How much do dental bridges cost? (Conventional and Maryland types.)
Fees for dental bridges.
This page provides price information for the different kinds of bridges that dentists place. This includes both conventional (tooth-borne or implant-supported) and Maryland types.
What factors affect the cost of a bridge?
Generally, the fee a dentist charges for this procedure varies according to the type of bridge being placed (traditional vs. Maryland) and its type of construction (ceramic, PFM, or all-metal).
Additionally, the size/length of the bridge (the number of units/teeth it involves) is an important factor. And when metal is a component, specifically what type of dental alloy (precious, semiprecious, or non-precious) is used.
We explain all of these factors in more detail in our text below.
1) Fees for conventional dental bridges.
To fully understand this section you may need to refer to the following Notes.
Note #1 - Explains per-unit fees for bridges.
Note #2 - Explains retainer vs. pontic fees.
Note #3 - Explains implant vs. tooth-borne bridge costs.
And, immediately following the fees given below, we explain how to use our estimates to calculate the cost of the specific kind of bridge planned for you.
- One unit – Porcelain-fused-to-metal (noble/precious metal). (Note #4)
$905.00 – $1715.00
Low fee = Small rural city or town.
High fee = Large metropolitan area.
[How we calculate our cost estimates for procedures.]
Other terms used to refer to this same type of bridge construction – PFM, porcelain-fused-to-gold, PFG
- One unit – Porcelain-fused-to-metal (non-precious/base metal). (Note #4)
$805.00 – $1410.00
Other terms used to refer to this same type of bridge construction – PFM
- One unit – Gold / All-metal – precious/noble metal. (Note #4)
$835.00 – $1560.00
Other terms used to refer to this same type of bridge construction – White gold
- One unit – All-metal – non-precious/base metal. (Note #4)
$710.00 – $1470.00
- One unit – All-ceramic.
$895.00 – $1665.00
Other terms used to refer to this same type of bridge construction – Zirconia (BruxZir®), lithium disilicate (IPS e.max®)
Things you need to know to calculate the cost of a dental bridge.
A 3-unit dental bridge.
Each retainer sits atop one of the bridge’s “abutment teeth.”
What does “per unit” mean in regard to a bridge’s cost?
- The term “unit” refers to a single existing tooth or missing tooth’s space that the bridge spans.
- There are two types of “units,” retainers and pontics.
1) Bridge retainers.
This type of unit refers to one of the bridge’s supporting/anchoring elements. These are the dental crown-like portions of the bridge that sit on and encase over an underlying “abutment” (natural tooth or dental implant).
2) Bridge pontics.
A bridge pontic occupies a missing tooth’s space (a location where no underlying abutment tooth or implant exists). A pontic is one of the restoration’s replacement teeth.
Note #2 –
Fees for retainers vs. pontics.
The fee charged by dentists for both retainer and pontic units is usually very similar, if not identical. This is typically true for both tooth-borne and implant-supported bridges.
Due to this usual similarity, our fee estimates above just state a single per-unit fee for each bridge construction type. We don’t differentiate according to the specific type of unit.
How to calculate the cost of a dental bridge.
To calculate the total cost of their planned dental work, a patient simply needs to add up the number of units that will make up their bridge (all retainers + all pontics) and multiply this number by the per-unit fee. Here’s the formula:
Bridge cost = (Per-unit fee) X (Number of units)
As you know from seeing our fee estimates, the per-unit price varies according to the type of bridge being placed (gold, ceramic, porcelain-fused-to-metal, Maryland vs. traditional, etc…).
For our examples, we’ll assume that the dentist performing the work charges $1200 per unit. (To adjust our examples to your situation, just change our number to your dentist’s per-unit fee.)
3-unit dental bridge.
3 units = 2 retainers + 1 pontic.
a) Cost for a 3-unit bridge.
How much does a 3-unit bridge cost?
Using the formula Bridge cost = [Per unit fee] X [Number of units] and a per-unit fee of $1200.
The cost of a 3-unit bridge would be $3600 ($3600 = [$1200] X )
4-unit dental bridge.
4 units = 2 retainers + 2 pontics.
b) Cost for a 4-unit bridge.
How much does a 4-unit bridge cost?
Using the formula above Bridge cost = [Per unit fee] X [Number of units] and a per-unit fee of $1200.
The cost of a 4-unit bridge would be $4800 ($4800 = [$1200] X )
5-unit dental bridge.
5 units = 3 retainers + 2 pontics.
c) Cost for a 5-unit bridge.
How much does a 5-unit bridge cost?
The cost of a 5-unit bridge would be $6000 ($6000 = [$1200] X )
d) Costs for even longer bridges.
How many teeth can be on a dental bridge?
The general rule (requirement) is that the surface area of the roots of the bridge’s abutment teeth (its supporting teeth) must be equal or greater than the surface area of the roots of the (missing) teeth being replaced (the pontic(s) portion of the bridge).
So, the number of teeth that a bridge can have varies according to what teeth are available to support it.
However, the “cost” equation always remains the same.
No matter how many units (retainers + pontics) a bridge has, the equation used to calculate its price always stays the same:
Bridge cost = (Per-unit fee) X (Number of units)
Note #3 –
Fees for implant vs. tooth-supported bridges.
A dentist’s per-unit fees are usually very similar for both tooth-supported and dental-implant-supported bridges.
But when implants are involved, don’t overlook that you’ll also have the cost of placing them (a separate surgical procedure), plus the cost of their implant abutments (the part screwed onto each implant that the bridge actually rests on), and then the cost of the bridge itself.
Is a dental bridge cheaper than an implant?
