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The Evolution of Dentures Over the Years

September 17, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — Les Latner @ 11:47 pm
Dentist holding dentures

Dentures are the most common tooth replacement option out there and have changed the lives of millions of Americans. Not only can they improve the appearance of your smile, but they also allow patients to comfortably eat their food, support facial muscles, and increase speech ability. This tooth replacement option has been around for quite a while but hasn’t always been as practical or aesthetically pleasing as it is today. Continue reading to learn more about the evolution of dentures in Los Angeles over the years.

The Beginnings of False Teeth

Currently, it is believed that the very first false teeth originate all the way back to Northern Italy in 700BC. The Etruscans would construct their tooth replacements with human and animal teeth tied together with gold wiring. However, these sound just as ineffective as they were. They were likely only made for cosmetic purposes rather than improving the function of the mouth.

On the other side of the world, the indigenous tribes in Mexico would replace their missing teeth using the teeth of wolves. The Ancient Mayans would do the same with pieces of stone, seashells, and bits of bone. They were actually quite effective and would even fuse to the jawbone.

Dentures in the Early Days

The oldest surviving set of dentures was made out of wood back in 16th century Japan. They relied on the same suction technique as modern traditional dentures do. Over time, human teeth and carved animal horns were used more as replacement teeth.

You probably thought that George Washington’s dentures were made out of wood. However, this is just a commonly believed myth. He did have dentures, but they were actually made from a carved hippopotamus ivory plate along with teeth from humans, horses, and donkeys. Over time, dentures like these became stained and would begin to smell.

Dentures in the 19th Century

Throughout the 1800s, the sugar consumption in Europe skyrocketed which led to an increase in tooth loss as a result of decay. This is when dentures really started becoming popular. However, dentures were only worn by the wealthy because they were very expensive. Because of this, dentures were even seen as a status symbol.  The healthy teeth were collected from dead soldiers, executed criminals, and poor people who sold them in order to make money.

Modern Dentures

The first porcelain dentures were invented in 1774 by a British physician named Alexis Duchâteau after his hippopotamus dentures began to rot. Even though they weren’t successful at first, he was able to work together with a British dentist and patent a more durable version in 1791. In the mid-1800s, a more affordable alternative was created by the Goodyear family consisting of vulcanite. This was popular until the 20th century.

Now, dentures are made in a laboratory from an acrylic resin that matches the gum tissue, giving them a natural appearance. You can get replacement teeth in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. They are frequently refitted for optimal comfort.

Dentures have been around for a while, but they have never been more practical and functional than they are right now. Missing teeth are a worry of the past! Ask your dentist in Los Angeles if you would make a good candidate.

About the Author

Dr. Les Latner is a well-experienced dentist serving patients in Los Angeles, CA. He earned his dental degree at Washington University in St. Louis School of Dental Medicine and is one of fewer than 10 dentists who have achieved both accreditation in the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and mastership in the Academy of General Dentistry. For more information on dentures or to schedule a consultation, visit his website or call (310) 477-1081.

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