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It can be difficult to live your life with missing teeth, but treatments like dental bridges may be able to help you regain your pearly smile and self-confidence.
A dental bridge is a popular and successful option for replacing missing teeth. Unlike other missing teeth options, like traditional dentures, a dental bridge is a permanent dental prosthesis that imitates the look and feel of natural teeth.
These replacement teeth can last a long time, normally between 5 and 15 years, and can last even longer with proper oral care. What’s more, dental bridges are available on the NHS, their accessibility adding to their popularity as a missing teeth replacement option.
As with any treatment, dental bridges have advantages and disadvantages; you and your dentist will have to decide if this is the best treatment for your particular case. And as there are many factors to consider in deciding whether this is the right treatment for you, you’ll find the answers to all of your questions in this complete guide, including the following:
So keep reading and you’ll find out all about dental bridges, and whether or not they are the best treatment for you and your oral health.
First off, if you are missing teeth, you shouldn’t feel bad, in fact, you are in good company. That’s because a whopping 30% of the global population between the ages of 65 and 74 have no natural teeth. And adults between the ages of 20 and 64 are missing on average more than seven teeth. So since it is something that statistically most people are dealing with, let’s get rid of the stigma and instead learn about the solutions.
We briefly went over the dental bridge definition in the introduction, but let’s dive in a bit deeper, shall we?
A dental bridge is a dental prosthesis, or artificial ‘body’ part, that, using either natural teeth with crowns on either side as anchors, or by using implants, fills a gap between teeth. You might even say it ‘bridges the gap’!
Dental bridges can be made from a variety of materials, such as metal, porcelain and ceramic. And you can get dental bridges for your front teeth or back teeth; wherever you need to replace missing teeth.
There are many benefits to getting dental bridge work done in order to replace missing teeth, and although there are obvious aesthetic benefits, there are even more health benefits.
We’ll talk more about the health benefits of dental bridges further down, but for now, suffice it to say that dental bridges can actually help stop the loss of jaw bone density, and stop other teeth from growing in crooked into the empty spaces left by missing teeth. It can also be more difficult to maintain a nutritious diet when teeth are missing, and with dental bridges, you can go back to eating like you used to.
Despite all of the benefits to dental bridges, you may be wondering what dental bridges look like, because, after all, you don’t want to spend a bunch of money on something that will be unsightly.
The good news is that dental bridges, when done well, are nearly invisible—only perceptible upon close-up inspection, and sometimes not even then!
Once you’ve decided that you’d like to get your teeth replaced with a dental bridge, you’re probably going to be quite eager to get started. But, keep in mind that dental bridge placement is a complicated process, and if you want a dental bridge that will last a long time, be as comfortable as natural teeth, and be invisible, then it will require quite a few steps and multiple visits to your dentist.
So what is the dental bridge procedure? Well, let’s take a look at the dental bridge procedure step by step so that you have all the information you need going in.
If you have a gap of just one or two missing teeth, then a dental bridge will normally use the healthy teeth on either side (the abutment teeth) as anchors. So the first step will be teeth preparation, to make sure that those teeth are the right shape for a perfectly fitting bridge.
During teeth preparation, your abutment teeth will literally need to be shaped, meaning that they will have to be filed down. Don’t worry, local anesthetic will be used for this process, so you won’t feel a thing!
After the teeth are filed down, your dentist will make impressions of the abutment teeth, which will then be made into molds and sent to a dental laboratory. Once there, dental technicians will use the impressions in order to construct a dental bridge that perfectly fits your mouth.
Since the bridge should match the color of your teeth so they look natural, your dentist will also probably take a color sample of your teeth during this time.
If you have multiple missing teeth, or unhealthy abutment teeth, you may need dental implants in order to anchor the bridge.
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root, usually made out of titanium. If you are fitted with dental implants, your gums will most likely need to heal before you can continue with the dental bridge procedure.
During this first visit, you may be fitted with a temporary dental bridge that your dentist will affix with temporary dental bridge cement. Temporary dental bridge materials are different than those materials used for permanent bridges. Instead, they are usually made out of filling materials, most likely an acrylic resin. This bridge will protect your shaped teeth while your permanent bridge is being made. It will also serve to fill in any noticeable gaps left by your missing teeth.
