Types of Dental Bridges: Materials, Costs, and Lifespan


The dental bridges are installed supporting structures that are meant to provide extra support to your teeth set after you lose some of your teeth. With age and due to trauma, people tend to lose their teeth. This loss of teeth can cause gaps in the teeth set that have to be bridged artificially. Dental bridges are the installations that support your remaining teeth and protect your teeth set. When you go to the nearest dentist, he will examine your teeth and suggest dental bridge treatment for your teeth. This treatment can be of different types, made of different materials, and put together for different objectives. 

Understanding Dental Bridges

  • Definition and Purpose

In simple words, the dental bridge is a setup that is used to bridge the gap between normal and healthy teeth. In many cases, additional dental crowns are attached to your healthy teeth to support the bridge structure and the teeth set. 

Dental bridges restore functionality for chewing and speaking while also enhancing smile aesthetics. Bridges also prevent the shifting of remaining teeth, promote proper bite alignment, and contribute to overall oral health and confidence.

  • When Do You Need a Dental Bridge?

While a dental bridge is usually installed when you have missing teeth, there could be a number of reasons why this situation arises. For example, your teeth might fall due to trauma or due to decay. Other causes and conditions that require dental bridges include difficulty chewing or speaking when you need bite alignment. Sometimes, dental bridges are also installed to fix jaw joint problems for the patient. 

Types of Dental Bridges

Explore various types of dental bridges used to restore missing teeth, including traditional, cantilever, Maryland, and implant-supported bridges.

  • Traditional Bridges

The traditional dental bridge is the simplest dental bridge that a dentist might go for. The traditional dental bridge is installed to fill the gap between your missing teeth and enhance the look of your teeth. The dental bridge is put together when you have adequate natural teeth. 

This type of dental bridge improves the overall look and complete functionality of your teeth. However, there are some drawbacks, like the way this bridge can affect your nearby teeth. The abutment teeth might be strained and loose or be more prone to decay because of the bridge construction. 

  • Cantilever Bridges

Cantilever bridges are installed by taking the support of teeth on one side. They are used when you lack a lot of teeth on one side. 

They are employed in situations where a traditional bridge isn’t feasible due to the absence of adjacent teeth on one side of the gap or when preserving the structure of the adjacent teeth is desired. 

Cantilever bridges require only one natural tooth to be fixed, and this is beneficial in certain situations. However, this also means that the supporting tooth will face a lot of strain, and the bridge might fail in its purpose. 

  • Maryland Bridges

Maryland bridges are very different from other dental bridges. They are used to replace missing teeth, such as the front teeth.

Maryland bridges are opted for when the dentist wants to take a conservative approach to your teeth. The bridge type is favored because there is minimal alteration to your teeth for this setup to be successful. However, there is a risk that the bridge will not be very strong, or it might get debonded quickly. 

  • Implant-Supported Bridges

These bridges are supported by already installed dental implants. They are used when multiple adjacent teeth are missing or when traditional bridges are not feasible due to inadequate adjacent teeth or bone support.

The implant-supported bridge is very stable and durable. The bridge type will also help preserve the teeth set. However, it might cost more to get the implant-supported bridge, and you have to undergo surgery for the same. 

  • Comparison Chart
Bridge TypeDescriptionAdvantagesDisadvantages
Traditional BridgePontic held in place by crowns on adjacent natural teeth Aesthetic improvement Functional restorationStabilityAdjacent tooth alterationPotential for decayLimited lifespan
Cantilever BridgePontic supported by a crown on one adjacent tooth or implant.Preservation of adjacent teethSuitable for specific situationsIncreased stress on supporting tooth Limited applicationsPotential for failure
Maryland BridgePontic held in place by metal or porcelain wings bonded to adjacent teeth.Minimal tooth alterationConservative approach Quick procedureLimited strengthRisk of debondingNot suitable for all casesFood trapping potential
Implant-Supported BridgePontic is supported by dental implants that are surgically placed in the jawbone.Stability and durability Preservation of adjacent teeth Bone preservationImproved chewing ability Long-term solutionSurgical procedure Time-taking treatmentcostly

Materials Used in Dental Bridges

  • Porcelain or Ceramic

Porcelain or ceramic is usually preferred to create dental bridges because the material is close to the natural color of your teeth. Moreover, porcelain or ceramics are also biocompatible with your body, so the process is without complications. 

The ceramic material is very compatible with human tissue. Moreover, it is very strong and durable. Ceramic or porcelain is also protected against wear, chipping, and staining. Using non-abrasive, mild toothpaste will keep the bridge clean. 