A common question patients have is which makes the least expensive treatment plan? Replacing a missing tooth by placing a dental implant or a dental bridge.
We include a discussion about this comparison as a part of the treatment planning options for missing teeth outlined on this page.
Note #4 –
Types of dental alloys.
When a dental bridge contains a metal component (all-metal or porcelain-fused-to-metal restorations) it can be constructed using any one of a number of different types of alloys.
In general, they are categorized as non-precious (base), semi-precious (noble), and precious (high noble) depending on their composition. (More information about dental alloys.)
Things to know:
- Higher precious metal content alloys offer advantages both during the fabrication and crown-seating processes. And for this reason, are typically considered to be preferable.
- A decision against using a precious alloy is typically based on cost or limitations imposed by the patient’s dental plan.
- In the case of an all-metal bridge, the color of the alloy used (golden-yellow vs. white gold) might be an important factor to the patient.
Does dental insurance cover dental bridges?
No, not all plans provide benefits for bridges. And those that do may not provide coverage unless a previous bridge existed or else you lost one of the teeth being replaced by the planned bridge while you were covered by your current policy.
When coverage is included, bridges are usually classified as a “Major” dental service Defined.. So, check this section of the documents you’ve been given to see if bridges are included in the list of provided services.
As a Major service, it would be common that a dental plan might cover bridges at 50% of what the company considers the “usual, customary and reasonable” (UCR) fee Calculation explained. for that kind of bridge.
Overall, the level of benefits provided for bridges are usually very similar to that allowed for dental crowns, which we explain in detail on this page.
Fees for replacement dental bridges.
Usually, the cost of a replacement bridge will be the same as what your dentist currently charges for new (initial placement) cases.
Even though less tooth preparation (trimming) will be required this time around, overall the amount of appointment time needed, and the total amount of expense that the dentist incurs (such as the dental laboratory’s bill for making your new restoration), will be essentially the same as with initial placement, hence the same fee is warranted.
Does dental insurance cover replacement bridges?
Insurance benefits for replacement bridges sometimes fall victim to policy exclusions and limitations. One common limitation is that a replacement bridge won’t be covered if the policy previously paid for the original bridge within a certain number of years.
A policy’s rules for bridges are usually fairly identical to those for dental crowns. We explain these types of restrictions in greater detail on this page.
How much does your dentist pay for your dental bridge?
Essentially no dentist actually makes the dental bridges they place. They instead take an impression of their patient’s teeth and forward it to a laboratory where a dental technician then fabricates it.
When compared to the fee you’re charged, the price your dentist pays the laboratory may seem quite small. You need to keep in mind however that this cost only makes up a portion of the total expense that your dentist incurs when they perform this procedure.
Estimates of dental laboratory fees for dental bridges: (Your dentist’s cost.)
- Porcelain-fused-to-metal (precious metal) - $135.00 to $175.00
- Porcelain-fused-to-metal (non-precious metal) - $80.00 to $140.00
- All-metal (precious metal/gold alloy) - $145.00 to $180.00
- All-metal (non-precious metal) - $85.00 to $135.00
- All-ceramic (e.g. Emax, Zirconia) - $100.00 to $170.00
- Maryland bridge (see below), porcelain/metal construction, replacing 1 tooth - $180.00 to $255.00
- Maryland bridge, porcelain/metal construction, additional tooth - $90.00 to $140.00
▲ Section references – LMTmag
Why are dental bridges so expensive?
The high fee associated with having a dental bridge placed is primarily due to two factors. 1) The cost of the “chair time” needed for the procedure. 2) The restoration’s lab bill.
- “Chair time” refers to the amount of time a dentist spends performing their patient’s dental work. Dental bridge procedures are some of the longest a dentist performs. And this procedure typically requires two visits (minimum) to complete the patient’s treatment. That occupies a lot of the dentist’s time and they must be compensated for that.
- Unlike most dental procedures, a dentist incurs a lab fee when a dental bridge is made (a bill from the dental technician who has fabricated the restoration). This can run on the order of 10% or so of the dentist’s fee. (See table above.)
Those two factors explain why the cost of dental bridges is so expensive.
2) Fees for Maryland dental bridges.
- One unit – Cast metal retainer.
$385.00 – $740.00
- One unit – Porcelain-fused-to-metal pontic.
$735.00 – $1340.00
Like conventional/traditional bridges, fees for Maryland bridges are determined on a per-unit basis.
The typical Maryland bridge.
The classic use of a Maryland bridge is to replace a single missing front tooth.
This would be considered to be a 3-unit bridge.
- Two of the units are “retainers” (the metal wings that are bonded to the teeth on each side of the space).
- The middle unit is the “pontic” (the porcelain-covered portion of the bridge that replaces the missing tooth).
Advantages and disadvantages of Maryland bridges.
The great advantage of replacing teeth with this type of bridge is that the natural teeth on each end don’t need to be trimmed nearly as much as with a conventional one (and, for the most part, only on their backside). Another advantage is that this type of bridge cost less.
The general disadvantage is one of longevity. As a general rule, traditional bridges tend to provide longer, more predictable service.
Fees for replacement Maryland bridges.
Just as with conventional bridges, the cost of a replacement Maryland bridge will usually be the same as what your dentist currently charges for new (initial placement) cases. Similar types of insurance restrictions will usually apply too (use link for details).
Page references sources:
LMTmag.com Crown & Bridge Restoration Fees.
Because the procedure estimates we show are developed by different means, you may find the survey of dental fees published by DentistryIQ an interesting independent source: DentistryIQ – 2017 dental fee analysis by region and CDT procedure code
All reference sources for topic Fixed Bridges.