Don’t worry about the temporary dental bridge cost, as it will most likely be part of the total cost of your dental bridge, which is on Band 3 of the NHS for 269.30 GBP
Alternatively, if paid for privately, your total dental bridge cost could be anywhere between 200 GBP and 3,000 GBP, depending on where you go, what kind of bridge you get and which materials are used. But we’ll talk more about pricing in depth a bit further down.
Once your permanent dental bridge has been made at the dental laboratory and sent to your dentist, and/or your mouth has healed if you also needed implants, you’re ready for the placement of your permanent bridge.
Your dentist will give you a local anesthetic, so, just like the first visit, you won’t experience any pain. Then your dentist will remove the temporary bridge, and clean the abutment teeth. After that, your dentist will apply dental cement in order to fix the permanent bridge teeth onto the abutment teeth. Your dentist will then make sure that the bridge is fitting as it should, and you’ll get to try biting down with your new teeth for the first time.
It will probably feel a bit strange at first, but you’ll get used to it fast. Your dentist will make any final adjustments, and then send you on your merry way.
The cost of a permanent dental bridge may be covered by Band 3 of NHS for 269.30 GBP, or paid for privately. If you choose to go to a private dentist, the cost of your bridge will depend on the materials used to make it, and the type of bridge you choose.
There are numerous dental bridge types available, depending on your needs. The types of dental bridge procedures include:
So how will you choose your dental bridge from all of these different dental bridge types?
Well, different types of dental bridge work for different cases, and your dentist will help you figure out which dental bridge type is best for you. Now let’s have a look at your different options:
So what is a fixed dental bridge? A fixed dental bridge is the most common type of dental bridge available because these bridges are strong and long-lasting. They are perfect for replacing one or two missing teeth.
A fixed bridge is normally made up of a crown that covers the two abutment teeth, and then one or two artificial teeth to fill in the gaps.
If you have a fixed bridge, but it isn’t working for you, or it comes loose, you may be wondering how to remove a fixed dental bridge.
If this is the case, do not try to do anything on your own. Go to see your dentist and they will use special crown-removing pliers to gently move the crowns of the bridge around until the cement seal breaks.
If you’ve heard the terms ‘fixed bridge’ and ‘traditional dental bridge’ used interchangeably, and they sound like the same thing, that’s because they are. A fixed bridge is just another name for a traditional dental bridge, and vice versa. They are both permanent bridges that consist of crowns that fit over abutment teeth on either side, with a ‘pontic’ or replacement tooth (or teeth) in the centre.
As we mentioned above, during the dental bridge procedure, a temporary dental bridge may be placed during your first visit to get your fixed dental bridge. They are normally made of acrylic resin and will protect your shaped teeth until your permanent or fixed bridge is ready.
The term ‘removable dental bridge’ is sort of a misnomer, but it’s often used to describe a partial denture. These removable dentures may be an option for those who only need a few teeth replaced. They have clasps that keep them in place, and can be kept in while eating, but then must be removed by the patient at night. A removable dental bridge may be made from metal, acrylic or flexible material.
If you’re missing your two front teeth, you’re probably quite eager to know if you can get a dental bridge for front teeth. The answer is yes, although the front tooth bridge procedure may require two crowns to be placed on either side because there will be a lot of pressure put on the front incisors. If you do get a dental bridge for a front tooth or teeth, besides having two crowns on either side, the rest of the process will be similar to getting a regular fixed bridge.
Front tooth bridges are barely noticeable, if at all, and are a great option for replacing missing front teeth. Have a look at these front dental bridge pictures below, and see if you can tell the difference from normal teeth.
A cantilever bridge uses a crown to attach to an adjacent tooth, similar to how a traditional dental bridge works. The difference, however, is that while a traditional bridge attaches to one tooth on either side, the cantilever bridge only attaches to one of the teeth adjacent to the gap left by missing teeth.
Well, one instance where a cantilever bridge dental prosthetic might be necessary is when you have only one natural tooth available on which to place a crown.
