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Dental Bridges

Dental Bridges St Albans

Dental bridges can replace missing teeth to restore your smile. If you have a missing tooth or more, you can opt for a dental bridge. Different types of bridges are available, and they all have their up and downsides.

You need to know the different types of bridges available, their cost, and alternative treatments if you want to make an informed decision to restore your missing teeth. This dental bridge guide answers all your questions about dental bridges, including their cost, the different types of dental bridges, the up and downsides of bridges, and potential problems from fitting a bridge.

Table of contents

  1. What are dental bridges?
  2. What are the benefits of dental bridges?
  3. Materials used to make dental bridges
    1. Only metal
    2. Only ceramic
    3. Porcelain fused to metal (PFM)
  4. Types of dental bridges
    1. Conventional fixed bridge
      1. Procedure for a traditional dental bridge
    2. Front teeth bridge
    3. Fixed-movable tooth bridge
    4. Cantilever bridge
    5. Bonded bridge (Maryland bridge)
  5. Dental bridges, dentures, and implants
    1. Teeth implants
    2. Implant-supported bridges
    3. Dentures
    4. Comparison between bridges, implants and crown/bridge, and partial dentures
  6. How much is a dental bridge in the UK?
    1. Are dental bridges available on the public healthcare service?
    2. What is the cost of a bridge on the public healthcare service?
    3. What is the cost of a dental bridge in private dental clinics in the UK?
    4. Cutting cost on dental bridges
  7. Possible problems from dental bridges
    1. Infection under the dental bridge
    2. Sensitivity under the dental bridge
    3. Food stuck under your dental bridge
    4. Metal at the base of the teeth
    5. Tight dental bridge
    6. Loose dental bridge
      1. How to your loose bridge at home
  8. Conclusion
  9. FAQs about dental bridges
    1. Can I remove my dental bridge?
    2. How long does getting a dental bridge require?
    3. Is a dental bridge procedure painful?
    4. How long will it take for the bridge to settle?
    5. How long does a bridge last?
    6. What should I do if I swallow my dental bridge?
    7. What types of dental bridges are available?
    8. How much does a Maryland bridge cost in the UK?
    9. How much does it cost to get a dental bridge for three teeth?
    10. How much does a four-unit dental bridge cost in the UK?

What are dental bridges?

Dental bridges are prosthetic devices that close the gap between two teeth. If you have a missing tooth or more due to decay or an accident, a dental bridge can replace the missing teeth and make your smile look beautiful again.

You may also decide to fit an implant-supported bridge if you have more than two missing teeth in a row.  

What are the benefits of dental bridges?

Losing your teeth has several effects on your oral health. It would affect the appearance and function of your teeth and alter your smile. You may also find chewing food and speaking properly difficult. Some people even suffer low self-esteem and feel embarrassed to smile when they have gaps from missing teeth.

Replacing your lost teeth can enhance your self-confidence and make your smile look better. A dental bridge offers you the following benefits

  • Prevents movement of the remaining teeth to cover the gap
  • Restore the natural shape of the face
  • It prevents you from dealing with removable partial dentures
  • Improves your eating and speaking ability
  • Relieves your bite from uneven stress

Materials used to make dental bridges

Dental bridges are available in the following materials and finishes.

  • Only metal

    Metal alloy bridges are the cheapest, but they do not look like your natural teeth. If your missing teeth are not visible, a metal bridge may be a suitable option
  • Only ceramic

    If made properly, zirconium, ceramic, and porcelain bridges look like natural teeth. This makes them a preferred material for replacing missing teeth in the front of the mouth, but ceramic bridges are more expensive because they require more laboratory work. 

    In the past, ceramic bridges were not strong, but they are more durable as the material used are stronger with modern technology.  
  • Porcelain fused to metal (PFM)

    This material is affordable and aesthetic. It strikes a balance between the strength of metal bridges and the aesthetic of ceramic bridges. However, it loses its appearance over time as the ceramic material wears off and exposes the metal.

    This bridge may not be as strong as pure ceramic. Choosing a material for your dental bridge may depend on the missing teeth' position and your budget.  

Types of dental bridges

Traditional dental bridges require adjacent teeth to serve as an anchor. You may decide to get a bonded or fixed bridge, depending on your preference.

  • Conventional fixed bridge

    It is the most common dental bridge because it provides a durable option for replacing adjacent missing teeth. It consists of a crown fitted on either side of one or more artificial teeth in the middle. The crowns are usually hollow and fitted over the surrounding teeth to hold the bridge in place.


