Dental Bridge Costs, Types and More (UK Tooth Bridge Guide)

Are you considering a dental bridge to replace one or two missing teeth and restore your smile? In that case, you will need to be aware of the different types, such as cantilever and Maryland bridges, each of which has its pros and cons.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the various options and alternative treatments like dentures and implants, so you can make a more informed decision about which one is right for you. Of course, you’ll also want to know how much a dental bridge costs in the uk, either on the nhs or privately.

Reading: How much do dental bridges cost with insurance

Then, read on for answers to common questions about dental bridges, including:

  • what is a dental bridge?
  • what is the difference between a traditional fixed bridge and a bonded bridge?
  • can I get a dental bridge for front teeth?
  • what is the difference between a dental bridge, an implant and a dental prosthesis?
  • what are the advantages and disadvantages of these different options?
  • how much does a dental bridge cost in the uk?
  • how do i get a dental bridge on the nhs?
  • what possible dental bridge problems could i experience?

We’ve made this guide to dental bridges as comprehensive as possible so you can find all the information you need in one place. We hope this will help you decide if a dental bridge is the best dental restoration for you.

what is a dental bridge?

We can define a dental bridge as a type of dental prosthesis that literally builds a bridge between two teeth. If you’ve lost a tooth or two to cavities or an accident, a bridge can make your smile whole again.

where more than two teeth are missing in a row, an implant-supported bridge may be an option; we’ll talk later.

materials for dental bridges

Dental bridges come in a variety of materials and finishes. Here’s a quick look at the pros and cons of each:

metal only

Metal alloys are usually the most economical option, but they have the obvious disadvantage that they don’t look anything like natural teeth. If the retainer and pontic won’t be too visible when you smile, a metal dental bridge might be a good option.

ceramic only

Porcelain, ceramic and zirconia bridges, when properly made, look exactly like natural teeth. therefore, they are the preferred materials for a front tooth bridge. however, they cost much more due to the materials and lab work involved.

When first introduced, ceramic bridges suffered from a lack of durability. but thanks to modern technology and materials used in dentistry, they have become much stronger.

emax bridges are slightly stronger than other all-ceramic bridges because they are made from a single block of lithium disilicate ceramic. this material is more aesthetic and natural looking than others due to its slightly translucent appearance. Learn more about these types of crowns and bridges in our comprehensive guide here.

porcelain fused to metal (pfm)

A solution that balances cost with appearance is a bridge made of ceramic or porcelain fused to a metal base (as shown in the image). this type of bridge can lose its cosmetic appearance over time as the ceramic thins and exposes the metal underneath.

a pfm bridge may not be as strong as pure ceramic. The best material for your dental restoration will depend on your budget and the position of the missing teeth.

types of dental bridges

Traditional dental bridges use the adjacent teeth as anchors for the prosthesis. There are two ways to place a bridge on existing teeth: fixed or cemented.

conventional fixed bridge

A fixed bridge is the most common type of dental bridge as it provides a strong and durable way to replace one or two adjacent teeth.

The prosthesis used for a fixed bridge consists of a crown on each side and one or two pontics (artificial teeth) in between. crowns are hollow and fit over neighboring teeth to secure the bridge in place.

traditional dental bridge procedure

In order for crowns to fit properly, the anchor teeth must be filed down from their original size as part of the dental bridge procedure. these two teeth have to be strong enough to support the bridge and withstand the extra biting pressure. Dentists may root the anchor teeth before removing the necessary amount of enamel.

After preparing the anchor teeth, the next step in the dental bridge procedure is to take a dental impression. this is sent to a lab where your bridge is made precisely to order. In the meantime, your dentist may provide you with a temporary dental bridge or crowns to protect your exposed teeth and gums.

The following video shows how many steps are involved in building dental bridges in the laboratory:

Once your permanent bridge is ready, your dentist will place it in your mouth and ask you to taste how it feels. As long as you’re happy with the fit, your dentist will fix it with a strong dental cement. additional visits are sometimes required to improve the fit, but not always.

The main drawback of a fixed bridge is having to “sacrifice” two healthy teeth. if you later decide to replace your dental bridge with an implant, the adjacent teeth will require crowns as the removal of enamel is permanent.

You’ll also need to take special care when cleaning and flossing around your bridge. flossing can make the process faster, easier, and more effective.

other than that, a fixed bridge is a strong and durable solution. If you opt for a ceramic or porcelain bridge, no one should notice that your teeth are not natural.

front teeth bridge

A dental bridge for the front teeth may require two crowns on each side, since the bite pressure on the front incisors is very great. the result is a five or six unit dental bridge to replace one or two teeth.

