People get dentures all the time now. Although dental implants have made a lot of headway, the price point is what matters most to many. But when they sit down and look at the new additions to their mouth, do they consider what the whole process was like many years ago? Do they realize that they are lucky to be living in a time where durable dentures can be made from high-quality material?
Do you ever wonder when they first came about? Who were some of the inventors? Dentures have quite an interesting history and they date back a lot further than you think they might. Humans have always been inventive… though the earlier methods would be considered a lot less sanitary than most people would like.
Early Ones Were Made With Unusual Material
Yes, for a long time, dentures were made from other people’s teeth as well as animal teeth. The ancient Etruscans, who were around 700 BC, made dentures from these. That stopped when their civilization collapsed, but then Europeans started doing it again in the 1700’s. Why? A familiar culprit: Sugar. This was introduced to society and it immediately started wreaking havoc on people’s teeth. This resulted in a lot of tooth loss as well as the need for something to replace them.
Besides ivory, people made these dentures from teeth taken from graves, peasants, and from teeth that had been pulled by dentists. Given how teeth tend to not maintain good quality once they are out, this was a haphazard result. But not everyone during the 1700s could afford the better ivory ones.
Paul Revere: Not Just a War Hero
People remember Paul Revere for his late-night horse ride where he uttered a similar-sounding cry about the British troops. But before that, he was known for making dentures, among other things. He was doing this to help his widow mother, and the dentistry work was a side job to supplement his main one. Revere made them out of the aforementioned ivory, which was very high-tech for the times – many of the others were made from other material, like wood. He also cleaned people’s teeth – remember, though, this was a far different time where people treated dentists as someone to solve a problem, not prevent one.
Interesting story about Revere – his dental work allowed him to be a forensic pathologist of sorts. A dead soldier had been badly maimed and there was no way to recognize who he was, since the British had removed all markings. Revere recognized his own dental handiwork and was able to identify who the deceased was based on that.
An Inspiration For Star Trek’s Spock?
The next material was made from vulcanite, which is flexible rubber. Charles Goodyear was the inventor and he created it in 1843. Hmmm. Where do we know that name now? They used it as a base for the dentures and it was significantly cheaper than the other material used. So this made it quite popular among people who were in need of dentures.
Other early types of dentures were made from porcelain… but they were found to crack much too often for people’s tastes. Fortunately, like many other aspects of medicine, technology has made today’s dentures much more sturdy. They are often comprised of acrylic resin and plastics that can easily be molded into whatever the dentist wants it to look like.
The best thing about today’s dentures, especially the higher-tier ones, is that they can perfectly resemble what one’s old teeth looked like. They have a much better grip in their mouth and both talking and eating are much easier than in earlier days. People often even have trouble telling that someone they know is even wearing dentures in the first place.
It will be interesting to see what dentures look like in the not-so-distant future. Perhaps another material will be made that makes them even more durable and affordable. But for now, you can enjoy the ones that you have and have hopefully been entertained by this brief history lesson.
While the staff at Hagerstown Dentist may not be able to regale you with a full history of dentures, they are experts at making sure that you get a great-fitting set. That’s thanks to their in-house dental lab, which can make dentures with amazing precision. Give them a call today (301) 200-9585.
1303 Pennsylvania Ave.
Hagerstown, MD 21740
Phone: (301) 200-9585