You will find us at:

54 The Quadrant, St Albans, AL4 9RD

Procedure for a traditional dental bridge

For the dental restoration to fit properly, your dentist will file down the anchor teeth. The teeth to hold the bridge has to be strong to support your dental bridge. Your dentist may need to carry out a root canal treatment on the supporting teeth before removing a small part of the enamel.

After your dentist prepares the anchor teeth, they will take your teeth impressions and send them to the lab to make your bridge. Your dentist will fit a temporary crown or bridge to protect your exposed gums and teeth during the appointment. When your permanent bridge is available, you will have an appointment for the dentist to fit the bridge. If the bridge fits properly, your dentist will hold it in place with a strong adhesive material or dental cement. You need to visit the dentist after the fitting to check your dental bridge.

A downside of fitting a dental bridge is that two of your healthy teeth would be affected, and if you decide to swap your dental bridge for implants, you would have to fit crowns on the affected teeth. You also have to be careful while flossing and brushing around the bridge area. Water floss is a better alternative because it makes the cleaning process easier, more effective, and faster.

Besides these downsides, a fixed bridge is perfect for replacing missing teeth, and you can get porcelain or ceramic bridge.

  • Front teeth bridge

    The front teeth bridge requires two crowns on either side of the bridge because the incisors are under a lot of biting pressure. A five or six-unit dental bridge can close a missing tooth or two.

    If you've lost a front tooth or need to remove one or two of your front teeth, your dentist may suggest front teeth bridge and help you choose a suitable type.
  • Fixed-movable tooth bridge 

    A fixed movable tooth bridge needs to be anchored on the surrounding teeth, but the fixture between the supporting teeth and bridge is not rigid. The dentist will place this bridge to allow a small vertical movement that exerts less pressure on the supporting teeth. It also requires less tooth preparation.
  • Cantilever bridge

    Like the conventional dental bridge, a cantilever bridge needs to be attached to a crown on only one adjacent tooth. You can use a cantilever bridge when you have only one natural tooth close to the missing tooth.

    An advantage of a cantilever bridge is that it only requires drilling one healthy tooth, but they are not as strong as traditional bridges that require two adjacent teeth to provide support. A cantilever bridge places extra pressure on the tooth, supporting it, which causes more dental problems in the future. This makes a cantilever bridge unsuitable for replacing teeth close to the biting and chewing areas.
  • Bonded bridge (Maryland bridge)

    If you want to replace one missing tooth, your dentist may suggest a Maryland bridge called a resin-bonded bridge. A bonded bridge does not require support from the adjacent teeth but has porcelain or metal wings on each side which the dentist bonds on the inner edges of the adjacent teeth.

    This dental bridge preserves the adjacent teeth but is not as durable as the fixed bridge. After a while, the adhesive used to hold the bridge in place becomes weak and causes the bridge to become loose and break off.

    Regardless of the type of dental bridge you use, it only replaces the lost crown, leaving the tooth root empty. This can lead to receding jawbone over time, causing the face to sag. If you decide to get dental implants after some time, you may need a bone graft before the implant placement. The potential loss of the jawbone is a major downside of using a dental bridge.

Dental bridges, dentures, and implants

Dental bridges, implants and dentures are restorative dental treatments for missing teeth. They all have their advantages which make them good alternatives and their downsides.  

Teeth implants

Implants are dental restorations placed in the jawbone to serve as the root of a missing tooth. These implants are biocompatible and made from titanium. They do not cause allergic reactions, and the body is less likely to reject them.

After placing the dental implant in the jawbone, the dentist will fit an abutment that would hold the dental restoration, such as a crown or denture.

The following are some advantages of a dental implant over a bridge.

  • It does not require filing down healthy teeth
  • It is easy to maintain your oral health as the risk of gum disease, and tooth decay is less
  • It preserves the structure of the jawbone and face shape
  • It is a more durable dental solution

On the flip side, implants require a surgical procedure for placement which is more expensive than getting a dental bridge. However, if you consider implants' durability and the convenience they offer, implants would be a better investment.

Another thing you should consider before getting a dental implant is the treatment time. Getting traditional dental implants requires several months because the implants need time to fuse with your jawbone before attaching the crown and abutment. Some patients find the wait time long and prefer to get a dental bridge.

If you had an injury or mouth trauma, you might have to wait for it to heal before the dental implant procedure.  

Implant-supported bridges

Patients with several missing teeth in one row or unhealthy teeth that cannot serve as an anchor for a bridge can opt for an implant-supported bridge. Your dentist can fit the implant then place the bridge instead of using the adjacent teeth and an anchor. The bridge usually has two crowns and a pontic or two.

This dental restoration option is more affordable than fitting a dental implant for each missing tooth.


Most people refer to dentures as false teeth. Dentures have one or more prosthetic teeth in a plastic or metal frame attached to the natural teeth. Different types of dentures made with flexible material are now available.

