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Dentures Through The Ages

September 19, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — dentalimpress @ 5:45 pm
Woman in white blurry in the background holding a set of dentures with 2 hands in the foreground

Dentures are a popular solution to replace missing teeth because they restore your smile and allow you to eat and speak normally. Did you know, though, that false teeth have a long and varied history? If you have dentures, you’ve joined a tradition that goes back thousands of years. Keep reading to learn more about how dentures began and then evolved over time.

Ancient Beginnings

The earliest form of dentures can be traced all the way back to ancient human history! Take the Etruscans of northern Italy, for example. As early as 700 BC, they began making false teeth out of human or animal teeth tied together with gold wire. Similar inventions have been found at archeological sites in Egypt as well as Mexico, where indigenous tribes were known to use wolf teeth to replace any that went missing. The ancient Mayans may have used carved stones or seashells.

Rudimentary Dentures

Over the centuries, different materials and methods have been used to replenish lost teeth. The earliest surviving set of dentures was made of wood and date to 16th century Japan. This was a popular method until the 1800s. Then, when sugar consumption in Europe increased to the point that many people by the age of 50 lost most of their teeth, new solutions were needed.

One source of new teeth came from those who had fallen on battlefields. In fact, for a time dentures that used human teeth were referred to as “Waterloo teeth” after so many were looted following the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Though it seems gruesome to us today, at the time this was a popular source for dentures.

Upgraded Materials

In 1774, the first pair of porcelain dentures were created. Unfortunately, they looked unnaturally white and were prone to chipping. Then in 1820, a silversmith discovered that he could mount porcelain teeth onto gold plates with springs which allowed them to both look and function like natural teeth. This is often considered the first ‘modern’ set of dentures.

The gold and porcelain were expensive, though, and so these dentures weren’t a feasible solution for the masses who weren’t wealthy. Then, in the mid-1800s, the Goodyear family developed an alternative made from hardened rubber. This provided an ideal base for false teeth and was much more affordable.

Current Advancements

Today, dentures are considered an affordable and comfortable solution thanks to advancements in materials and technology. Acrylic adhesives were invented along with high-quality durable porcelain that isn’t likely to chip.

Today, your dentist can provide you with dentures that have been specifically manufactured to fit your mouth so there’s less chance of them becoming displaced or rubbing your gums raw. Not only that, but prosthetics now are much more resilient and can last for years with the right care. If you’re looking to replace your teeth with dentures, there’s no better time than the present!

About the Author

Dr. Sweeta Walia has more than 15 years of experience in dental work. She achieved her dental doctorate from the Nova Southeastern University School of Dental Medicine and then completed a General Practice Residency at Staten Island University Hospital. She has also undertaken additional training programs and is an expert in implant prosthesis and cosmetic dentistry. If you need dentures, she can help! You’re welcome to request an appointment on the website or call (972) 288-3200.

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