Whether due to accidents or gum loss, humans have been losing teeth since the beginning of time. And while dentures, dental implants, crowns, and bridges are all popular ways to restore smiles today, Randall A. Ellis, DDS, a dentist in Texarkana, TX, explains that false teeth have a history extending far before modern dentistry. To help patients appreciate the art and innovation of today’s dental prosthetics, there are a few historical highlights to reflect on.
The Evolution of Dentures
Replacing missing teeth was a common medical procedure used by ancient cultures across the globe. For example, Egyptians in 1500 AD would thread human teeth together with gold wire then attach them to a person’s gums. Remains from Central America have revealed that their ancient cultures used items like rocks and wolf fangs for replacement. And in ancient China, bamboo was often shaped to mimic the shape and function of natural chompers.
By the time he became America’s first president, George Washington was reported as having only one tooth remaining. While many believe his false teeth were crafted from wood, he had a much more advanced collection of dentures. He had sets that were made from ivory, metal, and animal tooth components.
At about the same time as George Washington’s presidency, the first pair of modern dentures were introduced in France. In 1774, Alexis Duchateau and Nicholas Dubois De Chemant used their dental and pharmaceutical backgrounds to create the first pair made from porcelain. Compared to today’s options, porcelain models were too fragile and overly white to function as or resemble natural teeth.
By about the 1850s, porcelain dentures noticeably improved, as they were fused into a type of hard rubber formed from vulcanite. Additionally, the porcelain was made to appear more translucent to resemble the real color of teeth.
Modern False Teeth
As with many areas of medicine, dentures have experienced a rapid transformation over the past hundred years. Moving on from the days of resin, dental providers eventually started to forge dentures from acrylic resin materials that offered a stronger, more comfortable bite. And in the 1950s, a Swedish surgeon discovered how to fuse metal with natural bone. This science is still used today when providing dental implants, an alternative to dentures.
Today, dentists send impressions from patients’ mouths to create custom pairs of acrylic resin dentures. Compared to the past, these devices look incredibly natural, fit comfortably, and provide years of dental integrity.
If you’re curious about how a pair of modern dentures could change your smile and support your overall oral health, Randall A. Ellis, DDS can introduce you to high-quality and cost-effective options. Offering a wide variety of restorative and cosmetic dentistry services in Texarkana, TX, Dr. Ellis can also help you explore alternatives including partials and dental implants. To schedule a convenient appointment, contact this family dentistry clinic at (870) 772-1374.