Dentures can be custom-made to replace any missing teeth and are the most affordable option for teeth replacement, particularly partial dentures. However, living with dentures is uncomfortable, and certain foods can dislodge and damage them. They also require special cleaning.

The mouth changes over time, especially when you have missing teeth. This means that your denture would only last for a couple of years before they become loose and need replacement. If you do not replace your dentures, they could cause mouth sores, make you uncomfortable, and possibly slip out when you talk, laugh or eat.

Comparison between Bridges, Implants and Crown/Bridge, and Partial Dentures

Dental restoration Dental bridges Dental implant and crown/bridge Dentures
Permanency Anchored by adjacent tooth and not removable Placed in the jaw bone and remains in place Removable
Longevity 6 – 15 years, sometime longer 20 years or more 5 – 10 years
Comfort Feel like the natural teeth, if fitted properly Similar to the natural teeth May become loose after a while, leading to discomfort
Appearance It looks like the natural teeth, except those made with metal It looks like the natural teeth It looks artificial, and the metal clips will be visible
Function Similar to the natural teeth Works like the natural teeth Requires special cleaning and some food restrictions
Private cost Medium High Low
Other up and downsides Requires filling down the adjacent teeth to hold it in place Requires surgery and has a small risk of infection Easily gets lost or damaged and can clip out


To get the most suitable dental restoration to replace your missing teeth, you need to visit your dentist to examine your teeth.

How much is a dental bridge in the UK?

Dental bridges in the UK have varying cost, but you would spend between £1550 - £3,200. Although the price range of a dental bridge is high, it depends on the following.

  • The type of bridge you need
  • Getting it a private or public healthcare dentist
  • The material used to make the bridge
  • Whether you need a three or four-unit dental bridge

During your dental bridge consultation, the dentist will give you a personalised cost for your treatment after examining your teeth and determining the treatment you need to get the dental bridge.


You will find us at:

54 The Quadrant, St Albans, AL4 9RD

Are dental bridges available on the public healthcare service?

Yes, dental bridges are available on the public healthcare service. The public healthcare service offers dental bridges as one of the teeth replacement options. You can get a partial denture or tooth bridge on the public health care service if you have one or more missing teeth. Your dentist will help recommend the most suitable options.

However, you can't choose a preferred material for a dental bridge on the public healthcare service. The dentist will select the most suitable material for you. You may get porcelain fused to a metal (PFM) bridge for your front teeth on the public health care service and either an all-metal or PFM for the back teeth.  

If you need a tooth-coloured dental bridge, you would have to pay for it privately.  

What is the cost of a dental bridge in private dental clinics in the UK?

Private dental clinics usually charge for each unit of a fixed dental bridge. You will need a three-unit bridge to replace a missing tooth, except you need a cantilever bridge with two units and a four-unit bridge for replacing two missing teeth.

Getting a dental bridge at a private dentist is more expensive, but you can choose a preferred material and don't have to wait for long like the NHS.

This table gives the approximate cost of different dental bridges at a private practice.

Type of dental bridge The average cost in a private clinic
Traditional fixed bridge and crown £550 - £800 for a unit
Bonded bridge £550 - £1000
Implant-supported bridges, consisting of two implants and a three-unit bridge From £4500


Implant-supported bridges are the most expensive, but they are more durable and provide a long-lasting solution for replacing missing teeth.

Cutting cost on dental bridges

You can save money on dental bridges, especially if you want to get an implant-supported bridge without going abroad for the treatment. Dental bridges and other dental procedures are about 50 – 70% less in some countries like Turkey, and the standard of treatment is usually higher than in the UK.  

In the UK, some dental insurance plans cover dental bridges. If you have dental insurance, check if it covers your dental bridge treatment, helping to reduce your treatment cost.

However, most dental insurance policies have a waiting period before you can claim dental restorative treatment such as dental bridges. The waiting period for some insurance providers ranges from three to six months and 12 months.

Another option is taking a dental loan to fund your dental bridge treatment or credit card if you can't wait to save up for your treatment.

Possible problems from dental bridges

A dental bridge is a suitable option for replacing missing teeth, but some complications may occur, like in any other dental treatment. The following are common problems that could occur from fitting dental bridges

  • Infection under the dental bridge

The common cause of infection under a dental bridge include:

  • A poorly fitted bridge which causes irritation
  • Decay in the adjacent teeth
  • Poor dental hygiene

After you get a dental bridge, your dentist will advise you on the right ways to clean your teeth. Adhering to your dentist's advice can prevent infection of the teeth close to your bridge. If you think you have an infected bridge, contact your dentist and schedule an appointment before it causes a severe dental problem, like a dental abscess.