If you are missing one or more front teeth, or if you have been told you need to have your teeth removed, your dentist will be able to advise you on the best type of front dental bridge for you.

fixed-mobile dental bridge

The traditional bridge type described above is sometimes called fixed-fixed to differentiate it from fixed-mobile. a fixed-mobile bridge is still anchored in place, but the junctions between the retaining teeth and the pontic are not rigid. By allowing a small amount of vertical movement, less pressure is put on the supporting teeth. less tooth preparation may also be required.

cantilever bridge

Just like a traditional dental bridge, a cantilever bridge is fixed via a crown on just one of the adjacent teeth. this type of bridge can be used when there is only one natural tooth next to the missing tooth.

One benefit of cantilever bridges is that they only require a sound tooth to be drilled into one abutment. on the other hand, they are not as strong as a bridge with two supporting crowns. they can put extra pressure on the supporting tooth, leading to more problems later on. As such, cantilever bridges are generally not used in places that take a lot of pressure from biting and chewing.

bonded bridge (maryland bridge)

When there is only one tooth to replace, your dentist may place a resin-bonded bridge (also called a maryland bridge).

Instead of being placed over adjacent teeth with crowns, this type of bridge has metal or porcelain “wings” on each side that attach to the inner edge of the adjacent teeth.

Of course, a cemented bridge has the advantage of preserving healthy adjacent teeth. the main drawback is that it will not be as strong as a fixed bridge. Over time, the adhesive that holds it in place can weaken, causing the bridge to break or loosen.

With any type of dental bridge, only the crown of the tooth is replaced. the root remains absent, and this can cause the jaw to retract over time.

In the long term, this can cause sagging around the face. if you choose to have implants at a later date, you may need a bone graft first. this is really the main dental bridge problem that patients need to be aware of.

dental bridge vs implant vs denture

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Dental bridges, implants and dentures are all dental solutions for the replacement of missing teeth. each offers advantages and disadvantages over the others, which we have summarized below.

dental implants

Dental implants are placed directly into the jawbone, where the root of the tooth would have been. they are usually made of titanium, a very strong material that is biocompatible with our body (meaning there should be no allergic reaction or rejection of the implant).

An abutment is attached to the implant, and this is what holds the crown (the replacement tooth) in place.

The main benefits of implants over bridges are:

  • they do not affect adjacent teeth
  • they are a more durable solution and can last a lifetime
  • it is easier to maintain good oral hygiene with an implant (less chances of tooth decay and gum disease)
  • help maintain jaw structure and face shape

The downside is that implants require some surgery and are more expensive than a bridge placed over your teeth. however, when you factor in the lifetime cost and inconvenience of replacing your dental bridge, an implant may be a good long-term investment.

Treatment time is another consideration for some patients. The process of placing a traditional dental implant takes several months, as the implant needs time to settle and fuse with the bone before the abutment and crown are bonded. for some patients this is too long to wait, so a bridge is the best solution.

If you are missing a tooth due to trauma, it may need more time to heal before the implant process begins.

The following animation shows the process for placing a 3-unit bridge compared to a single tooth implant:

implant-supported bridges

For patients who are missing several teeth in a row or whose remaining teeth are not healthy enough to use as anchors, bridge implants may be an option. dentists can install implants instead of anchor teeth and then place a bridge (made of two crowns and one or two pontics) over them.

This option is more cost-effective than replacing each tooth with an individual implant, as it uses fewer implants.

false teeth

Dentures are what most people think of as “false teeth.” They consist of one or more prosthetic teeth, traditionally attached to a frame made of plastic and metal that clips around existing teeth. newer flexible denture materials are also available.

The versatility of dentures means they can fit any number of healthy remaining teeth.

Although the costs of partial dentures are quite low, making them the most affordable option when it comes to replacing a missing tooth, they are also the least convenient to live with. They require special cleaning and can be damaged or shed by certain foods.

Because of the way our mouths change over time (especially when teeth are missing), dentures may only last a few years before becoming loose. if not replaced, they can become uncomfortable and cause mouth sores. there is also the possibility that they will slip out in the middle of the conversation.

comparing the options

Below is a comparison table of the tooth replacement options described above:

Again, remember that the best way to determine which solution is right for you is to consult with your dentist. You can also chat with a dentist online to ask any questions you have and discuss your treatment options. visit justanswer now to connect with one of their us based dental professionals. uu. that can help you figure out what’s best for you, without the inconvenience of a dental appointment.

how much does a dental bridge cost in the uk?

The cost of a dental bridge in the UK ranges from £280 to £3,200, on average. that’s a big price difference, but it all depends on:

  • if you see a private or nhs dentist
  • if you get a 3 or 4 unit bridge
  • the materials used
  • the type of placed bridge

You’ll need to speak with your local practice and perhaps have a consultation before you can get a personalized dental bridge cost estimate. Your dentist will likely want to review your mouth and the condition of your remaining teeth before confirming your treatment plan.

so we can’t tell you the exact cost of a dental bridge in the uk, but there is more information below to help you estimate the cost of your treatment.

can you get a dental bridge on the nhs?

yes, dental bridges are one of the tooth replacement treatments offered on the nhs. If you are missing one or more teeth, you may be offered a dental bridge or partial denture. your dentist will advise you on the most appropriate solution.

