You’re probably wondering how much a dental bridge costs if your dentist recommends it as a suitable option to replace your missing teeth. On average, dental bridges cost between $1,500 and well over $15,000. But what exactly determines how much you will be paying for your treatment?
This article comprehensively explores the cost of dental bridges and highlights important aspects, including:
- Understanding the concept of dental bridges and how they work;
- Determining the cost of dental bridges;
- Highlighting the factors affecting the cost of dental bridges;
- How to manage the cost of dental bridges;
- Exploring alternatives to dental bridges.
Understanding Dental Bridges
There are numerous options that come to mind whenever you want to restore the missing natural teeth in your mouth. Out of these options (which we will highlight later), dental bridges stand out as one of the most popular choices. They are more effective than some options, last longer than others, and require a less invasive procedure than some options, such as implants.
To understand and determine the exact cost of these dental products, it would be prudent first to understand what they are and how they work.
Dental bridges are prosthetic devices designed to close up a gap developed due to one or more missing teeth. Their primary purpose is to restore the appearance and function of your smile while also maintaining the integrity of your dental arch.
Bridges are firmly anchored in place, unlike removable dentures, making them a more stable and permanent solution for tooth replacement.
Structure of a Dental Bridge
Dental bridges have three main components, all playing different important roles. They include:
- Abutment teeth: Abutment teeth are the healthy natural teeth on either side of the gap and serve as anchors for the bridge.
- Pontic: The pontic is the artificial tooth or teeth that replace the missing ones. The pontic is typically made from materials like porcelain or metal alloys, chosen for their natural appearance and durability.
- Crown: Crowns are placed on the abutment teeth to provide support for the pontic. Dental crowns are custom-made to fit snugly over the abutment teeth, ensuring stability.
Why Should You Get Dental Bridges?
One of the main reasons to get dental bridges is to enhance the appearance of your smile. Bridges are made to match the shape, color, and alignment of your natural teeth, making them more aesthetically pleasing.
However, dental bridges have a functional significance beyond their cosmetic benefits. Some of the functional benefits of dental bridges include:
- Restoration of chewing function: Missing teeth can hinder your ability to chew properly. Dental bridges restore this function, allowing you to enjoy a wide range of foods comfortably.
- Speech improvement: Did you know that gaps in your teeth can cause speech problems? Fortunately, bridges fill these gaps, helping you speak clearly and confidently.
- Maintaining dental alignment: Gaps left by missing teeth can lead to neighboring teeth shifting or tilting over time. Dental bridges prevent this by maintaining the alignment of surrounding teeth.
How Do Dental Bridges Work?
As we mentioned before, dental bridges work by ‘bridging’ the gap left by missing natural teeth. They bridge this gap using an artificial tooth anchored to the neighboring natural teeth. Getting a dental bridge is a fairly simple procedure that requires at least two to three dental visits.
Here are some of the main steps you may have to undergo:
- Initial consultation: The process begins with an initial consultation with your dentist, who examines your oral health, assesses the condition of your missing teeth and the neighboring teeth, and discusses your options for tooth replacement.
- Preparation of the abutment: Should you be deemed a good candidate for dental bridges, the next visit involves preparing the abutment teeth. This step usually requires removing a small amount of enamel from the abutment teeth to accommodate the crowns placed over them. Impressions of your teeth will be taken during this visit for the fabrication of the custom bridge.
- Temporary bridge placement: You may get a temporary bridge installed in the meantime, mainly to offer protection on the abutment and gums before the placement of the permanent prosthetics.
- Fitting and adjustment: Once the custom bridge is fabricated, you will return to the dentist for the fitting and adjustment of the bridge. The dentist will ensure that the bridge fits comfortably and functions correctly.
- Permanent placement: After making necessary adjustments, the final step involves cementing the permanent bridge.
Types of Dental Bridges
There are four different types of dental bridges that you may consider, each with unique features and pricing points. Depending on your preferences or needs, here are the four most common types of dental bridges that you may consider:
- Traditional bridges
Traditional dental bridges consist of two crowns placed on the teeth on either side of the gap and a pontic in between. These crowns serve as anchors, securing the pontic in place.
- Cantilever bridges
These are similar to traditional bridges but differ in how they are anchored.
