Evolution of Dentures
What do you think of, when you think of dentures? Perhaps your mind wanders to thoughts of your grandparents leaving their dentures to soak in a glass of water next to the bed overnight? Or do you think of the tales of George Washington and his wooden dentures?
Today’s dentures are a far cry from those that your mind might conjure up, and they are definitely far removed from the one-size generic pieces that slip and move when in the mouth. Dentures have been evolving for thousands of years, and with the technology available to us today, we are able to create dentures that are custom fit and offer a natural look when they are in place.
The Very Early Years of Dentures
Archeologists have made denture discoveries that reach as far back as when the Ancient Egyptians ruled the world. These early dentures were made using animal teeth, and even human teeth, and were threaded together using thin gold wire.
While it does not serve anyone well to consider from where the human teeth were sourced, these early dentures were simple in design, produced relatively easy, and did the job asked of them.
As sugar consumption increased around the world, many centuries later, so did tooth decay. In the 1700s, this led to dentures being made using ivory sourced from elephant, walrus, and even hippopotamus.
Going back to George Washington and the legends of his wooden teeth, you might be surprised to learn that his dentures weren’t wooden at all. This founding father owned dentures that were actually quite advanced for that time period. The denture plate itself was made with hippopotamus ivory and included human, donkey, and horse teeth as a part of its makeup.
Denture designs and quality took off from this stage in history, with the first porcelain dentures being crafted in 1774. They were not very durable, unfortunately. As recently as the 1820s, human teeth were still being incorporated into dentures made with an animal ivory base. It was then when a goldsmith by the name of Claudius Ash combined 18-karat gold plates with mounted porcelain teeth, with springs and swivels included to give better functionality to the dentures.
Soon after, dentures were made from a hardened rubber, and crafted porcelain teeth were set into it. Acrylic resins and other types of plastics were also ultimately incorporated into the manufacturing of dentures.
Dentures have an interesting history, one that is filled with morbid tales of teeth harvesting from battlefields, and wooden teeth carved for emperors. But the evolution of dentures has led us to where we are today, where we can restore a smile with full and partial custom dentures that look natural, and feel comfortable.
Today we have the advantage of technology and advanced manufacturing skills to help us prepare dentures that not only fit well, and look natural, but that are definitely free from sourced human and horse teeth.
Using Digital Dentistry, To Get the Best Results
Today’s dentures, whether full or partial, are custom designed and manufactured to fit the mouth of each person. This ensures that not only will the dentist be able to set the denture in place without risk of pinching, scratching, or other irritations occurring, but it ensures that the dental patient will have dentures that allow for clear speech.
- Long gone are the days of accepting one-size dentures that irritate the inside of your mouth, or slip out when you’re trying to talk.
- Long gone are the days of using goopy impressions to create artificial teeth, whether crowns or dentures.
Dental technology has advanced to where companies like Sky-CAD can create bridges, partial dentures, and other dental pieces that patients need, all with the use of digital impressions.
The digital impressions process incorporates cutting edge technology, innovative software and devices, and materials that are easy to work with during the process.
The process starts by using dental chairside tools that collect data about the patient’s individual dental state. Hand-held cameras combined with digital radiography capture the images of the patient’s mouth and any existing teeth.
This allows for partial or full dentures to be created with accuracy, to ensure that they fit well over teeth or implants the patient has in his or her mouth.
Are Dentures Right for Every Patient?
Dental prosthetics can help to restore a smile, but they are not always the ideal choice for all dental patients. The ideal denture candidate is an individual who has experienced major tooth loss but still has sufficient healthy jawbone and gum tissue.
The extent of tooth loss will also play a role in the decision to get dentures, as if a patient is missing just one or two teeth then a dental bridge might be a better alternative to consider.
A partial prosthetic may be the way to go if there are a large number of missing teeth, or if there are no more remaining healthy teeth.
Implants can be an option to consider, and there are options that combine dentures with implants; as the implants will help to keep the denture in place. If there is insufficient healthy jawbone for the implants, then they can’t be a consideration.
Implant supported dentures are quite durable and will ensure that the patient is able to talk, eat, and laugh without fear of the dentures shifting out of place.
Another consideration for dentures and the other available dental prosthetic options is that budget can very often play a role in the decision-making process. Patients who may otherwise be a good candidate for implants may not be able to budget for them or get approval through their dental insurance company.
Dentures offer a more budget-friendly choice for those who are in need of dental prosthetics. With the advancements in technology, and the ability to get dentures that are just the right fit for each patient, dentures shouldn’t be considered to be an inferior choice for those who are missing teeth.