History of Dental Bridges By belldental on December 04, 2018

Custom porcelain dental bridge on reflective white surfaceTooth loss not only affects the beauty of your smile. It can also have a negative impact on function and oral health. That is why it is so important to fill in gaps and spaces left by missing teeth. Dental bridges are a good treatment option for patients missing a single tooth or two or three teeth in a row.

According to archeological discoveries, people have been interested in replacing missing teeth since ancient times. Today, our team at Bell Dental in Lake Jackson, TX explores the history of dental bridges and discusses how methods have improved in the modern age.

Dental Bridges: A Brief Review

Today’s modern dental bridges consist of two dental crowns, with the prosthetic teeth in between. These restorations are supported by the natural teeth on either side of the space, and the artificial teeth complete the smile and restore full function.

Dental bridges can be crafted from a wide range of materials. While metal bridges are incredibly strong, they do not blend in with the smile.

That is why many patients choose tooth-colored restorations fabricated from porcelain or zirconia.

Dental Bridges in the Ancient World

Ancient Egyptians stabilized mobile teeth by connecting them together with gold wire. This practice continued for centuries and was even used to replace missing teeth.

Around 700 BC, the Etruscans used human and animal teeth to create crude bridgework and dentures. Similar methods were discovered worldwide among a variety of cultures and civilizations.

1500s - 1800s

Through the Middle Ages and beyond, people continued to use human teeth to replace their own. These were purchased from the poor, or even stolen from cadavers in their graves. This method, unsurprisingly, resulted in failure due to infection.

As the centuries passed, individuals continued to search for alternative materials to create bridgework and dentures. Often, ivory was preferred due to its natural appearance. This was commonly obtained from elephants, walruses, or hippopotamuses.

In 16th century Japan, wooden false teeth were created from beeswax impressions. These were largely successful and remained in use through the 19th century.

This practice become common in the Western world in the 18th century. However, contrary to popular belief, George Washington’s false teeth were made of ivory, not wood.

The first porcelain false teeth were developed in 16th century France. However, the porcelain crafted at this point in time was still extremely fragile and was not a good option for teeth replacement.


In the 20th century, dental materials were vastly improved. Dentists created a porcelain-fused-to-metal option, providing patients with improved aesthetics and durability.

Additionally, all-ceramic options were improved during this time. Throughout the second half of the 20th century, experts learned how to enhance the strength of glass and porcelain, creating more options for dental patients.

Contact Bell Dental

A dental bridge could enhance your smile and improve your overall oral health. To learn more, schedule a consultation with us. Contact Bell Dental online or call us at (979) 297-1201.

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Bell Dental

At Bell Dental, our goal is to provide effective, comprehensive, and affordable care for all our patients. We are proud to be affiliated with:

  • American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry
  • Academy of General Dentistry
  • International Congress of Oral Implantologist

For more information about our services, contact our office online or call (979) 297-1201 today.

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