How long does a dental bridge last?” is an excellent question to ask if you have missing teeth and are considering getting a dental bridge

Other common questions people have regarding dental bridges are:

  • What is a bridge for your teeth?
  • How does a tooth bridge work?
  • How long does a dental bridge take to heal?

A dental bridge is a procedure dentists use to replace missing teeth in someone’s mouth. It’s a simple and effective way to fill in holes and restore mouth function.

However, there are specific requirements to receive a fixed bridge and ensure it functions properly, like having healthy teeth and a good oral health routine. Cost is also an essential factor to consider when looking into bridges, as certain bridges and materials may be more expensive than others.

If you’re wondering what a dental bridge is and what’s involved in the procedure, you’re in the right place.

In this article, we’re providing an overview of dental bridges to replace missing teeth by answering some of the top questions about dental bridges.

Keep reading to learn “How is a dental bridge procedure done?” and “How long do dental bridges usually last?”

An Overview of Dental Bridges to Replace Missing Teeth

Missing teeth can affect mouth functions like chewing and speaking. Fortunately, there are dental procedures that can help replace missing teeth.

One of the most common fixes for missing teeth is a dental bridge.

Here are answers to five of the top questions regarding fixed bridges.

1. What Is a Bridge For Your Teeth?

A dental bridge is a tool dentists use to replace missing teeth. It usually consists of one false tooth (called a pontic) in between two abutments (generally healthy, natural teeth on either side of the hole) that hold the false tooth in place.

Dental bridges are often made of porcelain, and dentists make them look and feel like natural teeth. Once the bridge is in place, it will help restore normal mouth function and the aesthetic look of your smile.

There are three main types of bridges:

  • Traditional
  • Cantilever
  • Maryland
  • Implant-supported dental bridge 

Here’s a quick rundown of each type of fixed bridge.

Traditional Bridge

A traditional bridge is the most common type of bridge. It requires that your missing tooth has healthy, natural teeth on either side of the missing tooth gap. These natural teeth act as the abutments (anchors) that hold the new tooth in place.

The false tooth is placed between and attached to two crowns (tooth-like caps placed over natural teeth). With the crowns placed over the two healthy teeth, the false tooth will sit in the gap where the missing tooth used to be. 

Cantilever Bridge

A cantilever bridge is similar to a traditional bridge, except that a cantilever bridge only uses one healthy tooth next to the missing tooth hole.

The false tooth is attached to one crown, and the crown is placed overtop the healthy tooth to position the false tooth in the gap.

Because cantilever bridges only use one healthy tooth as an abutment, they’re slightly weaker than traditional bridges. Therefore, dentists use cantilever bridges for front teeth instead of molars.

Maryland Bridge

Maryland bridges are the third type of bridge. Like cantilever bridges, they’re weaker than traditional bridges and are used to replace front teeth.

But unlike traditional and cantilever fixed bridges, Maryland bridges don’t use crowns. Instead, the false tooth in a Maryland bridge has two “wings” attached to it. When the false tooth is in position, the metal wings will connect to the back of adjacent healthy teeth.

Implant-supported Dental Bridge

An implant-supported dental bridge is the strongest of the four dental bridge types. They’re similar to a traditional or cantilever bridge, except that implant-supported dental bridges use dental implants instead of natural teeth as the anchor. 

Dental implants replace an entire healthy tooth by:

  • Inserting a metal screw into the jawbone to act as the tooth root
  • Fixing a fake tooth to the top of the metal screw

Sometimes an implant-supported dental bridge requires only one dental implant for support. Other times, dentists may place a pontic between two dental implants.

The type of bridge that’s right for you will depend on your unique situation and overall oral health. Scheduling a consultation with your dentist is a great way to get a professional opinion regarding a dental bridge procedure.

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2. How Is a Dental Bridge Procedure Done?

Now that you know the kinds of bridges, are you wondering what getting a dental bridge looks like?