One drawback of nhs dental bridges is that you won’t be able to choose between materials. your dentist will select the most clinically appropriate material. A dental bridge for the front teeth on the NHS will likely be made of porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM), giving it a tooth-colored appearance. for posterior teeth, pfm or all-metal bridges may be offered.

If your nhs dentist only offers you a metal dental bridge and you prefer a tooth-coloured one, you will have to pay for private treatment.

how much does an nhs bridge cost?

the cost of a dental bridge with a nhs dentist is £282.80 in england: band 3 treatment charge. this price remains fixed regardless of how many teeth there are treaty; See full nhs dental prices in the uk. however, only certain types of dental bridges are included in the nhs treatment.

If you cannot find an nhs dentist who accepts patients, or you are not eligible for nhs treatment for any reason, you can visit a private dentist to get a bridge for your teeth.

how much does a bridge cost at a private dentist in the uk?

Private dentists typically charge a unit charge for fixed bridges. if you’re replacing one tooth, you’ll need a three-unit bridge, unless you’re eligible for a cantilever bridge that requires only two, and replacing two teeth will require four units.

Although private treatment may be more expensive, you’ll have more choice about the materials used and you won’t have to deal with nhs waiting times.

The table below gives you an idea of ​​what you can expect to pay for different types of bridges with a UK private dentist:

As you can see, the cost of a dental implant bridge is usually the highest. but because implants are a long-lasting solution, they can be more cost-effective over the life of the restoration.

save money on dental bridge costs

One way to save money on dental bridges, especially if you are having implants, is to go abroad for dental treatment. Costs for dental bridges and other dental care can be 50-70% lower in countries like Hungary and Turkey, but the level of care is often better than what you’re used to at home.

dental bridges are also often covered by dental insurance policies in the uk. If you already have insurance, check to see if your provider will make a contribution to the costs of your dental bridge.

Our guide to dental insurance explains more about the options and what to consider when buying insurance. Please note that many policies have a waiting period that applies before you can claim restorative treatment such as dental bridges. this could be 3, 6, or 12 months, for example, so only continue if you’re willing to wait that long before getting treatment.

A dental loan or credit card can help you finance your dental work if you don’t want to wait while you save to get it done.

possible dental bridge problems

Although dental bridges are a great way to replace missing teeth, of course complications can occur, just like with any type of dental treatment. If you’re concerned about the risks of dental bridges, here are some of the common dental bridge problems you may encounter.

infection under the dental bridge

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There are three main causes of infection under and around a dental bridge:

  1. poor oral hygiene
  2. an ill-fitting bridge that irritates the gums
  3. caries in supporting teeth

When your dental bridge is first placed, your dentist will advise you on how to keep it clean. following this advice will help you avoid complications with infection in the surrounding teeth. If you think your dental bridge is infected, see your dentist before it turns into something more serious, like an oral abscess.

sensitivity under the dental bridge

Your mouth and gums need to get used to the shape of your new teeth, so it’s normal to feel some tenderness around your teeth and gums for a few days after getting a dental bridge. this is especially true if you also had a root canal.

If the sensitivity persists for more than a couple of weeks, it may be due to a problem with the placement of the dental bridge. It is best to visit your dentist so that he can assess the situation. Also see your dentist if you start to experience tenderness or pain under an old dental bridge.

food trapped under the dental bridge

You will need to be very careful when cleaning around your dental bridge, as food can get stuck in the small spaces between the pontic and the gum. this is not only uncomfortable; it will soon start to smell bad and breed bacteria that cause cavities.

Flossing will help dislodge any food trapped under your dental bridge. The Waterpik Ultra, for example, is a popular model that is gentle yet effective for cleaning around dental crowns and bridges.

metal that appears at the base of the teeth

One of the downsides of a porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) bridge is that over time, the porcelain can wear away and reveal a metal line at the gum line. this is not necessarily a sign that there is something wrong with the bridge, but it can be unsightly, especially with the front teeth.

Your dentist can advise you on the best course of action, based on the overall condition of your bridge. If you want to avoid this problem, opt for an all-ceramic dental bridge instead of one that contains metal.

dental bridge feels tight

It will take some time to get used to the feel of your new dental bridge. it may feel tight, even painful, at first because there is extra pressure on the supporting teeth. If this feeling doesn’t subside after a week or so, don’t hesitate to tell your dentist.

dental bridge feels loose

If your dental bridge feels loose immediately after placement, your dentist will need to re-cement it. If you feel your dental bridge move, schedule an appointment right away so it can be fixed before any damage is done.

