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If you find yourself with a gap in your mouth due to a missing tooth, your dentist may suggest a dental bridge. This tooth replacement option effectively fills the space left by missing teeth. However, it’s important to note that dental bridges can come with a significant price tag. To help you prepare financially, here’s some information on the typical costs of dental bridges.
What Exactly is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is an artificial tooth (or teeth) used to replace one or more missing teeth. This bridge is attached to the natural teeth on either side of the gap. Unlike removable partial dentures, dental bridges are fixed in place.
Are There Different Types of Dental Bridges?
There are four main types of dental bridges recommended by dentists, depending on the location of the missing tooth and the condition of the adjacent teeth:
- Traditional Bridge: This is the most common type, involving the placement of crowns on the teeth next to the gap to anchor the fake tooth or teeth.
- Cantilever Bridges: These bridges are used when there is only one supporting tooth adjacent to the gap. The fake tooth is connected to this supporting tooth using a cantilever.
- Maryland Bridges: Also known as resin-bonded bridges, these are typically used to replace front teeth. They involve attaching metal wings to the fake tooth and bonding it to the supporting tooth without any irreversible damage.
- Implant-Supported Bridges: This option is the most costly and is recommended when multiple teeth are missing. The bridge is anchored by dental implants.
Requirements for Getting a Dental Bridge
Not everyone is a suitable candidate for a dental bridge. Dentists consider several factors, such as the number of missing teeth, the condition of the adjacent teeth, your overall dental health, oral hygiene habits, and your overall health. Based on these factors, your dentist can help determine if a dental bridge is the right choice for you.
How Much Does a Dental Bridge Typically Cost?
The cost of a dental bridge varies depending on various factors. According to Authority Dental, a reliable source of dentistry information, prices in the U.S. can range from around $1,500 for a Maryland bridge to as much as $16,000 for an implant-supported dental bridge.
For a 3-unit bridge, the cost can be between $2,500 and $4,000. If you have a larger gap and require additional teeth without implants, expect to spend around $1,300 for each additional tooth.
On the other hand, Dentaly.org reports that a standard 3-unit bridge can cost anywhere between $500 and $1,500, while the same bridge supported by an implant can cost approximately $5,000.
The price of a dental bridge depends on factors such as the number of missing teeth, the type of bridge chosen, the material used for the artificial tooth, and any additional work required on the supporting teeth.
To give you a better idea of the costs, here are the average prices based on the type of dental bridge:
- Traditional Bridge: $500 to $1,500
- Cantilever Bridge: $1,000 to $2,000
- Maryland Bridge: $1,000 to $2,500
- Implant-Supported Bridge: $3,000 to $25,000
Please note that these prices may vary depending on your location, so it’s best to consult with a local dentist for an accurate estimate.
Other Costs Associated With Dental Bridges
Apart from the bridge itself, there may be additional costs in the form of associated services. Some of these services include:
Preparation and Fitting: Your dentist will need to prepare the supporting teeth and perform the necessary fitting procedures, which may incur additional charges.
X-rays and Impressions: Before creating the dental bridge, your dentist may take X-rays and impressions of your teeth, resulting in additional costs.
Follow-Up Visits: Regular check-ups and maintenance visits may be required to ensure the longevity of your dental bridge.
Does Insurance Cover Dental Bridges?
The coverage for dental bridges depends on your dental health plan. Private dental insurance often covers around 50% of the cost of major restorative procedures like bridges. However, this coverage may be subject to annual or lifetime maximum benefits.
If you have an Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace health insurance plan, dental coverage may not be included. In such cases, separate dental plans are usually available for purchase alongside your health insurance plan.
Medicare, in most cases, does not provide coverage for dental care, including bridges. However, certain Medicare Advantage plans offer dental coverage or the option to purchase a separate dental plan.
Medicaid coverage for dental care varies by state. While dental care for enrolled children is generally covered, adult coverage varies, with some states offering comprehensive dental care, including bridges, and others offering only emergency services.
Veterans can receive dental services through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Affording a Dental Bridge Without Insurance
If you don’t have dental insurance or need help lowering your out-of-pocket costs, consider the following options:
Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA): If you have either of these accounts, you may be able to use the funds to cover some of the expenses related to your dental bridge.
Dental Discount Plans: These plans typically require an annual membership fee and offer discounted rates for dental procedures. With a participating network of providers, you can save anywhere from 10% to 60% on the cost of a dental bridge.
Payment Plans: Some dentists offer financing options that allow you to pay for your dental bridge in installments, making it more affordable.
Can I Get a Free Dental Bridge?
If you’re unable to afford a dental bridge, several programs offer free or low-cost options for eligible individuals. These programs include Give Back a Smile (for domestic violence survivors), Donated Dental Service (for veterans and people with special needs), clinical trials, dental schools, state and local resources, and the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics.
Are Dental Bridges Permanent?
Dental bridges are considered a permanent solution for replacing missing teeth. They are designed to last anywhere from 5 to 15 years, or even longer. However, it’s important to note that partial dentures held in place by metal clasps are sometimes referred to as removable dental bridges, but these are not permanent.
Is Getting a Dental Bridge Worth It?
For many people, a dental bridge is definitely worth the investment. It helps restore both their oral health and the appearance of their smile. Compared to complete dental implants, dental bridges are more affordable and often more comfortable than dentures.
However, it’s essential to consider that dentures may be a more cost-effective option if you’re looking to fill a gap in your mouth or replace multiple missing teeth. Dentures, although removable, require proper maintenance and cleaning.
Ultimately, the decision to get a dental bridge depends on your specific needs and preferences.
Are There Dental Bridge Alternatives?
Yes, there are alternative options to dental bridges that you can explore. Full dentures, partial dentures, and dental implants are commonly used to fill gaps in the mouth.
Dentures are removable and usually less expensive than dental bridges. Traditional full dentures can cost around $1,800, while partial dentures cost approximately $1,500. However, dentures can be difficult to keep in place.
Dental implants are a more expensive alternative but offer a permanent solution similar to dental bridges. The cost of a single dental implant can range from $4,800 to over $40,000 for a full mouth reconstruction.
It’s essential to consult with your dentist to determine the best option for your specific situation.
To learn more about dental bridges and oral health, visit Make You Smile.