A dental bridge procedure is quite simple and often painless. However, it does generally take two appointments:

  1. Prepare your mouth and teeth for the bridge, and receive a temporary tooth bridge
  2. Place and fix the permanent bridge in its proper position

For a traditional or cantilever bridge, your dentist will shave down the enamel on your natural teeth to prepare them for the crown. Once your fixed bridge is ready, you’ll return to the dentist and receive your new bridge.

A Maryland bridge doesn’t require as much preparation as a cantilever or traditional bridge. Only a small amount of enamel is removed from the adjacent teeth for the metal wing placement. You’ll still need to wait for the bridge to be made, but once it’s complete, you’ll make an appointment and get the permanent bridge placed.

Finally, an implant-supported bridge requires that the dentist first place the metal screws for the fake teeth into your jaw. Then, your dentist can fabricate the bridge and fix it into position.

Once the permanent dental bridge is in place, your dentist may require you to come back for a follow-up visit to check the bridge to ensure it’s functioning correctly.

3. How Long Does a Dental Bridge Take to Heal?

The post-procedure process differs depending on the type of bridge you get.

With a traditional, cantilever, or Maryland bridge, you may experience slight discomfort and increased sensitivity for a few days after the procedure. However, there’s rarely any recovery time needed. You can put your new bridge to use directly following the procedure.

If you need a dental implant, the associated pain may be more intense and the healing time will be longer. A dental implant is a surgical procedure that requires drilling into your jawbone to secure the metal screw. But once your bone heals and the bridge is placed, you can start using your mouth normally.

4. How Long Does a Dental Bridge Last?

Many people looking into a dental bridge procedure want to know “How long do dental bridges usually last?” and “Can a dental bridge last a lifetime?”

The main determining factor in a bridge’s lifetime is oral hygiene habits. The better you take care of your teeth and avoid problem foods (hard objects, like hard candy, ice, etc.), the longer your bridge will last.

Good oral hygiene includes:

You can also use mouthwash to supplement your oral routine and help fight against plaque, tartar, and gingivitis.

With good oral habits, the average length of a dental bridge is anywhere from 5-10 years, with some people seeing them last even longer.

5. How Much Does a Dental Bridge Cost?

The price for a fixed bridge varies depending on a few factors:

  • Number of missing teeth
  • Materials used
  • Complexity/difficulty of the case
  • Geographic location

If you need other dental procedures (like scaling and root planing or a root canal) done before getting a dental bridge, that will also increase your total cost.

But if you’re interested in some ballpark prices, here’s a quick snapshot of the average cost of a dental bridge:

Type of Bridge Average Cost
Traditional or Cantilever $2,000 – $5,000
Maryland $1,500 – $2,500
Implant-supported $5,000 – $15,000


If you’re concerned about prices, you can also check with your insurance provider. Many providers will pay a certain percentage of the total bridge cost.

The Best Place for Getting a Dental Bridge in Richmond, VA

Having missing teeth can affect your overall mouth function and the look of your smile. But fortunately, there’s an excellent dental procedure that can help replace those missing teeth, restore mouth function, and renew your smile.

A dental bridge is a restorative dental procedure that replaces a missing tooth with a permanent fake tooth. Fixed bridges also look and feel like natural teeth to return your mouth to its normal functions.

To help you understand what getting a dental bridge entails, we took some time to answer a few of the most common questions, like:

  • What is a bridge for your teeth?
  • How is a dental bridge procedure done?
  • How long does a dental bridge take to heal?
  • How long does a dental bridge last?
  • How much does a dental bridge cost? 

Now that you’ve read an overview of dental bridges to replace missing teeth, are you ready to schedule an appointment with a dentist to talk about your bridge options?

At Northside Dental Co. in Richmond, VA, we’re ready to provide you with friendly, professional dental service. Our dentists are highly trained in restorative dentistry procedures, like crowns, bridges, and implants. First, they’ll take the time to talk with you and understand your specific needs. Then, they’ll provide expert advice on the best treatment option for you. Whatever your needs and situation may be, we’re confident we can provide you with the dental care you’re looking for.

Contact us to set up an appointment and start your journey toward replacing your missing teeth today.

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