Over time, the dental cement that holds a dental bridge in place will begin to fail and this can cause an old bridge to feel loose or even fall off. it may be possible to re-cement if the supporting teeth are still in good condition; otherwise it will have to be replaced.

how to fix a loose dental bridge at home

You can buy dental bridge repair glue online, like this glass ionomer cement. follow the instructions carefully and it could be enough to keep a bridge or crown in place for several months.

A customer shares her experience with this product: “My bridge came off the day after the dentists closed for lockdown. Not knowing how long it would last, I decided to take the situation into my own hands. thank god i did it! The kit is very simple and easy to use. the bridge hasn’t moved since it was replaced. very satisfied with the results.”

Using dental glue to fix the bridge at home is rarely as effective as getting professional treatment. just use this as a temporary solution while you wait to see your dentist.


Since both dentures and bridges are covered by the nhs for uk patients, getting a denture doesn’t have to break the bank. For those who want a natural-looking, permanent way to fill a gap between their teeth, a dental bridge may be the best option. once in place, you can forget that it’s not one of your natural teeth (except by taking extra care to clean it).

There are various types of dental bridges available in the UK. You may have a preference based on price or procedure, but ultimately your dentist will decide the best solution given the position of your missing teeth.

Implants are an even more durable solution and help preserve the patient’s jawbone and facial shape. however, implants are only available privately, so they cost much more. Fortunately, there are ways to save money on dental implants if this is your preferred option. You can read more about dental bridges vs implants in our separate guide.

Still have questions about your treatment options? Check out our FAQs below or contact a qualified Justanswer dentist for professional advice. their dentists are located in the usa but they are available 24/7 to answer your questions quickly.

frequently asked questions about the dental bridge

Can a dental bridge be removed?

No, a dental bridge is designed to be fixed in place permanently. If your dental bridge doesn’t fit well, your dentist may be able to remove it and re-cement it for a better fit. dentures, on the other hand, can be removed at any time.

how long does it take to get a dental bridge?

Depending on the technology your dentist uses, it can take a few hours or a few weeks to make a dental bridge. You will need at least two appointments with your dentist for the procedure. If getting your new false tooth bridge quickly is important, check with some dentists about processing time.

Is it painful to get a dental bridge?

The dental bridge procedure itself will be performed under local anesthesia. You may experience some discomfort from the injection and during the procedure, but it shouldn’t hurt at all.

However, you may experience temporary pain or tenderness in the dental bridge for a few days after the procedure.

how long does it take for a dental bridge to settle?

Your new bridge may feel strange for a few days or weeks until your mouth gets used to it. during this time you may experience sensitive teeth and gums, but talk to your dentist if it doesn’t resolve over time.

If you are experiencing severe pain or your bridge is affecting your natural bite, tell your dentist as soon as possible.

how long does a dental bridge last?

If all goes well, a dental bridge can last 10-15 years or more. a study of 80,000 patients found that 72% of conventional dental bridge abutments survived more than 10 years. this is about the same survival rate as dental crowns. after this time, the materials begin to deteriorate and the supporting teeth are at increased risk of caries. Your dentist will check your bridge at your dental checkups and let you know when it needs to be replaced.

The cost of replacing a dental bridge can increase over the years, so you might consider investing in dental implants. implants last much longer, possibly a lifetime, so may be more cost-effective in the long run.

what should i do if i swallowed my dental bridge?

If a dental bridge becomes loose while eating or sleeping, it can be accidentally swallowed. don’t worry, you’re certainly not the first or the last to do this.

Many people who swallow a dental bridge find that it passes naturally without any problems. however, it’s best to visit your doctor, especially if nothing has come up after 2 or 3 days, because it can get stuck in your digestive system and lead to more serious problems.

what are the different types of dental bridges?

A conventional fixed bridge sits on two retaining teeth, while a cantilever bridge uses only one. A maryland jumper (attached) is attached via “wings” on the back. other types are used less frequently. we have more details on each of these further up the page.

how much does a maryland bridge cost in the uk?

A resin-bonded maryland bridge costs between £350 and £1,000 on average. It only requires one false tooth, making it a cheaper option than a traditional bridge.

how much does a dental bridge cost for 3 teeth?

A 3-tooth dental bridge is designed to replace a missing tooth; the other two units are the retainers that are placed on the natural teeth. this type of bridge costs between £750 and £2400 depending on the materials used.

If you need to replace three missing teeth in a row, an implant bridge might be a better option. this will cost £3500 or more but is a more durable solution.

how much does a 4 tooth bridge cost in the uk?

A 4-unit dental bridge to replace two missing teeth will cost between £1,000 and £3,200, depending on whether it’s made of metal or porcelain, and which dental office you go to.

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