Let’s have a quick look at some other cantilever bridge facts:
In your research, you may have heard that cantilever bridges aren’t the most recommended type of bridge. This is true for back teeth because that’s where stronger chewing happens. Since a cantilever bridge has only one tooth on which to put pressure, that tooth may end up having problems in the future, such as pain, cracking, or crown-debonding.
But, despite the disadvantages, as one scholarly article points out, some dentists still prefer a fixed cantilever bridge to a removable partial denture (removable dental bridge).
If you only have one missing tooth, your dentist may decide that a Maryland bonded bridge is the best option for you. A Maryland bonded bridge fits to the back of the crown or false tooth, with wings on either side that attach to the backs of the adjacent teeth.
This type of bridge can be beneficial because there is no need to shave down the healthy enamel from the adjacent teeth. However, it may not be as sturdy as a permanent bridge and doesn’t do much to combat any bone loss that may result from having missing tooth roots.
As you may have found while reading up on the different types of bridges, Maryland bridges are also called resin-bonded bridges. That’s because the material used to affix the bridge to the teeth is a composite resin cement.
This is one type of Maryland bonded bridge. A porcelain bonded bridge fits to the back of two abutment teeth through the use of porcelain wings. Porcelain is a popular option for this type of bridge, as it is strong and durable and can match the colour of your natural teeth. Another material that can be used is metal, but this may be more visible.
The cost of a Maryland bridge in the UK will, of course, differ depending on whether you will be paying for it privately or if you want to get your resin-bonded bridge on the NHS. Keep in mind that since this is not a traditional bridge, it might only be covered on the NHS if it’s deemed medically necessary.
Privately, a Maryland bridge will cost between 500 GBP and 600 GBP pounds, and depends on whether you opt for porcelain or metal for the wings and which dentist you go to. If you want your Maryland bridge to cost less, you may want to opt for metal wings instead of porcelain.
A Maryland bridge, if deemed medically necessary, on the NHS will cost 269.30 GBP, as bridges fall under Band 3 course of treatment.
Now let’s have a look at the Maryland bridge pros and cons:
Now that we’ve seen some of the advantages of Maryland bonded bridges, let’s have a look at Maryland bridge problems that should be noted. Resin-bonded bridge disadvantages include:
It is not a dental bridge for two missing teeth, as it can only be used to replace one Since teeth are somewhat translucent, metal wings may cause teeth to appear darker than other teeth Must be recemented every few years.
An implant-supported bridge may be used when several teeth are missing, or the adjacent teeth aren’t strong enough to be used as abutments for a traditional bridge. These are sometimes called fixed implant-supported bridges, because the implants themselves may last a lifetime.
If you need all of your teeth on either the top or bottom replaced, you may opt for a full arch implant-supported bridge. This requires two implants for the bottom or up to four on the top—the implants supporting bridges that can replace a full arch.
Implant-supported bridges may cost more privately than traditional bridges, especially because of the surgery involved and the fact that you are getting multiple teeth replaced. Additionally, dental implant-supported bridges aren’t as likely to be covered on the NHS as they must be considered medically necessary. However, you may be referred for free NHS dental implants in an NHS hospital setting if the following applies to you:
Additionally, those who fall under a certain income level may also be exempt from NHS charges for restorative dentistry. Make sure to check with your dentist or Primary Care Trust to see if you are eligible.
Anyone eligible for implants on NHS would be covered under Band 3 of treatment for 269.30 GBP.
Although both dental bridges and implants can be great solutions for replacing missing teeth, there are some differences when it comes to dental bridges vs implants. Both dental bridges and implants have their own disadvantages and advantages, it just depends on your specific case.
Implants are long-lasting fixtures that are placed into your jawbone, meant to actually replace a tooth root. Implants are normally made from titanium, which is both strong and biocompatible, in other words—not harmful to living tissue.
Implants can only be used with those who have strong enough jawbones to support them. If you don’t have enough bone density to support normal implants, you may have enough bone density to support mini implants, which are just like normal implants except they are smaller.
