If you’re considering dentures to replace missing teeth, you may be curious to learn more about these natural-looking tooth replacements. Today, our Surrey dentists share some facts about the history of dentures and how they are made now.
A Brief History of Dentures
Over many centuries, people have restored the function and appearance of their smiles using dentures. These tooth replacements helped people feel more confident in their smiles while improving their ability to speak and chew normally.
Here is some in-depth background on how dentures came to be, and how they have improved since those early days:
The Earliest Dentures - Approximately 700 BC in northern Italy, dentures were made from a combination of human and animal teeth.
Dentures in the 1700s - By this time, humans were carving dentures from walrus ivory, elephant or hippopotamus. For people who could afford them, these dentures were a popular way to replace missing teeth.
There’s a rumour that George Washington had some of the highest quality dentures available in his lifetime. It’s believed that his dentures were carved from hippopotamus ivory embedded with a collection of teeth from horses, people and humans.
Dentures in the 1800s - Claudius Ash’s wealthy clients received 18-karat gold plates inlaid with porcelain teeth. Later in that century, Ash would create more affordable dentures constructed from hardened rubber with porcelain teeth.
Since those early days, denture technology has definitely come a long way! Today’s dentures offer those wearing them a more natural look, feel and function. The gold plates and animal teeth of past centuries have been replaced with natural-looking, affordable materials such as porcelain or acrylic resin.
Porcelain Dentures - Pros & Cons
Porcelain brings a very natural look and feel to artificial teeth. Dentures made from porcelain offer a number of benefits including a beautiful translucent appearance, and a more natural feel than acrylic teeth. The added bonus is that porcelain is very hard and long-lasting.
However, when compared to acrylic resin, porcelain is much more fragile and easily chipped or broken if dropped on a hard surface. And because porcelain dentures are so hard, this means that they can cause quick wear on natural teeth which may bite against them.
Acrylic Resin Dentures - Pros & Cons
Typically, acrylic dentures are lighter than porcelain, and also less expensive. The main drawback of acrylic resin dentures is that they tend to wear faster. When cared for properly, you can expect acrylic dentures to last about 5 to 8 years before needing to be replaced.
Denture Plate Options
The denture plate rests on the gums and holds the teeth in place. This piece is no longer formed from gold or carved out of ivory. These days, denture plates are made from numerous different materials, including flexible (nylon) polymer, cobalt metal, or rigid acrylic resin.
Acrylic denture plates are designed with an artificial gum line and tinted to look just like natural gums. Metal denture plates are typically a more durable option than acrylic resin plates and can offer a better fit. Metal denture plates are most often used for partial dentures, where natural teeth cover the plate.