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The History of Dentures: A Walk Back Through Time

Today’s denture providers help people restore their smile and mouth functionality. But what did people do before modern dental services?

The History of Dentures

Actually – they used dentures. Here’s a quick glance into history, where the use of replacement teeth can be traced all the way back to the ancient Egyptians.

Egyptians

In 1500 BC, ancient Egyptians collected human teeth and fashioned them together using a gold wire. These replacement chompers would provide alternatives for people who had lost all their teeth.

Italians

In 700 BC, Italians started using this technique, but with both human and animal teeth.

Mexicans

Ancient tribes in Mexico used to collect animal teeth – especially wolf teeth – to use as alternatives. They did not use any wiring, but instead placed the animal teeth directly into the empty sockets of a person’s missing teeth.

Mayans

The Mayans used stones, bones, and seashells to replace broken teeth. These materials fused well into their jawbones and functioned as permanent solutions.

Japanese

The Japanese were the first ones to use wooden dentures. Nakaoka Tei, a priestess in an ancient temple in Kii province, is known to have worn wooden dentures. The Japanese used these wooden dentures up until the 19th century.

Modern Dentistry

The 18th century saw an increased consumption of sugar and widespread tooth decay, leading to advances in dentistry. French physician Pierre Fauchard is known as the father of modern dentistry. In 1723, he published a book called The Surgeon Dentist, or A Treatise on the Teeth which included complete dental care practices that are still followed today.

The first president of the US, George Washington, is widely known to have worn dentures all his life. At that time, ivory dentures were very popular. They were commonly made from elephant, hippopotamus, or walrus tusks.

The first porcelain dentures were created in 1774 by Alexis Duchateau, a British physician. However, these porcelain dentures were very expensive and not widely affordable. So, in the 1800s, Claudius Ash created dentures with hard rubber and vulcanite. His company Ash & Sons soon became the leading manufacturer of these vulcanite dentures. They remained popular until the 20th century, when acrylic dentures became a better option.

1952 turned out to be revolution for dentistry. A Swedish physician discovered that removing a titanium cylinder from a rabbit’s leg was incredibly difficult as the titanium had melded into the bone. Shortly thereafter, the practice of crafting dental implants with titanium was born. Just as with the rabbit’s leg, the titanium fuses to the jaw bone, making it a permanent dental solution and eliminating the need to wear removable dentures.

The future of dentistry could be even more fascinating as the possibilities are endless with continually-advancing technology. Always on the cutting edge of the industry, European Denture Center can provide you with the most modern and functional implant-supported, partial or flexible dentures available, helping you to maximize your smile and minimize your discomfort. Give them a call and see how they can help you today!

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European Denture Center
map 1111 Pacific Ave Suite A - Everett WA
phone (425) 230-3010