20+ years, potentially a lifetime
250 - 1000 GBP, depending on the type
Average cost of 2 000 GBP
Cost on NHS
Made to look like natural teeth, more noticabe when used as a replacement for a front tooth
Look like natural teeth
Can feel like natural teeth if placed well
Feel like natural teeth
Requires healthy enamel of abutment teeth to be shaved down
Requires surgery/overall process takes longer
Assuming your bone density is enough to support implants, the procedure begins with implant placement. And then an abutment is fitted to the implant, after which the crown, or the replacement tooth, is held into place by the abutment.
The pros of an implant vs a bridge are that:
On the other hand, the advantages of a bridge vs an implant are:
Another option for patients who require having multiple teeth replaced is an implant-supported bridge, also referred to as a permanent bridge. This sort of bridge requires implants to be installed, instead of using natural abutment teeth, and then a bridge is made to go over and between the two implants.
This is a longer-lasting option than a traditional bridge, as the lifespan of a porcelain bridge vs an implant is more comparable than that of a traditional bridge to an implant. Permanent bridges can last for decades, where bridges normally only last 5 to 15 years. What’s more, permanent bridges are cheaper than getting individual implants for every missing tooth.
You can have either a bridge or an implant to replace a missing front tooth. Although a bridge may require two abutments on either side, due to the great amount of pressure that will be placed on your front incisors. A bridge may also be more noticeable if placed at the front of your mouth versus at the back.
Have a look at the following table for a quick summary of the differences between dental bridges vs implants for replacing missing teeth:
The lifespan of your dental bridge will depend on both the quality of the bridge and the quality of your oral care, but let’s take a look at some specifics:
A traditional dental bridge should last between 5 and 15 years before needing replacement. Of course, proper oral hygiene and regular checkups will ensure they last as long as possible.
During your first visit to the dentist to get your bridge, your dentist may give you a temporary dental bridge to protect your newly-shaped teeth until your permanent bridge is ready. If left unreplaced with a fixed bridge, the length of time your temporary bridge can last will vary. However, you should make sure to only wear your temporary bridge as long as your dentist instructs you to, and make sure to have it replaced with a fixed bridge when your fixed bridge is ready.
Dental bridges can be made from a variety of materials. The types of dental bridge materials include porcelain, ceramic, metal alloys, acrylic and gold.
That being said, let’s have a look at the most common types of dental bridge materials:
A dental bridge adhesive may be used as a temporary fix if the crowns of your temporary bridge fall off. But be advised, when we say temporary, we mean until you can get to your dentist to have them fix it professionally. If you can get into your dentist straight away, it may not be necessary to fix a dental bridge with adhesive.
Dental bridge pictures may not be pretty on their own, but when you get to see them in the context of someone’s beautiful full smile, it can make quite a difference.
Whether you have a missing tooth at the front or back of your mouth, you are likely to notice a remarkable difference with a dental bridge before and after placement. Especially if you have multiple teeth missing, or your missing tooth is near the front of your mouth, you’ll notice a difference in facial structure and general aesthetics. Have a look at some of these dental bridge images of before and after treatment to see what a big difference they can make:
You may find that dental bridge care is quite similar to taking care of your natural teeth. There are a couple differences in maintenance and diet that you should keep in mind to make sure your bridge lasts as long as possible.
The best way to clean your dental bridge is to follow a regular oral hygiene routine, just like you do with your natural teeth. This involves cleaning your bridge every day, twice a day, with the addition of cleaning under your false tooth everyday.
Cleaning under your false tooth involves using a bridge needle or special floss, and your dentist will show you exactly how to do it when you get your bridge put in.
And if you’re wondering how to clean a permanent dental bridge as opposed to a temporary dental bridge, the steps should be the same.
If you just got a dental bridge for a missing tooth, you may be wondering: ‘What can I eat with a dental bridge?’ The good news is that it should actually be easier to eat with a dental bridge than without, and for the most part, you can return to the diet you had before you lost your teeth.
However, while you’re first getting used to your dental bridge, you may want to eat soft foods, cut up into smaller pieces. But as you get used to your bridge you can add normal foods back into your diet. Your dentist may still advise you to limit the consumption of certain foods such as hard candies, caramel, ice and raw vegetables.
Dental bridges are a great option for replacing missing teeth. That being said, just like with any dental procedure, there are some possible problems that can go along with a dental bridge. So let’s go over some of the common problems with dental bridges that you may encounter.
