Not Your Grandfather’s Dentures: The Evolution of Dentures

Not Your Grandfather’s Dentures: The Evolution of Dentures

Have you ever heard of George Washington’s wooden dentures? Probably, but if you haven’t, it isn’t true. Although dentures have changed dramatically over time, wooden dentures were actually never popular. So what exactly were the first dentures like?

The Beginning of Dentures

Dentures actually date back to around 700BC! Etruscans located in Northern Italy made dentures using animal and sometimes even human teeth. The teeth were placed into a gold band using a metal pin. Sadly, these materials deteriorated quite quickly, meaning they had to be frequently replaced. Despite their longevity, however, these dentures continued to be made until the mid-1800s.

The Evolution of Dentures

Dentures made from elephant, walrus and hippopotamus ivory become popular in the 1700s, however ivory stained and began to smell quite quickly. Wearers of ivory dentures also often complained of discomfort.

Another option during the 1800s were dentures made from human teeth, even sometimes referred to as “Waterloo-teeth” due to a number of teeth recovered from dead soldiers in the Battle of Waterloo.

In the mid-1800s, vulcanite was invented by the Goodyear family. This hardened rubber created a perfect base for dentures and was much cheaper than gold bases originally used. Vulcanite could be molded to fit the contours of the patient’s mouth as well.

Dentures Today

Luckily there have been advancements in dentistry! Dentures today are made from comfortable acrylic resin which is more resistant to chipping, breaking and staining. These new dentures are also more affordable and easier to make, making denture treatment more accessible for people around the world.

If you or a loved one suffers from missing teeth, contact Dental Arts to schedule a dental examination and discuss whether dentures may be right for you. We look forward to restoring your smile!