The Bridgeman family and the dental profession have been linked for over 100 years. George Bridgeman, of New Martinsville, West Virginia, graduated from the School of Dentistry at Western Reserve University (now Case Western) in 1899. He returned to his hometown and established his general practice where he continued to provide services to his patients until his retirement in 1963.
Circa 1899. Dr. George Bridgeman (far right) and his dental class at Western Reserve University
George’s younger brother, Hugh, also practiced dentistry, however little is known about his education. In the 1900 census, Hugh was listed as living on the family farm in New Martinsville, and driving the dairy truck. In 1906, he was listed as the streetcar operator in the New Martinsville City Directory. In the 1910 census, he was listed as a dentist. Whether he had any formal dental training is not known, but it is quite likely that he learned his craft as an apprentice under his older brother.
Dr. George and his wife Georgia had five children, the youngest being Robert (Bob). Bob attended dental school at the University of Maryland, where he graduated in 1953. After a term in the U.S. Army, he returned home to join his father in practice. Bob’s career was quite distinguished, serving as president of the West Virginia Dental Society, and later as a member of the State Board of Dental Examiners. Each year at its annual session, the West Virginia Dental Society presents the Robert B. Bridgeman Distinguished Service Award to one of its members who demonstrate the leadership and professionalism that characterized Bob. Bob practiced until 1988, just prior to his untimely death at the age of 60.
Bob and his wife Marjorie had four children, of whom three became dentists. The oldest son, Craig, was a member of the first class at the University of Florida College of Dentistry, and graduated in 1976. He now practices in Boone, NC. The third son, David, graduated from the School of Dentistry at West Virginia University in1980. He returned home to continue the practice of his father and grandfather, which has now been in continuous operation since 1899. Their sister Laura, graduated from WVU in 1987. She practiced briefly in Vermont before joining the U.S. Army Dental Corps, and serving in Germany, where she met her future husband.
Dr. Craig Bridgeman (left). In the fall of 1974, Craig Bridgeman became the first dental student to place a restoration for a live patient in Florida history. Today he has shorter hair, and wear gloves.
In 2006, Craig’s son Rob graduated from the dental school at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, making him the seventh Bridgeman dentist in four generations. He currently practices with his father in Boone, NC.
Dr. Robert H. “Robbie” Bridgeman