There are a few factors that might cause an infection under or around your dental bridge. These factors include:
Dental bridge infection symptoms include pain and swelling under and around your bridge. If you experience these symptoms you should visit your doctor immediately, lest the infection become more severe.
Another possible dental bridge problem is pain. Pain should not be ignored, as it is a sign that something may be wrong, such as food trapped under your bridge, a bridge that doesn’t fit well, or an infection. If you experience pain where your dental bridge is, you should make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as you can. Of course, if the pain is unbearable, it’ should be considered a dental emergency and you should seek emergency services.
One potential problem with Maryland dental bridges is that the metal wings on the abutment teeth can debond when put under too much pressure too frequently. If this happens, get in to see your dentist to fix it straight away.
There is a small space between your replacement tooth and your gum line that it is imperative to properly clean. Not only does this involve regular brushing, but it also means using a special floss everyday between the tooth and the gum line.
If food does spend time under your dental bridge without being cleaned out, first of all, it will probably be uncomfortable, and second of all, it may lead to decay. If you suspect there is food stuck under your bridge that you aren’t able to get out yourself, you should consult your dentist.
After a few years of wear, your dental bridge may start to feel loose. At this point you should make an appointment with your dentist to fix it. They may be able to re-cement your bridge if it is in good condition, but otherwise it may have to be replaced.
Your bridge may also feel loose after it’s been fitted for the first time. If this is the case, make sure to tell your dentist, as they’ll need to re-cement it again. It’s very important that your bridge fits correctly, otherwise it will make speaking, eating and maintaining good oral hygiene much more difficult.
After you get your dental bridge, you may notice that it feels tight, and it might even feel a bit sore as your mouth adjusts. Some tightness and soreness is normal, but if the sensation increases, or persists for more than a week or two, you should ask your dentist about it.
Sensitivity is another sensation, along with the tightness that you may feel when you first get your dental bridge. Again, if this feeling lasts for more than two weeks, or gets worse, you should let your dentist know, as there may be a problem with how your bridge fits.
Dental bridges have many benefits which we will go over shortly, but they also have some disadvantages that are important to keep in mind when you’re deciding which tooth replacement option is best for you. So let’s go over some dental bridge advantages and disadvantages.
Well, you don’t need a dental bridge specifically to replace missing teeth, per se, but you should definitely replace your teeth with something. Whether you use a dental bridge for missing teeth, or you use implants, bridges, or dentures, it’s very important to your oral health to get missing teeth replaced.
If your confidence is negatively affected by a missing front tooth, then it’s also important for self-care reasons to get a dental bridge for your front tooth, so you can have a full smile again.
Here’s just a reminder of some of the reasons why you may want to get a dental bridge:
A dental bridge does look natural, that is—when fitted properly and made from tooth-colored material like ceramic, porcelain or zirconia.
Since by age 44, 69% of people have lost at least one permanent tooth, chances are you’ve actually probably been speaking with a person wearing a dental bridge without even realizing it.
One thing that might happen however, with a porcelain fused to metal bridge, is that over time, the porcelain might begin to wear away, exposing the metal underneath. For this reason, you may want to consider this type of bridge for teeth that are further back in your mouth.
So how much is a dental bridge in the UK? Dental bridge prices in the UK can vary greatly depending on the type of bridge you choose and the material used. Dentists also may have service fees that differ from their competitors. Thus, it’s worth calling around to inquire about dental bridge cost estimates from various practices to find out who offers the best deal.
The average dental bridge costs in the UK for the various types of bridge are as follows:
As mentioned above, the cost of a dental bridge in the UK will vary based on material and dentist. But if you’re wondering how much a dental bridge should cost, the ranges listed should give you a good idea of a fair dental bridge price in the UK.
Additionally, if you fall into a special category, you may be exempt from NHS band fees. To find out if this applies to you, check with your dentist or Primary Care Trust.
How much does a dental bridge cost for 3 teeth?
For a traditional 3-unit dental bridge, if paid for privately, you’ll probably be charged the amount for the standard single-unit dental bridge, along with the cost of the additional crowns. Crowns usually cost anywhere from 250 GBP to 800 GBP, just like bridges, so if paid for privately, it might start to add up. In which case you may want to consider dental tourism to places like Poland, which we will discuss in more detail further down.
