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history of dentures

What Do You Know About the History of Dentures?

Today, dentures come in a wide range of styles and types. They are more durable and truly customizable depending on each individual’s needs and are more flexible and lifelike than ever before.

With dental implants and implant supported dentures entering a new world of tooth replacement dentistry, patients are looking forward to a life with dentures that won’t slip or shift out of place and can support a natural looking smile they won’t have to think twice about. This wasn’t the case many years ago!

A Brief History of Dentures

Dental care can be traced back to thousands of years in human history. To learn about the first recorded pair of dentures, you’ll have to travel back in time to 700 BC (the time of ancient Romans). They fabricated false teeth from . . . well, other people’s teeth, or even animal teeth.

Over the course of history humans have used dentures to restore the function and appearance of their smile. Dentures have helped to make people feel more confident about their smile, and to improve their ability to chew and speak normally. Here’s more about how dentures began and how they have improved since those early days:

  • The Earliest Dentures – Way back, around 700 BC in northern Italy, people constructed dentures out of a mixture of human and animal teeth.
  • Dentures in the 1700s – By the 1700’s, dentures were being carved out of elephant, hippopotamus, or walrus ivory. These dentures were a popular way to replace missing teeth for those who could afford them. Rumour has it that George Washington had some of the highest quality dentures available in his time. It is believed that his dentures were made from carved hippopotamus ivory embedded with a collection of donkey, horse, and human teeth. 
  • Dentures in the 1800s – Claudius Ash created 18-karat gold plates inlaid with porcelain teeth for his wealthy clients in the 1800’s. Later in the century, Ash went on to create more affordable dentures made from hardened rubber with porcelain teeth. 

Dentures Today

Denture technology has certainly come a long way since those early days! Today’s dentures provide wearers with a more natural look, feel and function than ever. Affordable and natural looking materials such as acrylic resin or porcelain have replaced the animal teeth and gold plates of the past.

There are three major types of dentures in use today:

  • Complete Dentures

These are what you might imagine when you think of dentures. They are attached to a base and then to the gums. They replace your complete set of teeth giving you the ability to chew food seamlessly.

  • Partial Dentures

If you’re missing teeth in a certain area, such as the back or front of the mouth, partial dentures will replace only those. They can replace any number of teeth you need, even if the missing teeth aren’t next to each other.

  • Implant Supported Dentures

Rather than simply resting on the gums, these dentures are physically attached to the bone in the jaw for a more permanent feel.

Find the Right Fit

Tempe Family Dentistry recommends that you only visit a doctor experienced with dental implants. Getting the perfect fit isn’t easy, but when you find it, it can truly be life-changing.

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