There’s a widespread perception of dentures as ill-fitting, unnatural-looking, things that can fall from your mouth. But dentures haven’t always been viewed with such disdain. They actually have a long history of use, and have served us well through the last few hundred years. And even now, modern denture improvements have made it so they can continue doing so in the future for those patients who have experienced tooth loss.

Dentures have come a long way, and today they’re an effective, attractive solution to missing teeth. Of course dentures weren’t always easy, and they certainly weren’t attractive. In many instances, they were really quite gruesome.

old time man talking with young women

Dentures Through the Ages

Dentures may seem like a relatively modern construction, but actually, they’ve been around a long time. The first sets of dentures that historians are aware of were created by Etruscans in northern Italy around 700 BC from animal teeth, or even human teeth sometimes! This type of dentures remained popular all the way until the 1800s, although ivory dentures entered the picture in the 1700s as competition, and some sets of dentures were made with human teeth mounted onto an ivory base, combining the two concepts.

When you think of dentures in history, the first name that pops into most people’s heads is George Washington. Despite being popularly known for his wooden teeth, Washington’s dentures were not, in fact, made of wood. Instead, he had multiple sets made of different materials, such as hippopotamus ivory and human teeth. Washington’s dentures were top-of-the-line for his time period — the best that money could buy.

Unfortunately, this demand for human teeth led to some unsavory practices in the gathering of materials for dentures. Grave robbing was a common practice used to obtain spare teeth, and yanking out the teeth of corpses after a battle was so common that they became known as “Waterloo teeth.” Some people even sold their own teeth for a bit of quick cash; think of Fantine selling her two front teeth in Les Miserables to support her daughter. Some of Washington’s dentures were made with the teeth of slaves.

This rising demand for human teeth led to denture creators seeking out more renewable sources of teeth, which is when porcelain became popular. Porcelain teeth were set into a base of hardened rubber after around 1850, and by the time the 20th century rolled around, dentures were being made primarily from plastics and acrylics.

Dentures Today

Luckily, nobody today has to wear somebody else’s teeth in their mouth! Today’s dentures are durable, realistic-looking, and comfortable. They’re carefully designed to fit and stay in your mouth so you can speak, eat, and laugh without fear of them slipping.

If you decide on Fountain of Youth dentures, your dentist will design dentures that are a perfect fit for your face and your mouth. This will ensure that they are both comfortable and attractive, making them a perfect replacement for your real teeth.

To learn more about the benefits of FOY® Dentures in Wilmington, NC, please call (910) 392-6060 or email Kuzma Advanced Dentistry for an appointment with cosmetic dentist Dr. Michael Kuzma.