Thinking of replacing your missing teeth with dentures? If so, you might be curious to know more about these natural-looking tooth replacements. In today’s post, our Vancouver dentists at South Granville Dentistry offer some insight into the history of dentures, and what they are made of today.
A Brief History of Dentures
Humans have used dentures to restore the function and appearance of their smile for many centuries. These popular tooth replacements help improve people’s ability to speak and chew normally. Plus, they inspire people’s feelings of confidence in the smile.
Here is the story of how dentures began and how they’ve improved since those early days:
The Earliest Dentures: In northern Italy, way back around 700 BC, people built dentures out of a combination of human and animal teeth.
Dentures in the 1700s: Walrus ivory, hippopotamus and elephants were being used to make dentures by the 1700s. For those who were able to afford them, dentures constructed from these sources were a popular way to replace missing teeth.
Many believe that George Washington had some of the highest quality dentures that were available in his time. It’s believed that his dentures were created from hippopotamus ivory embedded with a collection of horse, human and donkey teeth.
Dentures in the 1800s: In this time period, 18-karat gold plates inlaid with porcelain teeth were created by Claudius Ash for his wealthy clients. Later in that century, Ash progressed to creating more affordable dentures constructed of hardened rubber with porcelain teeth.
The technology used in modern dentures has come a long way since those early days. Today, denture wearers enjoy a more natural appearance, feel and function than ever. Natural-looking, affordable materials such as porcelain or acrylic resin are now used, replacing the gold plates and animal teeth of early iterations.
Porcelain Dentures - Pros & Cons
Porcelain looks and feels very natural. Dentures consisting of porcelain offer the wearer many benefits, including a more natural feel than acrylic teeth and a beautiful, translucent appearance. Porcelain teeth are also hard and long-lasting.
However, when compared to acrylic resin teeth, porcelain dentures are much more fragile. If they are dropped on a hard surface, they can be easily chipped or broken. Plus, the hard nature of porcelain dentures means they can cause any natural teeth that bite against them to quickly wear down.
Acrylic Resin Dentures - Pros & Cons
Typically less expensive compared to porcelain dentures, acrylic dentures are also lighter. The main objection many denture wearers may have to getting acrylic resin dentures is that they tend to wear down faster than their porcelain counterparts. When properly cared for, acrylic dentures can be expected to last for about 5 to 8 years before needing to be replaced.
Denture Plate Options
A denture plate rests on your gums and holds the teeth in place. This part is no longer formed from gold or carved from ivory. Modern denture plates may be constructed from a range of different materials, including cobalt metal, rigid acrylic resin or flexible (nylon) polymer.
Acrylic denture plates are tinted to look very similar to natural gums. They are designed with an artificial gum line. Typically, metal denture plates fit better than acrylic resin plates, and are a more durable option. Metal dentures are often used for partial dentures, where the plate is concealed behind remaining natural teeth.