How Dentures Evolved Over Time

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Dentures have been part of society for much longer than you would imagine. They’ve actually been around nearly as long as civilization has. We’ve used our ingenuity to make new ways to replace our teeth for centuries, and each culture has created new and different ways unique to them.

Primitive dentures from 1500 B.C. Egypt have been discovered, made from human teeth threaded with gold wire. Italians in 8th century B.C. used the same construction with animal teeth in addition to human. Ancient Mayans carved teeth from bone, stone, and seashell and inserted them directly into the socket of a missing tooth. This apparently worked better than it sounds, as the false teeth fused with the bone they were inserted into.

As civilization advanced and approached the 1700s, dentures became more sophisticated, being carved from ivory and bone. The urban legend of George Washington’s wooden dentures is simply untrue. He had some of the highest-quality dentures available at the time. They were carved from hippopotamus ivory, and had human teeth with horse and donkey teeth carved to shape.

In 1774, a man called Alexis Duchateau created the first dentures made from porcelain. Unfortunately, they were not all that durable and chipped a lot, and also looked too white to be natural teeth, so they never caught on. Instead, dentures made from actual teeth, called “Waterloo teeth” after the practice of pulling the teeth from dead soldiers, were the height of denture technology.

A breakthrough happened in 1820 when a gold and silversmith called Claudius Ash made porcelain dentures mounted on gold plates. These dentures were far more comfortable and more aesthetically pleasing than any that had been named before. He kept experimenting with his dentures, and in 1850 had another breakthrough. He used Vulcanite rubber as the base for his dentures. The rubber foundation became the standard until the 20th century, when acrylics and plastics became the dentures we know today.

If you would like to make a denture consultation with Dr. Pantea Nooraee, contact Twins Family Dentistry in Frisco, Texas today.