  • Sensitivity under the dental bridge

    After you get a dental bridge, your gums and mouth will need time to get used to your teeth's new shape, so you might experience mild sensitivity around the teeth and gums for some days. The sensitivity is more likely to occur if you had a root canal treatment before the bridge.

    If the tooth sensitivity persists after a few weeks, you need to see your dentist because there may be an issue with the tooth bridge placement. You also see your dentist if you experience sensitivity under an old implant.
  • Food stuck under your dental bridge

    Cleaning around your dental bridge requires extra care because food can get stuck between your gum and the pontic. This can be uncomfortable and serve as a breeding ground for bacteria to cause tooth decay. Water floss can easily remove food particles stuck under your dental bridge.
  • Metal at the base of the teeth

    A disadvantage of using a porcelain fused metal bridge is the wear and tear that occurs over time to reveal a line of metal on your gum line. The visible metal doesn't mean the bridge is damaged, but it is unattractive, especially if you have the bridge fitted in place of your missing front teeth.

    You may need to change the bridge, depending on the condition of the PFM bridge. Getting a ceramic bridge can help avoid this problem.
  • Tight dental bridge

    Your mouth needs some time to adjust to the dental bridge gradually. During the adjusting time, the bridge may feel tight and put extra pressure on your teeth. However, if the bridge still feels tight after a week, contact your dentist.
  • Loose dental bridge

    If the bridge feels loose after the fitting, you need to visit your dentist to re-cement it. Ensure you schedule an appointment immediately if the dental bridge moves around to prevent damage to your teeth. 

    After a while, the cement holding your dental bridge may become weak and make your bridge loose and fall out. If the supporting teeth are healthy, your dentist will re-cement the bridge. Otherwise, you will get a new bridge.

How to your loose bridge at home

Dental bridge glues are available online, and following the instructions can keep your bridge in place for a longer time. Using dental glue at home to secure your bridge may not be as effective as getting it done at a dentist, but it offers a temporary solution before you visit the dentist.


Replacing your missing teeth shouldn't be a problem as different options are available in public healthcare and private clinics. A dental bridge is a quick solution to replace your missing teeth, and it gives a natural-looking result.

Different types of bridges are available to choose from, depending on your budget and your missing teeth's position. You also have other tooth replacement options like implants and dentures. Implants provide a longer-lasting solution and preserve the jawbone structure to prevent bone loss and facial sagging, but they are more expensive.

If you need dental bridges, you can visit our Dentist St Albans today at St Albans Dental Clinic. You can also contact our dental clinic now for more information about dental bridges.

FAQs about dental bridges

No, you can't. The dentist permanently fixes the dental bridge to the adjacent teeth. If the bridge fits poorly, your dentist will have to remove it and re-cement it, but you can remove a denture.

It takes a couple of hours to some weeks to fit a dental bridge, depending on the technology your dentist will use. It requires at least two appointments, but you would get a temporary bridge while waiting for the permanent ones.

You need a local anaesthetic during the bridge placement, but you may experience slight discomfort during the procedure and when you get the injection. The bridge may cause temporary sensitivity or pain for some days after the procedure.

The dental bridge will feel strange in your mouth for a few days as your mouth gradually gets used to it. You may experience gum and teeth sensitivity during this time. However, if the bridge causes severe pain, contact your dentist.

With proper care, a dental bridge can also for 10 – 15 years, and sometimes more. A study showed that about 72% of people with traditional bridges had their abutment after ten years, close to the dental crown percentage.

After some years, the material begins to deteriorate, increasing tooth decay's risk on the supporting teeth. During your dental check-ups, your dentist will check the bridge to determine if it needs a replacement.

Replacing a dental bridge in the future may cost more, so you may want to consider dental implants, which can last a lifetime.

If your bridge gets loose while you sleep or eat, you might swallow it accidentally. Most people who swallow their dental bridge pass it out without problems. However, you may need to see a doctor if you do not pass it out after 2 – 3 days because it may be stuck in your digestive system, which can cause different problems.

Conventional fixed dental bridges are available, supported by the adjacent teeth and a cantilever bridge that requires one supporting tooth. Maryland bridges are also available, which have wings attached to the back of the teeth.

Resin-bonded Maryland bridges cost about £550 - £1000. They are more affordable than conventional bridges because they require only a false tooth.

A three-unit dental bridge can replace a missing tooth. The other two units of the bridge are for retaining it. It cost between £1550 - £2,400.

If you want to replace three missing teeth, you might need an implant-supported bridge, which is more durable and costs from £4500.

A four-unit dental bridge can replace two missing teeth. It costs between £2000 - £3200, depending on the type you get.