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Dental bridges are restorations that replace missing teeth with prosthetic teeth. Unlike removable dentures, bridges attach to the natural teeth on either side of the gap(s) left by the missing tooth/teeth.
Dental bridges are made from different materials, including porcelain and metal. Sometimes, they are made of a mixture of the two.
The average cost of a dental bridge ranges from about $1,500 to more than $5,000. The price depends on the material used for the bridge and the health of the neighboring teeth.
The type of bridge you get also affects the overall cost:
If you have insurance, the cost can be significantly less. Dental insurance plans typically cover some or most costs associated with a dental bridge.
Even with insurance, you must cover your monthly premiums and meet your deductible. Depending on your dental health needs and insurance plan, you might not save much money.
This article explains the factors that affect the cost of a dental bridge with and without insurance and alternative ways to pay.
Out-of-pocket costs for a dental bridge range from about $1,500 for the cheapest option to around $15,000 for an implant-supported bridge.
Many variables affect the price of dental bridges, including:
Dental insurance may cover 50% of a bridge's final cost. However, it’s important to read your dental insurance policy carefully.
Some dental insurance companies require you to have a plan for a certain amount of time before receiving dental bridge treatment. Typically, this is around two years. The plan may only cover a limited number of bridges in a certain period.
Additionally, your insurance plan may have an annual maximum. For example, if a bridge costs $2,500 and your annual maximum is $1,000, you’ll have to pay the remaining $1,500.
At most dental care clinics, administrative staff help patients file insurance claims and receive the coverage they are eligible for.
Like any other dental procedure, there are other costs to consider when getting a dental bridge. Prices vary but may include:
A bridge can cost a lot if you don’t have insurance. But there are several ways to make the procedure more affordable:
You may be able to use funds from a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) to help cover the out-of-pocket costs of a bridge. These accounts allow you to contribute pre-tax money for use on health expenses.
A discount dental plan is otherwise known as a dental savings plan. These plans are an affordable and flexible alternative to traditional dental health insurance.
By joining a discount dental plan, you can save 10 to 60 percent on dental care.
Payment plans offer a way to spread your treatment cost over a timeframe to make it more affordable. Patients borrow the money required for treatment and pay off the procedure monthly, like using a credit card.
Your dentist’s office may have an arrangement with a specific finance company, or you may be able to select your own.
Dental schools can provide high-quality service at reduced prices. Most dental schools have clinics that enable students to gain experience with patients while delivering affordable care.
Expert and licensed dentists closely supervise the students during treatment. Post-graduate and faculty dental labs and clinics are also available at most schools.
Three important federally-funded programs can help reduce dental bridge costs:
Medicare is a health insurance program for 65 and older individuals or people with certain disabilities. Medicare dental coverage is limited and may or may not cover bridges.
Medicaid is a state-run program that sometimes offers dental benefits to those eligible. States set rules for who is qualified and what dental services are covered. For most people under 21, dental services are provided by Medicaid.
The Donated Dental Services (DDS) program offers complimentary and high-quality dental treatment to the United States’ most vulnerable people.
These groups include:
People who receive treatment from the DDS cannot afford the ideal treatment and are not eligible for public aid. The program is run by a network of 15,000 dentists and 3,500 dental labs across the country.
There are four main types of dental bridges:
Traditional dental bridges are the most common type. They have two or more crowns connected to prosthetic teeth to replace missing natural teeth. The crowns ensure the bridge remains in place. Traditional bridges are produced from metal, porcelain-fused-to-metal, or ceramics.
In a cantilever bridge, the artificial tooth attaches to one supporting tooth or implant instead of two. This type of bridge is a good option for people with teeth on one side of the gap. It usually only supports a single fake tooth because it is not as strong as a traditional bridge.
A Maryland dental bridge is also known as a resin-bonded bridge. This bridge is suitable for people with missing front teeth.
It’s created from porcelain-fused-to-metal or ceramic and is supported by an underlying framework. Wings on each side of the bridge bond to your natural teeth.
An implant-supported bridge is similar to a traditional fixed bridge. However, instead of being cemented in place to your teeth, it’s anchored by dental implants.
An implant-supported bridge costs more than the other types. This is because dental implants are surgically placed into your jawbone. Your dentist may recommend this option if you’re missing several teeth in a row.
Your dentist may suggest a dental bridge if you have a missing tooth or teeth and healthy, natural teeth on either side of the gap.
If you have a tooth extraction or lose a permanent tooth, it’s important to fill the gap. Without treatment, an adjacent tooth can shift into that space.
This movement can lead to:
Dental bridges can be an excellent alternative to dentures. If you are unsure whether dental bridges are right for you, speak to your dentist for medical advice.
If a bridge isn’t right for you, alternative treatments are available. Dental restorations that can fill the gap left by missing teeth include:
Dentures are removable appliances that typically cost less than bridges. The cost of dentures depends on the type:
Dental implants cost more than bridges or dentures. However, they’re the only way to replace a tooth and its root permanently.
The approximate cost for dental implants is $4,800 for one tooth. A full mouth rehabilitation with implants can exceed $40,000.
A dental bridge costs between $1,500 and $5,000 without insurance. Various factors affect the price, including the type of bridge.
People who have dental insurance may pay less out of pocket for a bridge. There are ways to make the procedure more affordable for those without insurance. Discount dental plans, HSAs and FSAs, and federal programs may help cover the cost of a dental bridge.
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