Most of us know how George Washington wore dentures for most of his life, but contrary to popular belief, they were made from ivory, not wood. People have been using dentures made of various materials for hundreds of years. The team at Innovative Dental takes a look back into the history of these dental replacements.

The First False Teeth

Archaeologists have found evidence of rudimentary dentures in many different cultures all around the world. The ancient Egyptians would take human teeth and gold wire to fill in gaps made by missing teeth. Many ancient tribes in Mexico would replace lost teeth with those from animals, including wolves.

Japan has claim to the oldest known pair of complete dentures, believed to have been crafted for the priestess Nakaoka Tei. The replacement teeth were created from a species of tree called Japanese Box, and are shaped similarly to modern dentures. Wood was used as a primary form of tooth replacement in Japan until the 1800s.

Using Ivory and More

Replacement teeth were made from a variety of materials throughout the centuries. Animal teeth were a common replacement, as were teeth from other humans. The ancient Mayans used stones and shells to fill the space. In the 1700s, ivory from hippos and elephants became a popular material to use in dentures.

An Interesting Breakthrough

While ivory was the preferred material for many years, it had several drawbacks. It stained easily and was expensive to use. In the 1840s, a much easier material was created by the Goodyear family (who later founded Goodyear tires). This material, called vulcanite, was a hardened rubber that could be molded to fit a person’s gums. Vulcanite was used as the base of the dentures and replacement teeth were crafted from porcelain and painted to look more white.

The Latest Developments

Dentists continue to develop new technologies to make dentures more comfortable and functional than ever. In the 20th century, plastics became a cheap and efficient material for many purposes, including replacement teeth. Dentists use acrylic resin and other types of plastic to make affordable dental options for their patients.

Dentures at Innovative Dental

Innovative Dental uses the latest technologies in denture development to provide the best fit for our patients. Utilizing 3D x-ray technologies, our dental experts will create a unique denture for your specific needs. For more information on dentures or our other cosmetic dentistry services, check out the Innovative Dental website and schedule your next appointment. We look forward to working with you!