Instead of having abutments on both sides of the gap, a cantilever bridge uses a single abutment tooth for support. This type of bridge is typically used when only one natural tooth is neighboring the gap.
- Maryland bridges
Also known as resin-bonded bridges, they are a conservative option for replacing missing front teeth.
Instead of crowns, these bridges use a porcelain or metal framework bonded to the backs of the nearby teeth. A pontic is attached to the framework to fill the gap.
- Implant-supported bridges
Implant-supported bridges are secured in place by dental implants, which are surgically placed into the jawbone. These implants act as artificial tooth roots, which offer better stability and other benefits, such as preventing bone loss.
Choosing the right type of dental bridge depends on various factors, including the number of missing teeth, the location of the gap, your overall oral health, and your budget.
Nevertheless, it is important for you to consult with a qualified dentist or prosthodontist who can assess your specific needs and recommend the most suitable bridge option for your situation.
Calculating the Cost of a Dental Bridge
A dental bridge costs between $1,500 and $16,000. However, this is just ballpark pricing, as each patient can get a unique price tag for their treatment. Several factors can impact the total cost of dental bridge treatment, including:
The type of dental bridge
The type of dental bridge you choose plays a significant role in determining the cost. Traditional bridges tend to be more affordable, while implant-supported bridges are typically more expensive due to the surgical component involved.
So, how much does a dental bridge cost without insurance? Here’s a quick table showing a summary of the expected cost of dental bridges based on the type of bridge:
|Type of Dental Bridge||Average Cost Range|
|Implant-supported bridges||$4,000 -$16,000|
The materials used in your dental bridge can significantly impact the cost. Common materials include porcelain, porcelain-fused-to-metal, and metal alloys.
Porcelain bridges are known for their natural appearance but are usually more expensive than metal options.
Dental care costs can vary depending on your location. Urban areas with a higher cost of living often have higher dental bridge prices compared to rural areas.
As a rule of thumb, you should expect more experienced dentists to charge more for a dental bridge procedure.
Additional expenses associated with dental bridge procedure
One of the biggest factors impacting the total cost of dental bridges is the additional procedures or expenses that may be incurred as part of the treatment.
Some of these additional costs can vary depending on factors such as the complexity of your case and other specific dental needs.
Here are some of the common dental expenses that you may incur when getting dental bridges:
- Dental examinations and consultations
Before starting the dental bridge procedure, you’ll typically have one or more dental examinations and consultations.
These visits are crucial for assessing your oral health, discussing treatment options, and creating a personalized treatment plan. App. cost: $50 to $200 per visit.
- X-rays and imaging
Dental X-rays and other imaging procedures may be necessary to get a clear view of your teeth, jawbone, and surrounding structures. The cost can vary depending on the type and number of images required. App. cost: $25 to $100.
- Temporary bridge
While your permanent dental bridge is being custom-made, your dentist may place a temporary bridge to protect your prepared teeth and maintain your appearance. This incurs an additional cost. App. cost: $300 to $900.
- Sedation or anesthesia
Depending on your comfort level and the complexity of the procedure, you may opt for sedation or anesthesia during the bridge placement. The cost can vary based on the type of sedation used. App. cost: $50 to $500.
- Tooth extractions
If you have any damaged or compromised teeth that need to be extracted before the dental bridge can be placed, there will be additional expenses associated with these extractions. App. cost: $50 to $500 per tooth.
Does Insurance Cover Dental Bridges?
Regardless of the type of dental bridge you go for or the location you get them from, it is a no-brainer that these products are quite expensive. As a rule of thumb, most insurance plans do not cater to cosmetic restorations, which dental bridges may be considered a part of.
However, dental bridges may also be recommended for their functionality benefits, meaning they can be covered under dental insurance to some extent.
Nevertheless, it is important to consider the type of dental insurance you’re getting and the coverage it supports.
For instance, some insurance plans may only cater for a fraction of the total cost of the treatment, while others can cover it fully. It is important to consult with your insurer in advance to ensure that it can pay for your dental bridge treatment, as well as the extent of the coverage.
The type of dental bridge you’re getting can also impact your ability to get covered and the extent of the coverage.
For instance, traditional bridges are generally covered by insurance plans more frequently than implant-supported bridges due to their lower cost. Coverage for Maryland bridges and cantilever bridges may also vary.
