliminate small speech impediments caused by missing teeth.
- Regain the original shape and definition of your face.
- Restore the attractiveness of your smile.
- Prevent stress and pain in the gums where teeth are missing.
- Improve on issues from a previous dental bridge.
If you have healthy, natural teeth on either side of a gap from a missing tooth or teeth, your dentist may suggest a dental bridge.
Without treatment, an adjacent tooth can shift into the space, causing problems such as bite issues, chewing difficulties, pain from excess stress on your teeth and jaw, and concerns about the appearance of your smile.
Dental bridges are a cost-effective alternative to dentures and a great way to prevent further dental issues.
What criteria must be met to receive a dental bridge?
Although bridges can effectively replace missing teeth, they may not always be the best option for everyone. When determining whether a dental bridge is a suitable tooth replacement option for a patient, dentists consider several factors, including:
- The number of missing teeth: While bridges can replace one or more missing teeth, they may not be the best choice for a full-mouth reconstruction, which may require implants or dentures instead.
- The condition of the remaining teeth: To qualify for a dental bridge, it’s important that the surrounding teeth are healthy and strong enough to support the bridge.
- The overall state of dental health: Good oral health and healthy gums are essential for dental bridge candidates.
- Oral hygiene habits: Proper oral hygiene is crucial for those with dental bridges to prevent bacterial buildup and potential infection.
- Overall health: Certain health conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, or autoimmune diseases, may disqualify a patient from being a good candidate for dental bridges.
After reviewing a patient’s health history, their dentist can determine whether or not they qualify for a dental bridge.
How Much Does a Dental Bridge Cost Without Insurance?
The cost of getting a dental bridge depends on various factors, such as the type of bridge required and the materials used. If you have no insurance, you can expect to pay anywhere from several hundred to a few thousand dollars for a dental bridge.
- Traditional: $1,500 to $5,000 per pontic and dental crowns for each abutment tooth.
- Cantilever: $2,000 to $2,700
- Maryland: $1,500 to $2,500 for one pontic with the framework attached to the adjacent natural teeth
- Implant-Supported: $5,000 to $15,000 for a bridge, two dental implants spanning 3-4 teeth.
Dental insurance may cover up to 50% of the cost of a dental bridge, but this is subject to waiting periods and annual maximums.
Therefore, it is recommended to secure a dedicated dental insurance plan to receive the best coverage for major procedures like dental bridges.
How Much Does a Dental Bridge Cost With Insurance?
Not all dental procedures are covered by insurance plans, and those that are covered may have varying coverage rates.
For example, basic procedures like annual check-ups may be eligible for 100% coverage, while major treatments like dental bridges may only be covered up to 50%.
While this may not seem like a substantial amount, it can make a significant difference in your final bill.
It’s important to carefully read your dental insurance policy to understand the specific coverage and requirements.
For example, some insurance companies may require you to have the plan for a certain amount of time before being eligible for certain treatments.
There may be a limit on the number of treatments covered in a certain period. Additionally, there may be an annual maximum benefit that limits how much the insurance will cover.
It’s worth noting that even though bridges can be considered necessary dental appliances, insurance coverage varies depending on several factors.
To ensure coverage for major dental procedures such as dental bridges, it is important to have a dental insurance plan that includes them and to be familiar with any waiting periods and annual maximums that may apply.
Checking the maximum benefit on your plan before purchasing can also help determine if a dental bridge will be covered. Access to the right dental plan can help reduce unexpected expenses and provide peace of mind for your dental health.
What are the Alternatives to a Dental Bridge?
If a dental bridge is not a suitable option for you, other treatments can fill the gap created by missing teeth. These include full dentures, partial dentures, and dental implants, each of which can serve as a viable alternative to a bridge.
Your dentist will help you determine if dentures are a better option for you based on the condition of your remaining teeth. Dentures may be a suitable alternative if your remaining teeth are not strong enough to support a bridge.
The cost of dentures depends on the type you need, with full dentures costing around $1,800 and partial dentures costing around $1,500. Remember that dentures are removable and may be difficult to keep in place.
While dental implants are more costly than bridges or dentures, they permanently replace a tooth and its root. A single implant costs around $4,800, with a full mouth restoration potentially costing more than $40,000.
Implants are made of titanium and surgically placed into the jawbone, making them an ideal option when the surrounding teeth are not strong enough to support a bridge. They are also long-lasting and blend in with your natural teeth.
Are dental bridges permanent?
There are various dental bridges anchored in place and designed to last 5 to 15 years or even longer.
Occasionally, people refer to partial dentures that are held in position by metal clasps as “removable dental bridges,” but these are not permanent solutions.
Is getting a dental bridge worth it?
A dental bridge can be a good option to restore your mouth and improve oral health. While it may not be as permanent as dental implants, it is often less expensive and more comfortable than dentures.
However, dentures may be a better choice if you are looking for the most affordable option or need to replace many missing teeth. It’s important to remember that dentures can be more difficult to keep in place and require removal for cleaning.
Dental bridges are an important restorative dental procedure that can improve chewing and speaking abilities, promote better oral health, and enhance the appearance of your smile.
However, the type of dental bridge you can afford may depend on your dental insurance coverage. If you have dental insurance, you may be able to lower your out-of-pocket costs.
For those without insurance, a dental discount plan may help make the procedure more affordable. Additionally, there may be free or low-cost options available.