Oral Health and Genetic Risk Factors

The Evolution of Dentures: What Were Dentures Made from in the Past?

False teeth have come a long, long way. In fact, they have evolved over a span of at least 4,000 years, first being used by the Egyptians as part of a crude dental bridge to replace lost teeth. Back then, only the most esteemed in society would have had access to them. As time went on, however, dentures became more accessible to the general public.

Unlike today's dentures, which are made to fit comfortably and actually resemble real teeth, the dentures of the past were both uncomfortable and made of some peculiar and shiver-inducing materials. If you are thinking about getting dentures but are put off by the thought of wearing false teeth, the following list should help to put your worries into perspective.

Metal and Assorted Teeth from the Deceased

The Etruscans of northern Italy created dentures made from the teeth of the deceased. These teeth were held together with metal bands made of gold, silver and several other metals. In some cases, animal teeth were used instead of human teeth. These dentures also did not have a dental plate or any form of cushioning, and so they must have been very painful to wear.

Stone, Wood and Ivory

In the 1500s, the Japanese carved their dentures from wood, ivory, and even stone. The dentures were carved according to the shape of the wearer's mouth and could be held in place via suction, much like the dentures of today. But of course, you can imagine just how unpleasant it would have been to have to walk around with a mouth full of stone or wood.

The Teeth of Deceased Soldiers

In the 18th century, European teeth were ravaged by the emergence of sugar. Unsurprisingly, dentistry became a big business, especially for those who could supply a steady stream of teeth. In the aftermath of the Battle of Waterloo, the teeth of the thousands of fallen soldiers were taken and used to create dentures. Dentists even placed ads in newspapers requesting teeth, leading some people to sell their own teeth in exchange for money.

Today's Dentures Are Comfortable in Comparison

The dentures of the past were a nightmarish mishmash of experimental materials that were no doubt extremely uncomfortable. Although the dentures of today do require an adjustment period as you get used to wearing them, they are far more comfortable, not to mention, attractive.

If you are worried about how you might look with false teeth, take your time when selecting a dental clinic. Get to know the denturist, ask to see before and after pictures and have them take you through the whole process. When done well, a new set of dentures can boost your self-esteem and allow you to eat foods that you have previously been unable to eat.