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History of Dentures

A pair of denturesToday’s dentures are more realistic looking and comfortable than ever before. However, the need for dentures goes back much farther than our sophisticated materials. It makes one wonder about how dentures were constructed in the past? We’ve all heard the myth that George Washington had a set of wooden dentures (in reality, his dentures were made of lead, ivory, and hippo teeth), but archeologists have discovered early forms of dentures that date back to thousands of years before our founding fathers.

Dentures Throughout History

Evidence has been found that may suggest that Egyptians were using crude technology to make a form of dentures as early as 1500 BC. They would use human teeth and thread them together using wire. Egyptians were then able to use sets of false teeth as replacements for those with lost or missing teeth.

Ancient Mexican tribes were able to use false teeth even early than the Egyptians. They would use animal teeth to replace their own, even though they weren’t sophisticated enough to employ wire to hold them together. The exact process still isn’t known, but it is thought that they would simply insert the animal teeth into the empty sockets along the gum line.

History’s oldest known set of dentures was discovered in Japan. They were a set of wooden teeth traced back to the Ganjyoji Temple. The wood used to make the teeth were from a Japanese Boxtree. The dentures had the same shape as modern dentures and were held in the mouth with a form of suction at the roof of the mouth. These Japanese dentures worked so well that they were used all the way until the late 19th century.

The first set of porcelain dentures was constructed in Europe around the 1770s. The first patent for dentures was by Nicholas Dubois De Chemant in 1791, and he began marketing his product the next year. From this point forward, dentures became more durable and reliable all the time, leading up to the dentures we know today!

Dental implants are an even better way to replace missing teeth than the use of dentures. To learn more about dental implants and if they’re the right option for you, please contact Littleton Implants and Periodontics, located here in Littleton, Colorado.

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