History of Dental Bridges: From Ancient to Modern Times

Oct 16, 2018 @ 12:23 PM — by Byron Wall

A drawing of a dental bridge being placed over three teethFor those suffering from tooth loss, dental bridges are the best way to fill in gaps in your smile. Dental bridges are artificial teeth that are designed to replace one or more consecutive missing teeth in a row.

While dental bridges have been around for thousands of years, recent decades have seen a vast improvement in the quality and craftsmanship of dental bridges.

At Cosmetic Dentistry in New Mexico in Albuquerque, NM, Dr. Byron Wall discusses the history of dental bridges. Read on to learn how this dental prosthetic has evolved over time.

Why Dental Bridges?

Traditional dental bridges replace at least one missing tooth, or two or more side-by-side missing teeth. By filling in the space with a dental prosthetic, patients stand to reap a number of important benefits:

  • Balancing the bite
  • Preventing the teeth from shifting out of place
  • Enhancing the smile
  • Improving self esteem
  • Preventing teeth grinding or clenching

Dental Bridges: A Restoration with Ancient Roots

The first recorded instances of dental bridges were in ancient Egypt. It has been noted that Pharaonic doctors replaced one or more lost teeth by stringing a gold or silver wire to the surrounding teeth, with donor teeth attached to the wire. 

However, researchers are not sure if the patients actually used their dental restoration. The dental bridges may have been placed after the pharaoh’s death to prepare for the afterlife.

The first recorded frequent use of dental bridges was during Etruscan and ancient Roman times. Back then, dental bridges were mostly comprised of noble metals, a trend that would continue into the 20th Century.

Dental Bridges in Modern Times

The middle of the last century saw revolutionary change in how dentistry was performed and the materials used to make restorations, such as dental bridges. Porcelain became the popular material of choice given its natural look and durability.

By the end of the 20th Century, other ultra-strong materials, such as zirconia, were used to make dental bridges. This material can withstand a strong bite force and has a translucency much like natural enamel.

Implant-supported Dental Bridges

In addition to restoration materials improving in recent decades, the method of retaining implants has also improved. Traditional dental bridges are held in place with dental crowns. The dental crowns are fitted over the teeth adjacent to the gap in the smile. Artificial teeth are attached to the dental crowns and literally bridge the gap.

Today, patients have the option of having their dental bridge retained by dental implants. These titanium posts are surgically inserted into the jawbone where they fuse with the surrounding soft and hard tissues.

The dental bridge is then attached to the implant post, allowing for full oral function and a durable, lasting tooth-replacement solution.

Contact Us Today

Dental bridges have been improving smiles since ancient times. Fortunately, patients today have better choices than ever before when it comes to dental bridges.

Find out if you could benefit from a dental bridge, and if so, which kind. You can speak directly with a team member by calling (505) 883-4488 or you can fill out our online messaging form.

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