  • Metal Alloys

Metal alloy dental bridges are often preferred because they are very strong and durable. Metal alloys are not prone to breakage or staining. The metal alloys are highly useful and fit your teeth cavity perfectly. 

Metal alloys last for a long time over a span of years. Proper oral hygiene and checkups with your dentist will maintain the health of your teeth set. 

  • Porcelain Fused to Metal (PFM)

The dual material construction of porcelain and metal is durable and aesthetic. 

Maintenance of your oral hygiene by going to regular dental appointments will help you keep the PFM bridge intact. 

  • Composite Resin

Composite resin bridges are a good option because they are tooth colored and highly aesthetic. Moreover, the composite resin bridge is also used to support teeth in a customized and protected manner. You will need very little tooth alteration for the same. 

The resin-bonded bridges are durable and repairable, so they can be maintained well for years. 

  • Choosing the Right Material

Many biocompatible materials are used to make dental bridges today. Depending on what type of look you want to give your teeth and the cost you can afford, you should choose the material. Consult your dentist and discuss your expectations. Also, monitor if the chosen material is hypoallergenic and comfortable for your mouth before going for the treatment. 

Costs of Dental Bridges

  • Factors Influencing Cost
    • Type of bridge

Traditional dental bridges are not that costly, but implant-supported bridges can be quite expensive. 

  • Material used

For example, a simple metal alloy bridge costs less than a PFM bridge. The quality and cost of the material have to be balanced according to your dental needs and budget. 

  • Complexity of the dental procedure

If your dental set is decayed and needs more than one procedure before the bridge fixation, then your dentist will spend a lot of time restoring it. The time and effort will increase the costs of the final procedure. 

  • Geographic location

Depending on where you live and how far you are from a good dental clinic, your dental bridge cost of treatment might increase. 

  • Insurance and Financing Options

If you do not have all the funds at hand to get your dental bridge treatment, you should think about health insurance. Check with your insurance agent about the coverage and see if it partially or fully covers it. 

You can also discuss this with your dentist and see if you can take the treatment on an EMI basis or make a gradual payment. The dentist might give you a discount or make you an offer to ease the payment conditions. 

Lifespan and Maintenance of Dental Bridges

  • Average Lifespan

A dental bridge usually lasts from 5 years to 15 years, depending on the longevity of the material used for the treatment. Implant-supported bridges also last for 15 years. While all the materials used are very durable, composite resin bridges might have a shorter lifespan of 5 to 10 years. 

  • Maintenance Tips

You should take care of your dental bridge and keep it clean by using mild, non-abrasive cleaning products every day. Make sure you do not eat sugary, sticky foods quite often, as these can harm the bridge and the surrounding teeth. 

Once you get your dental bridge installed, you should keep in touch with your dentist and go for regular dental checkups. This will keep your teeth clean and also maintain your bridge by making minor repairs when needed. 

  • Factors That Affect Lifespan
    • Oral hygiene

Maintenance of oral hygiene is of foremost importance for a long-standing dental bridge. The use of antibacterial and antiseptic mouthwash is also necessary. Regular checkups and professional cleaning sessions also help maintain your oral hygiene. 

  • Eating habits

The eating habits of the patient should also change after installing a bridge in the mouth. For example, you should stay away from eating too hot or cold food. You should not eat hard, sticky, or sugary foods either, as it can dislodge the bridge and make it loose. 

  • Underlying dental issues

You should go to the dentist regularly, once every three months, so that all your underlying dental issues can be diagnosed and treated on time. This will ensure that your teeth set is safe and the bridge is protected from damage and decay. 

Making Your Decision

  • Consultation with a Dental Professional

When getting a dental bridge, you need to go for customized solutions so that the bridge protects your teeth and is very comfortable. You need to go to a professional and experienced dentist to get your customized dental bridge plan so that all your dental health needs are met. 

  • Considerations for Choosing the Right Type and Material

You can easily make the decision if you consider the different factors linked to it. For example, you should consider the cost of the dental bridge treatment, the aesthetic look you want after the treatment, and the longevity of the material you opt for. Choose the bridge that will last you for years and is durable. 

Explore Your Dental Bridge Options: Consult a Dentist Today

Consult a dentist today and get their opinion on dental bridges in San Antonio. You will find many dentists and dental clinics that can provide you with more information about dental bridge treatment. Go for the treatment when you have missing teeth and are worried about the stability of your teeth set. Dental bridges are absolutely important to preserve the look and functionality of the dental set. You can consult with good endodontists in San Antonio and then opt for the treatment.