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The Evolution of Dentures

November 14, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — crovatto @ 9:08 pm
older woman wearing dentures

For the 120 million Americans grappling with the absence of at least one tooth, there’s fortunate news. Dentures, once rudimentary in design, have undergone a remarkable evolution to become the durable, natural-looking restorations we encounter today. Continue reading as we explore how dentures have evolved over the years to shed light on how far they have come since their inception.

Early Dentures

The inception of dentures can be traced back to 700 B.C., where early forms consisted of ivory, animal bones, and human teeth bound together with gold wires. However, these primitive dentures, owing to their discomfort and susceptibility to pressure during biting and chewing, were likely designed primarily for aesthetic purposes.

A breakthrough in denture history occurred during the 16th century in Japan, where the earliest surviving complete dentures were found. Crafted from wood and formed using an impression in beeswax, these dentures marked a significant development. Over time, the wooden bases evolved to include elements like human teeth, animal teeth and horns, and the a stone known as pagodite.

Contrary to the myth of George Washington having wooden teeth, his dentures were crafted from a carved hippopotamus ivory plate, incorporating horse, donkey, and human teeth as substitutes for his natural ones. Despite their use by the wealthy, these dentures suffered from issues such as staining, unpleasant odors, and discomfort, persisting into the early 1800s.

The Introduction of Porcelain Dentures

During the 1700s in Europe, the surge in sugar consumption led to a notable increase in tooth loss. In a fortunate turn of events, British physician Alexis Duch√Ęteau pioneered the creation of the initial set of porcelain dentures in 1774. Advancing this innovation, English silversmith Claudius Ash enhanced the restorations by introducing gold plates, springs, and swivels by the 1820s, improving their functionality.

In the mid-1800s, an economical alternative to expensive porcelain dentures emerged in the form of restorations crafted from hardened rubber. Not only were these dentures cost-effective, but they also offered a customizable fit for individual gum shapes. They gained popularity across all economic strata well into the 20th century until the advent of acrylic resin took precedence.

Dentures Today

Presently, dentures are crafted from plastics and acrylic resin, offering a secure, durable, cost-effective, and aesthetically pleasing dental solution. In addition to these advantages, contemporary dentures also:

  • Combat facial sagging by reinstating the support formerly provided by natural teeth
  • Revive a portion of bite power and the ability to enjoy a diverse, nutritious diet
  • Exhibit enhanced comfort compared to their historical counterparts
  • Provide the convenience of being removable and easy to clean

The evolution of dentures over the years has resulted in their current state, offering patients a beautiful, durable, and long-lasting smile. Thanks to centuries of innovations and progress in dental health, modern dentures stand as a testament to the advancements in the field.

About the Practice

Crovatto & Edwards Family Dentistry is dedicated to maintaining your vibrant smile with a variety of treatments. Whether you’re seeking ways to enhance the appearance of your teeth or exploring options for replacing missing teeth, their expert team can guide you toward the best choice for your unique needs. For more information about dentures or to schedule an appointment, visit the Crovatto & Edwards Family Dentistry website or contact their office at (904) 272-0800.

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