Dentures Then and Now

We have been seeking the best tooth replacement for thousands of years. Learn about some of the materials used in the past and how modern ones are better.

As long as people have roamed the earth, it is likely that is how long tooth loss has been an issue. Dentists have been seeking the best tooth replacement solutions for thousands of years.

Dentures Have Ancient Roots

Prosthetic teeth have been in existence in some shape or form since about 700 B.C. At first, they were constructed of either human or animal teeth. After the dawn of the industrial age, tooth decay began to flourish due to the low cost of refined sugar and the increase in consumption. With more teeth rotting, the need for dentures skyrocketed, and advances in restorative dentistry blossomed,

It is a widely known myth that George Washington wore false wooden teeth. The first president owned several sets of custom-made dentures made from human teeth and hippo ivory. Brass screws and gold wires held the prosthetics together.

Modern Dentures Have Come a Long Way

The dentures we now offer are usually crafted of plastic and acrylic resins. There are several tooth replacement options available today.

  • The Classic: Full DentureWhen an entire mouthful of teeth is missing, the classic full denture is the most common tooth replacement solution. A traditional denture can only be worn on gums that have healed. If teeth have been surgically removed or lost through trauma, it can take several months of healing before the denture can be placed.Since most patients don’t want to wait a long time for teeth, immediate full dentures can be worn in the interim. However, immediate dentures can irritate healing gums due to the changes in bone shape during that wait time, causing an ill-fit.
  • The Hybrid: Partial DentureIf one or more natural teeth remain in place, they can serve as anchors for the hybrid, partial denture. This type of removable tooth replacement fits much like a dental retainer. An alternative is a permanent bridge,
  • Going Bionic: Implant-Supported DentureThe problem with traditional dentures is they do not prevent the bone loss that occurs in the jaw when teeth are missing. Fixed tooth replacement solutions like bridges, dental implants, and dentures supported by implants offer so many more benefits. Implant-supported dentures apply pressure on the jaw bone allowing it to remain strong, preserving the facial structure. Permanent options also make it easier to chew and speak without the risk of shifting out of place or falling out.

Take Proper Care of Your Dentures

All dentures, whether fixed or removable, require proper cleaning to prevent plaque buildup and discoloration. They can be brushed along with your natural teeth, tongue, palate, and gums. Removable dentures should be stored in a soaking solution or water, so they don’t dry out.

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