The History of Dental Bridges By Byron J Nordhus D.D.S. on December 16, 2018

Dental bridgeA dental bridge is one of the most common treatments for minor cases of tooth loss. Dental bridges span the gap between two healthy teeth to replace teeth that have been lost to injury, decay, or other dental damage. Dental bridges are strong and durable enough to perform a full range of oral functions, all while enhancing the appearance of the smile.

Considering the history of dental bridges, Dr. Byron J. Nordhus’ Wichita, KS patients are fortunate to benefit from today’s dental bridges, which are equally functional, attractive, and reliable.

Dental Restorations from the Past

It wasn’t until the 1700s that dentistry took on the form of a defined profession, and people began to understand more about oral health, such as the causes of tooth decay.

However, historical evidence shows that people were making efforts to care for their teeth long before that time. In particular, evidence shows that replacing missing teeth has been a concern for many ancient civilizations.

As far back as 700 BC, archeological findings show the use of human teeth and animal teeth to replace missing teeth. The tooth prosthestics used by Egyptian, Sumerian, and Roman civilizations used ivory from walruses, elephants, and hippopotamuses.

In 200 AD, the Etruscans were the first to use gold as a material for dental crowns and bridges. This practice lasted for hundreds of years.

Much later, wood became a popular restorative dental material. It was most widely used in Japan around the 16th century, but made its way to America.

George Washington was rumored to have wooden teeth.  However, most wooden teeth were not actually made entirely of wood. It was common to combine wood materials with ivory and other tooth material (from humans or animals) to strengthen the restorations. George Washington’s teeth were actually composed of cow teeth and ivory.

Evolving the Dental Bridge

Although the rudimentary forms of dental bridges, crowns, and dentures did serve a purpose, they had flaws. The materials used lacked durability and stability. They also did not closely resemble the natural teeth.

During the late 1800s, ceramics were introduced to the dental restoration process. While these restorations were initially prone to cracking, advances in ceramic and bonding materials have resulted in the strongest and most reliable restorative materials ever.

As dentists continued to gain a better understanding of the structure of the teeth and how they function, improvements were made to the design and fit of dental bridges and other restorations.

The most recent advances in dental bridge treatment comes in the form of dental implants and digital technology. Digital technology allows for more precise dental images. This allow dentists to create customized dental bridges.

Dental implants can be used to anchor dental bridges so that they fit comfortably and securely, while providing stimulation to the bone tissues to prevent bone loss.

Learn More

If you have experienced tooth loss, there are many dental restorations available at Nordhus Dentistry that can rebuild your smile. If you would like to learn more about dental bridges or the other restorative dentistry treatments we offer, contact us at your earliest convenience online, or call us at (316) 721-6730.

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​Dr. Byron J. Nordhus

Nordhus Dentistry

Dr. Byron J. Nordhus strives to provide the highest level of comprehensive dental care at his Wichita, KS, practice, while treating his patients like family. He uses advanced materials, treatments, and technology to make dental procedures as effective and painless as possible. Affiliations include:

  • Academy of Laser Dentistry
  • American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry
  • American Dental Association 

To schedule your consultation, contact us online or call us at (316) 721-6730.

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