November 10, 2021
Millions of Americans suffer from extensive tooth loss. If you’re a part of that group, you know firsthand how much it can affect your quality of life. Luckily, dentures are a comfortable and lifelike solution to rebuild your smile. Most people may not realize this, but they’ve come a long way from their early days. Read on to learn about the evolution of dentures and how they benefit patients today.
The First Dentures
Archaeologists have discovered ancient remains of false teeth dating back centuries. In 700 BC, the Etruscans in Northern Italy made an early form of partial dentures from animal or human teeth held together with gold wires. Even though they looked fine, the materials were likely not able to stand up to the pressure placed on teeth while eating. The earliest surviving set of complete dentures was found in Japan, made completely out of wood. They even relied on the same type of suction techniques used to hold dentures in place today!
George Washington’s False Teeth
Contrary to popular belief, George Washington did not wear wooden dentures. In reality, the teeth he wore during his presidency were fabricated from elephant and hippopotamus ivory. Over time, the ivory would become stained, foul-smelling, and uncomfortable to wear. Despite those issues, the dentures were still being worn in the early 1800s. Since they were expensive to make, they were only an option for the wealthy.
Dentures in the 1800s
Many people in Europe, particularly England, lost most of their teeth by the age of 50 due to excessive sugar consumption. They needed a way to replace them, and one major source of teeth during this time was the dead on the battlefields of Europe. In 1815, dentures with human teeth became known as “Waterloo teeth” since many of the teeth were extracted from those who fought in the Battle of Waterloo. They were also removed from executed criminals or poor people who were desperate for money.
A British Physician developed the first pair of porcelain dentures in 1774. Unfortunately, porcelain teeth looked unnaturally white and chipped very easily. Since they were also very expensive, many people could not afford to wear this type of denture.
In the mid-1800s, an alternative was made from hardened rubber and vulcanite. They served as an ideal base for dentures because they could be molded to fit a person’s gums and hardened in the same shape to provide a good fit. This type of denture became very popular and was widely used by people until the 20th century when acrylic resin became the norm.
The Beginning of Implant-Retained Dentures
Dentures are still widely used, but dental implants are starting to take their place. Implant technology began in the 1950s when an orthopedic surgeon realized that bone would fuse to titanium rods, creating a virtually unbreakable bond. Dental implants are considered the gold standard of tooth replacement because they’re the most permanent and lifelike solution available today.
Even though dentures have been a part of the human experience for centuries, that doesn’t mean they have to be in your future. With proper dental care and a healthy lifestyle, you can enjoy your natural teeth well into your golden years!
About the Practice
At Dix Hills Family Dentistry, we provide comprehensive, exceptional, high-quality dental services the entire family can enjoy. Our team uses the latest technologies and techniques to ensure you receive the best treatment possible. To learn more about the evolution of dentures, visit our website or call (631) 673-8040.
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