How Dentures Have Changed
Did you know dentures were once made of actual human teeth? Rewind time several hundred years ago and people really were selling their teeth to those in need of dentures. Our forefathers also used the teeth of the dead as dentures. Tooth replacement solutions of varying types go all the way back to ancient times. The materials used to make dentures have changed quite dramatically since the time of our ancestors yet the purpose has always been the same: providing a functional tooth replacement that allows for eating and other oral functions without pain or encumbrance. Let's take a closer look at how dentures have changed over the years.
The First Dentures
Historians believe false teeth have been used since 700 B.C. As noted above, the first dentures ever made were constructed with real human teeth or animal teeth. Our ancestors' logic in using human teeth or even animal teeth for dentures is that they looked normal and proved more comfortable than the limited alternative false teeth options available at the time. Such alternatives were typically carved from animal teeth, ivory or bone.
Some historians refer to our predecessors' use of natural teeth as dentures as “Waterloo teeth” in reference to the famous battle of Waterloo. The sad reality of this battle and plenty others are the teeth of human casualties were sometimes yanked out for use as dentures. However, this common reference is somewhat misguided as the battle of Waterloo took place in 1815, a point in time when actual human teeth were already used in dentures. The truth is human teeth were used as dentures for about a full century prior to the Battle of Waterloo. Teeth have been pulled from the mouths of dead soldiers dating all the way back to the French Revolution in the late 18th century. My, how times have changed!
The Widespread Onset of Tooth Decay
Fast forward in time to the Industrial Revolution and tooth decay had emerged as a major society-wide problem. Tooth decay became an issue at this point in time as refined sugar was available in bulk to the masses at low prices. Just about everyone indulged in this sugary goodness only to end up with tooth decay. The widespread need for replacement teeth following tooth loss is part of what propelled denture technology forward.
Denture technology improved in the 1700s thanks to the arrival of porcelain dentures. Fast forward a century and dentures transformed yet again. Massive leaps in tech have resulted in dentures that function and look like regular teeth with each progression.
What About George Washington's Wooden Teeth?
When you were learning in school, you might have read President George Washington sported false teeth made of wood. Though most people think Washington really used dentures made of wood, the truth is no such wooden teeth existed. The notion of Washington donning fake teeth comprised of wood is nothing more than a myth. In reality, Washington had multiple sets of dentures custom-made specifically for him from human teeth as well as hippo ivory, all connected with brass screws and gold wires.
Modern dentures are quite different from those of the past. Today's dentures are comprised of acrylic resin and plastics. As an example, the classic denture also known as the full denture is used in situations in which the natural teeth cannot be preserved. Partial dentures are available for those who have at least a few natural teeth remaining in the mouth. Dental implants function as anchors for partial dentures that ultimately replace missing teeth. Even implant-supported dentures are available.
Those who are worried about preventing jawbone loss that occurs in unison with tooth loss often choose implant-supported dentures. Dental implants can function as tooth replacements in their own right or even work in unison with dentures. This permanent option is superior for the application of bite pressure necessary for the jawbone to remain strong and preserve facial shape. The icing on the cake is implant-supported dentures facilitate the chewing and speaking processes better than removable dentures as there is no risk of them falling out.
Modern Day Dentures are Customized for Each Patient's Mouth
Meet with our dentist to discuss denture1 options in 2019 and you will be more than impressed with the latest advancements in this technology. Each of our dentures is made in a laboratory for full customization to suit each individual patient. The aim is to form the perfect fit for the idiosyncrasies of each patient's mouth that ensures comfortable wear for years to come. Dental tech has advanced to the point that impressions of each unique patient's mouth are taken to function as the base that creates the denture. Gums are now made from acrylic that matches the natural hue of your birth gums.
Even if you are unhappy with the fit of your dentures, there is no reason to feel frustrated. Our dentist will adjust your dentures as often as necessary so they feel comfortable and function as designed. Today's tooth replacements are made in specific sizes, shapes, and colors to suit each patient's oral and facial aesthetic. In fact, denture tech has now reached the point at which it is nearly impossible to distinguish between dentures and actual teeth. We have clearly made substantial progress from the times when human teeth, animal teeth, and porcelain were used as tooth replacements.
Get Fitted for Dentures at Universal Smiles Dentistry
Do not go one more day struggling to eat or be yourself in social settings due to your oral health issues. Whether you need dentures or have not had a comprehensive dental health exam in the past six months, you have come to the right place. Even if you do not have dental insurance, we will provide you with the oral healthcare and dental restorations necessary for a lovely and functional smile. Orange City residents2 can schedule an appointment at our office by dialing (386) 775-9933. Edgewater residents3 can reach our dental office by dialing (386) 423-3652. You can even schedule an appointment online at your convenience.