The History Behind Modern Dentures

MichaelStreileinFacts & InformationLeave a Comment

A Senior Citizen With a Great Smile

For thousands of years, humans have suffered from tooth loss and decay. While modern standards of care have improved – like how we have toothbrushes no longer made with horsehair, and how toothpaste that doesn’t contain charcoal, chalk, or salt – our diets these days also contain far more sugar than ever before… a real danger for teeth.

Dentures have existed for thousands of years and will continue to do so for a while yet, and they have come a long way from their early predecessors. Here we’ll look at the history of modern dentures.

Early Dentures: Ivory and Animal Teeth

Dentures date back to around 700BC, when the Etruscans of Italy made them from animal teeth. Many materials have been used over the years, and in the 1700s it was common for dentures to be fitted into ivory. While animal teeth were functional, they often caused as many problems as they solved, until the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

A New Supply

51,000 men died at the Battle of Waterloo and they left behind many pristine sets of teeth. Soldiers and scavengers alike returned from this battlefield, as well as other ones across the world, with scores of valuable teeth. Suddenly, there was a great demand for dentures made with good human teeth. They were fitted into ivory, rubber, or even gold. This underworld trade in human body parts continued until porcelain dentures took over as the tooth material of choice.

Modern Materials

Following further upgrades, porcelain dentures were fitted in everything from hardened rubber through acrylic resin and other plastics. These days, most dentures are made from the tough plastic polymethylmethacrylate acrylic, known more commonly as Plexiglass.

Dentures are usually made from two rounds of impressions to get an exact match to the patient’s unique mouth shape. After moulding, the acrylic is heated to tighten the material’s bonds and strengthen it.

We provide a comprehensive 1 year warranty on dentures. These cover the dentures against chipping and cracks. As dentures aren’t worn permanently, they are easier to care for than fixed solutions and can last several years if well looked after.

Whether they fit for that long is a different matter, as all bones in the body are constantly undergoing remodeling and reshaping, and as such, dentures that once fit can cease to do so. If this occurs, the solution is usually to reline the dentures to adjust the fit of them and restore comfort and functionality to the wearer.

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