History of Dentures

By Dr. Damon on November 14, 2018

Photo of broken partial denture on plain white surfaceWhen it comes to teeth replacement, dentures are the oldest solution. In fact, these prostheses, in some form or another, have been around since the ancient world. Just how far did we have to come to design the modern dentures we know today?

Our team at Texas Denture Clinic in Fort Worth, TX explores a brief history of dentures and takes a look at how these appliances have evolved over time.

Teeth Replacement in the Ancient World

The first known dentures were used by ancient Egyptians around 1500 BC. These prostheses were made from human teeth that were held together by gold wire.

In 700 BC, Etruscans began creating dentures out of human or animal teeth. As you can imagine, these appliances deteriorated rather quickly. However, they remained popular well into the 1800s.

The 1700s

During the 1700s, people began making dentures from natural materials, such as animal horn and bone. Later in the century, the first set of porcelain dentures were created by Alexis Duchâteau. These posed a problem, however, as they were prone to damage and were too white to look natural.

George Washington’s Teeth

Of course, one of the most famous denture wearers was George Washington. You may be familiar with stories about his wooden teeth. This is a misconception, however, as his dentures were actually comprised of a hippopotamus ivory base along with human and animal teeth.

It is important to note that while George Washington did not wear wooden dentures, they did exist. In fact, a Japanese priestess from the Kii Province was famous for her wooden prosthetic teeth. This style of appliance remained in use until the 19th century.

The 1800s

Dentures became more widely used during the Victorian period. During this time, sugar consumption increased by 500 percent in Britain. Due to these widespread dietary changes, tooth decay became rampant. As a result, dentures became much more popular and necessary.

“Waterloo teeth” became popular during this time. These teeth were taken from the bodies of deceased soldiers on the Waterloo battlefield and were then connected to a base of animal ivory. They became so popular, in fact, that they quickly became a status symbol among the elite and wealthy. Because of their high demand, poor people began selling their own teeth, and grave robbers stole teeth from dead bodies to make a profit.

The First Modern Set of Dentures

The first modern dentures are generally attributed to Claudius Ash, a silversmith in the 1820s. He mounted porcelain teeth onto plates of gold, then secured them with swivels and springs. As a result, these dentures were much more functional than their precursors.

Today’s Dentures

Although some dentures today are crafted from medical-grade ceramic, most of these appliances are made from acrylic resin. These are strong, resilient, and generally much more affordable than their porcelain counterparts.

At Texas Denture Clinic, we offer a wider range of dentures, including full, partial, and implant-supported options. During a consultation at our practice, your doctor can help you determine which treatment is right for you.

Learn More about Dentures

If you are interested in learning more about dentures or any other teeth replacement option, schedule a visit at our practice. Give us a call at (817) 877-4755 or contact us online anytime.

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