Dental bridges are an effective way to replace missing teeth and restore the look, feel and function of your mouth.
Learn about the different types of bridges available to replace a single or multiple lost teeth, as well as the cost and other factors associated with this restorative dental procedure.
Table of Contents
What is a Dental Bridge and How It Look Like?
A dental bridge is an artificial tooth, or “pontic”, which is used to fill in the gap of one or more missing teeth. This pontic is typically flanked by two crowns on either side and cemented securely into place. Bridges can be made from a variety of materials such as porcelain, gold, alloys, and zirconia.
A dental bridge consists of two crowns:
- Abutment teeth: They are custom-made to fit on the natural teeth or dental implants on either side of the gap.
- Pontics: In the middle is a false tooth (or teeth), known as pontics, that fills in the gap and attaches to the crowns.
1. Traditional Dental Bridge
A traditional dental bridge consists two or more crowns that are attached to the natural teeth or implants on either side of gap caused by a missing tooth.
The false tooth, also known as a pontic, is held in place by these crowns and fills the space between them. Traditional bridges are durable and long-lasting, but can require adjustment over time.
2. Cantilever Dental Bridge
A cantilever bridge is used when there are only abutment teeth on one side of the missing tooth gap. One or more false teeth can be attached to the crown, which is then secured to the adjacent abutment tooth.
Cantilever bridges are less expensive than traditional bridges and can often be completed in a shorter amount of time.
However, due to the cantilever design, these types of bridges may not be as strong or stable as traditional bridges.
3. Maryland Bonded Bridges (Resin-Bonded Bridges)
Maryland bonded bridges, also known as resin-bonded bridges, are a more affordable option to dental bridge work. Also called Maryland bridges, these are not permanent and do not require any tooth removal.
They use metal or porcelain wings that are bonded to the abutment crowns on either side of the gap and the false teeth in between them.
The wings provide support for both the false tooth and the crowns making them less likely to come loose.
4. Implant-Supported Bridge
Implant-supported bridges are considered one of the most stable and secure options for replacing missing teeth. An implant-supported bridge is held in place by an abutment that is attached to an implant.
The implant, which is made of titanium, acts like a replacement tooth root and integrates with your jawbone over time.
This type of bridge offers excellent stability and strength and can often be used to replace more than one missing tooth if a single dental implant would not otherwise be strong enough.
The procedure typically consists of two surgeries: one to insert the implants into the jawbone, and a second to attach the bridge. Although the entire process may take several months, it is often worth the wait due to its reliability and longevity.
5. Overdenture Bridges (Removable Prosthesis)
An overdenture bridge is a removable dental prosthesis that is used to replace missing teeth. These bridges can either be created from metal and acrylic or all-acrylic, and feature dentures that are held in place with clasps and/or precision attachments.
They generally last between 5-7 years, meaning they may need to be replaced more often than options like an implant-supported bridge.
How Much Does a Dental Bridge Cost?
When it comes to the cost of a dental bridge, there are numerous factors that influence the price. These can include the following:
- The number of teeth needed to fill the gap
- Materials used (like composite resin or metal alloy covered in resin)
- Country where you intend to go for the dental procedures
- Complexity/difficulty of placement
- Other treatments that may be required due to related dental issues
The type of bridge you choose will also affect the final price.
- Traditional or cantilever bridges usually cost anywhere from $2,000 – $5,000 for one pontic and a crown for each abutment tooth;
- Maryland bridges typically have a price range of $1,500 – $2,500;
- An implant-supported bridge could set you back between $5,000 – $15,000 for two implants spanning three or four teeth.
Dental Bridge or Dental Implant?
When choosing between a dental bridge and a dental implant, there are several factors to consider. Insurance coverage is one of them; while many policies may cover a bridge, implants may be covered as well.
Dental bridges tend to need replacement every 5-15 years, compared to implants which are permanent solutions. Both types of dental treatment can be affected by age and overall oral hygiene habits.
What Are the Procedures Steps of a Dental Bridge?
Traditional dental bridges typically require two appointments to complete. During the first appointment, the dentist will prepare the abutment teeth by removing some of the enamel and dentin to make room for crown installation.
The provider will also take impressions to create a model for the bridge, false teeth, and crowns in a laboratory.
Afterward, during the second appointment, the permanent bridge is placed and adjusted to ensure a comfortable fit.
Benefits of a Dental Bridge
A dental bridge can offer many benefits to individuals who are missing teeth. These advantages can include:
- Restoring the appearance of a smile
- Regaining the ability to properly chew and speak
- Maintaining facial shape
- Redistributing force when eating
- Preventing remaining teeth from moving out of position
- Bridges are more affordable than implants
- A dental bridge is more secure than dentures
- Dental bridges look and feel more realistic than dentures
- A dental bridge doesn’t require surgery
Disadvantages of Dental Bridges
Dental bridges can come with a few downsides.
- Firstly, in order to place traditional or cantilever bridges, surrounding healthy teeth may need to be filed down and altered.
- Bridges also don’t fix bone loss, while implants do.
- Lastly, bridges tend to not be as long-lasting as dental implants.
Missing teeth can be replaced using dental bridges, but it is important to speak to your trusted dentist about the pros and cons of this option. Your dentist can discuss various factors — including cost — that should be factored into your decision-making process before committing to any treatment plan.