The good news is that on the NHS, a traditional 1-unit, 3-unit or 4-unit dental bridge is likely to all be covered under a single payment of the Band 3 NHS dental charge of 269.30 GBP.
Thankfully, the NHS covers some types of dental bridges, so you may not have to pay the full cost of a dental bridge in the UK.
The NHS dental charges are divided into three bands, plus an emergency group. NHS dental charges for these bands are:
As you can see, the dental bridge NHS cost falls under Band 3. It might help to see the corresponding prices for each band, so you will know how much your dental bridge on the NHS will cost. So next you will see the costs of the different bands and thus the dental bridge NHS price.
Band 1: 22,70 GBP
Band 2: 62.10 GBP
Band 3: 269.30 GBP
When all is said and done, whether you choose to get your dental bridge on the NHS or privately, make sure it is with a dentist you trust and that you aren’t sacrificing quality for a lower price tag.
If private dental bridge costs are too high, or if the NHS dental charges don’t include the bridge you want, dental tourism is always an option. European countries like Poland are well-known for the high quality of care provided by their dentists and doctors.
By getting dental bridge work abroad, you could end up paying up to 70% less than you would in the UK. And getting cheap dental bridges abroad doesn’t mean sacrificing quality. Clinics like the ones in Poland rely on positive patient reviews to keep their practices running, so they have to provide above-average care.
You can go to Poland to get dental work done for a much lower price than you would in the UK. And you can feel confident that the care you receive is top-notch. That’s because dentists in Poland have to conform to the same strict EU regulations as dentists in the UK.
You may especially want to consider going to Poland for your dental work if you want an implant-supported bridge. This type of bridge is not usually covered by the NHS, and a single implant in the UK can cost 2,000 GBP whereas in Poland you can get a titanium implant for 1000 GBP, plus 20 GBP for an x-ray of a single tooth or 50 GBP for a CT scan of your entire jaw if you have multiple teeth missing. That’s almost %50 in savings!
So why are dental bridges in Poland so much cheaper than in the UK?
The reason that the dental bridge cost in Poland is so low, is simply because Poland’s economy isn’t as strong as the UK’s. That means that the aspects of running a clinic, along with materials and technology are cheaper, along with a lower cost of living, so dentists in Poland can afford to charge less for dental work.
Another place to get quality but low-cost dental implant bridges is in Turkey. Similarly to Poland, savings on implant-supported dental bridge costs in Turkey can be up to 75% when compared with the UK. So just how much is an implant-supported dental bridge in Turkey?
You can find dental implants in Turkey for just 400 GBP, and at some clinics, this price will include a free panoramic x-ray and even transfer from your hotel to the clinic. You’ll have to carefully read reviews of clinics and check out the dentists’ certifications in order to pick the best one for you.
If you are missing teeth, it’s important for not just the aesthetics of your smile, but for your overall oral health to get them replaced. And one great solution for replacing missing teeth is a dental bridge.
As you’ve read in this article, there are various types of dental bridges and materials that you can choose from. Some will be covered under Band 3 on the NHS, or you can opt to pay for them privately. Others, like implant-supported bridges, you will most likely have to pay full price for, in which case, dental tourism to places known for their quality dental care, like Poland or Turkey, may be the best option for you.
If your temporary dental bridge falls out, you should make sure to locate the temporary bridge and store it in a zip bag until you can get in to see your dentist. Tell your dentist what happened and they’ll make an appointment as soon as they can to see you.
If you are in extreme pain when your bridge falls out, that means that something else is wrong, and you should treat it as a dental emergency and get in to see an emergency dentist straight away.
If you’re going to make the investment of both time and money in getting a dental bridge, you’re first question is probably: How long does a fixed dental bridge last? A fixed dental bridge can last anywhere from 5 to 15 years, or longer if properly cared for.
A traditional dental bridge falls under Band 3 on the NHS, in which case you would pay £269.30. But if you pay for your dental bridge privately, it will cost anywhere from £250 to £800 depending on the materials used and the dentist you go to.
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