How Dentures Have Evolved Throughout the Centuries

Dentures are thousands of years old. Thankfully, they aren’t the same as they were in ancient times. The evolution of dentures is an example of the resilience of mankind and the ever-present desire to improve. Continue reading to learn how the dentures available today came to be so comfortable and functional.

The Story of Dentures

It’s believed that the ancient Egyptians developed the first set of dentures, which were adopted by the later Etruscans. They are accredited with creating an early form of partial dentures from animal or human teeth held together with gold wires. If for nothing else, you can thank innovation for no longer having to sport another mammal’s choppers.

Here’s how dentures further progressed:

The Japanese

The Japanese were the first people to create the more modern looking dentures using wood. Similar to present-day dentures, they relied on suction techniques to hold them in place. They even used beeswax to create dental impressions.

The Advancements of the 18th Century

In 1726, Pierre Fauchard made dentures using a metal frame and teeth made from animal bone. Nearly 50 years later, Alexis Duchateau improved Fauchard’s work by making the very first porcelain dentures. In 1792, Nicolas Dubois De Chemant was granted a patent for his Wedgewood porcelain teeth. While modern dentures have come a long way since then, these are the giant shoulders they stand on.

The Difference Modern Dentures Make

The techniques used to create modern dentures are highly sophisticated. Patients are left with customized restorations that are natural-looking and comfortable to wear. Instead of wood, metal or hardened rubber, dentists now use polymethylmethacrylate, a type of acrylic resin available in many shades that resemble real gum tissue. High-quality porcelain prosthetics rest atop them that closely resemble your natural teeth.

The Process of Receiving Dentures

Denture fabrication can take up to 10 weeks to complete. Here are the major steps taken:

  • Step #1 – Your dentist will take bite impressions of your gums. However, if you need extractions, you’ll be allowed time to heal properly before the impressions are taken.
  • Step #2 – Wax rims are placed in your mouth that allow your dentist to determine the proper bite and occlusion (how your teeth meet). At this point, you’ll also have an opportunity to select the size, shape and color of your new teeth. The specifications will be sent to a special lab for the denture fabrication.
  • Step #3 – The dental lab will send a mockup to your dentist, and they will be temporarily placed in your mouth to determine if they fit correctly.
  • Step #4 – Once the fitting is completed and any adjustments are satisfactorily made, the final prosthetic will be created to fully restore your smile.

If you’ve been living without a full set of teeth, dentures in La Mesa provide a way to once again lead a fruitful life. To take advantage of the evolved prosthetics now available, contact your local dentist to schedule a visit!

About the Author

Dr. Peter F. Johnson earned his dental degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. He was later awarded a Prosthodontic Certificate from the School of Dentistry at the University of Southern California. A Diplomate of the American Board of Prosthodontics, Dr. Johnson creates happy and healthy smiles by placing dentures at San Diego Denture & Implant Specialists, and he can be reached for more information through his website.

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