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The History of Dentures By Kenneth Malament on January 08, 2019

Hand holding an upper full dentureThere are many dental practices that offer natural-looking, comfortable replacements for one or more missing teeth. But people didn’t always have access to good dental care.

In the past, if you were missing a single tooth or multiple teeth, there weren’t any safe and effective treatment options available. Today, dentures are the most popular treatment for missing teeth.

At Boston Prosthodontics in Boston, MA, we discuss the history of dentures. If you’re looking for a modern approach to teeth replacement, contact our practice.

Dentures in Ancient Egypt

The ancient Egyptians were one of the first civilizations to use the earliest form of what we now recognize as dentures. Thousands of years ago, they collected human teeth, stringing them together with wire. They also used wire to attach the dentures to the gums.

Dentures in Ancient Italy

Hundreds of years later, around 700 B.C., people in the region that is now Italy also invented their own form of dentures. However, they used animal teeth instead of human teeth.

Dentures in Ancient Mexico

Ancient tribes in modern-day Mexico took a similar approach, using individual wolf teeth, and even pieces of stone or bone, to replace missing teeth. They would insert the materials in the socket after a tooth was lost or extracted.

While rudimentary, the technique actually worked for them. Similar to today’s modern implants, the bone, tooth, or stone would integrate with the jawbone, holding the material in place, much like a natural tooth.

Wooden Dentures in Japan

Though we often hear about wooden dentures being used in the early days of American history, the Japanese are formally credited with the first use of wooden dentures.

Dentures in Early America

During the early days of America, ivory dentures were the popular denture material of choice. Created from walrus or elephant tusks, many wealthy people wore these dentures though they had to be replaced often.

In fact, they were so popular that some people were still using ivory dentures up into the early 19th century.

Porcelain and Plastics

The development of porcelain dentures decreased the demand for the popular human teeth and ivory dentures that were in use.

Though attempts were made to construct dentures from porcelain since the late 1700s, the first usable pair wasn’t created until 1820. Claudius Ash, a silversmith, bonded porcelain teeth onto gold plates that had connectors and springs to allow for free movement.

Ash later went on to create a more affordable set of dentures out of a hardened rubber material. This rubber material (called vulcanite) was the material of choice until the 20th century, when it was replaced with the use of acrylic resin.

Dental Implants and Modern Restorative Dentistry

In 1965, dentist Leonard Linkow placed the first modern titanium implant in a patient, paving the way for implant-supported dentures

Since then, modern restorative dental practices have continued to grow and evolve, with moldable plastics and other composite resins and acrylics used to fabricate natural-looking prostheses.

The dentures used today are comfortable, durable, and long lasting.

Contact Our Practice

If you need restorative dental care or full teeth replacement treatment, contact our practice at (617) 523-5451. Our modern dentures and other restorative dentistry services can improve the appearance and health of your smile.

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Boston Prosthodontics Dental Group

Boston Prosthodontics Dental Group

At the Boston Prosthodontics Dental Group, we pride ourselves on providing the highest possible standard of care for all of our patients. Our team of doctors is affiliated with a variety of prestigious organizations, including:

  • The American Board of Prosthodontics
  • American College of Prosthodontists
  • Academy of Osseointegration

For more information about our services, contact us online or call (617) 523-5451 today.

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