A bitesize look at the history of dentures

Dentures begin their history as far back as 700 BC when the ancient Etruscans of Italy created the very first concept of false teeth out of animal, or even human, teeth. These early dentures were not particularly durable, however. They quickly deteriorated but were quite easy to produce and remained the standard until the 1700s. While Etruscan false teeth were made with human or animal teeth, in the 1700s people started using enhanced materials such as ivory from elephants, as well as walrus and hippopotamus ivory.

Image credit

Processes and materials once again evolved in the 1770s. French dentists were not happy with ivory and turned to porcelain. To make them look as real as possible, each individual tooth was hand-painted. Sadly, these dentures were fragile, not aesthetically pleasing, and shrank when they are fired. For help with Dentures Southend on Sea, visit a site like Hockley Dental, suppliers of Dentures Southend on Sea.

It is a grisly fact that the most durable, aesthetic material remained human teeth and these were still widely used. They were also called “Waterloo teeth”, being given this name due to the harvesting of teeth from the dead soldiers of the 1815 battle of Waterloo – of which there were around 50,000. Waterloo teeth were affixed to a base of ivory. Another grim activity was the practice of teeth being sold by poor people desperate to make money. These teeth would be extracted from executed criminals!

Image credit

Thankfully, the denture base got a quality upgrade in 1850 with the introduction of vulcanite, a hard rubber shape where dental porcelain could be set. Last century, acrylic resin and similar plastics became the materials of choice. The final chapter in the evolution of dentures in written now with the advent of CAD / CAM and 3D printing.