How to Manage Dental Bridge Expenses Without Insurance
You may get a little worried if you don’t have dental insurance to help offset the cost of getting dental bridges. The price tag of this treatment is quite high, and it may help to look at alternative ways to reduce the total payable amount for your dental bridges.
Here are a few tactics that you can use to take down the cost of your dental bridges treatment:
Explore dental school
You may consider going to a dental school in your area to receive this treatment. These institutions often offer dental services at reduced rates, as they are provided by dental students under the supervision of experienced dentists.
Inquire about payment plans
Paying for your dental bridge treatment in one go may be quite expensive. However, if you could pay for the treatment in bits, it may prove manageable.
You can inquire from your dentist if they offer payment plans or financing options. These plans allow you to spread the cost of your dental bridge over several months, making it more manageable on your budget.
Dental discount plans
Consider enrolling in a dental discount plan. These plans are not insurance but can provide significant discounts on dental procedures, including dental bridges. They typically involve an annual membership fee and can be an affordable alternative to insurance.c ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.
Depending on your income and location, you may be eligible for government assistance programs that provide access to affordable or free dental care. Programs like Medicaid or state-funded dental clinics can be valuable resources.
Look for charitable organizations
Certain charitable organizations and foundations provide financial assistance for dental procedures to individuals in need. Research and reach out to such organizations to inquire about potential support.
You can look at many other dental assistance programs that can help you lower the cost of your dental bridges. However, don’t forget that you can always negotiate with your dentist regarding your financial concerns.
Some practices may be willing to negotiate on pricing, offer certain discounts, or provide you with alternatives to dental bridges that may better fit your budget.
Alternatives to Dental Bridges
Dental bridges are effective in replacing missing teeth. However, not everyone may be a good candidate or can afford this treatment. Fortunately, there are alternative treatment options that you may consider, such as:
Dentures are popular prosthetic devices that can be used to replace missing teeth. Depending on your unique dental needs, you can get full dentures which replace all natural teeth, or you can get a partial denture, which replaces some missing teeth.
- Dentures are often more affordable than dental bridges.
- No surgery is required for dentures.
- Dentures can be taken out for cleaning and maintenance.
- Dentures may shift or move while eating or speaking.
- Dentures do not stimulate the jawbone like implants, which can lead to bone resorption over time.
Dental implants are deemed one of the best solutions for replacing missing natural teeth as they offer more stability and act as artificial tooth roots. They also appear more natural and are aesthetically pleasing.
- Implants are firmly anchored in the jawbone, providing exceptional stability.
- With proper care, dental implants can last a lifetime.
- Implants closely mimic the appearance and function of natural teeth.
- Implant placement involves surgery, which can have associated risks and costs.
- Implants are often costly upfront than dental bridges or dentures.
Removable partial dentures
Partial dentures are removable dental appliances used to replace one or several missing teeth within an arch (either upper or lower) while preserving any remaining natural teeth. They are attached to the remaining teeth by using clasps or precision attachments, which help keep the appliance securely in place.
- No surgery involved.
- Often a cost-effective option.
- Convenient for cleaning and care.
- May not offer the same stability as bridges or implants.
- Clasps used to secure them may irritate gums.
The cost of dental bridges varies significantly based on factors such as the type of bridges, the material, the geographic location, and the dentist’s experience, among others. Generally, you may be expected to pay between $1,500 and over $15,000.
However, by using your dental insurance, getting dental discounts, and visiting dental schools, you can significantly lower the cost of your dental bridges treatment.
Nevertheless, you can always explore alternative treatments, such as dental implants and dentures, if you do not find dental bridges as the ideal solution to replace your missing natural teeth.
Dental bridges are not considered permanent in the sense that they will last a lifetime without any maintenance. However, they are a long-lasting tooth replacement option. With proper care and regular check-ups, dental bridges can typically last 10 to 15 years or even longer.
The decision to get a dental bridge is a personal one that depends on your specific dental needs, budget, and priorities. Dental bridges offer several benefits, including restoring your ability to chew, speak, and smile confidently. It's advisable to discuss your situation with a dentist who can provide guidance based on your individual case.
While there are programs and organizations that offer free or low-cost dental care to low-income individuals, receiving a completely free dental bridge can be challenging.