Dentures, or false teeth, are prosthetics constructed to replace missing teeth. False teeth have been around for thousands of years. The first known use of dentures date back to around the year 700 B.C., when the indigenous population in northern Italy made false teeth from human or animal teeth. The Romans used the same technique in the 5th century B.C., and although these natural materials deteriorated quickly, the dentures were easy to produce and remained popular until the mid 1800s. Over time, there have been developments on the materials used to create false teeth, from wood and ivory to the modern day acrylic dentures.
False teeth made of wood were invented in Japan in the early 16th century. Softened beeswax was inserted into the patient’s mouth to create an impression, which was then filled with harder beeswax. Wooden dentures were then meticulously carved based on that model. The earliest of these dentures were entirely wooden, but later versions used natural human teeth, sculpted ivory, or animal horn for the teeth. These dentures were built with a broad base and required adhesion to stay in place. This was an advanced technique for the era – it would not be replicated in the West until the late 18th century. No doubt you’ve heard the tale of George Washington’s wooden false teeth, which is actually a myth. His dentures were made of human teeth implanted into a plate made from hippopotamus ivory!
Ivory and Porcelain Dentures
As late as the 18th century, developments in the way dentures were created had little change as ivory dentures made from elephant, walrus and hippopotamus were in high demand. In 1774, a Parisian apothecary by the name of Alexis Duchateau introduced the first porcelain dentures.
Modern dentures are most often fabricated in a commercial dental laboratory using a combination of tissue-shaded acrylic powder. Commercially produced acrylic teeth are widely available in hundreds of shapes and tooth colors. They look natural and last a long time with proper care.
To discover how a quality set of dentures can make a big difference in your life, contact Dentures Par Excellence. We take great care in custom-designing unique treatments for your unique, individual situation. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!