Considering getting dentures to replace your missing teeth? If so, you may be looking to learn more about these natural-looking tooth replacements. Here, our Surrey dentists share some history behind dentures, and what they are made of today.
A Brief History of Dentures
For many centuries, dentures have been used to restore the function and appearance of peoples’ smiles. These popular replacements for teeth help improve many individuals’ ability to chew and speak normally. They also inspire feelings of confidence in their smile.
Here is the story of how dentures started and how they’ve improved since those early days:
The Earliest Dentures: Way back around 700 BC in northern Italy, dentures were constructed from a combination of human and animal teeth.
Dentures in the 1700s: Elephants, hippopotamus and walrus ivory were being used to create dentures by the 1700s. For those who were able to afford these pieces, dentures build from these sources were a popular way of replacing missing teeth.
Many believe that George Washington sported some of the highest quality dentures that would have been available in his time. It’s thought that his dentures were constructed from hippopotamus ivory embedded with a collection of donkey, horse and human teeth.
Dentures in the 1800s: During this time period, Claudius Ash created 18-karat gold plates inlaid with porcelain teeth. Later in that century, Ash would progress to constructing more affordable dentures from hardened rubber with porcelain teeth.
Since those early days, technology used in modern dentures has come a long way. Denture wearers today enjoy a more natural appearance, function and feel than ever. Affordable, natural-looking materials such as acrylic resin or porcelain have replaced animal teeth and gold plates of early iterations.
Porcelain Dentures — Pros & Cons
Natural-looking porcelain offers the wearer many benefits, including a more natural feel compared to acrylic due to its beautiful, translucent appearance. Porcelain teeth will also last long thanks to their hardness.
However, porcelain dentures are much more fragile compared to acrylic resin teeth. This means that they can be easily chipped or broken if dropped on a hard surface. In addition, because porcelain dentures are hard, they can cause any natural teeth that bite against them to quickly wear down.
Acrylic Resin Dentures — Pros & Cons
Acrylic dentures are lighter and usually less expensive compared to porcelain dentures. Many denture wearers object to having acrylic resin dentures because they tend to wear down faster than their porcelain counterparts. But provided they are properly cared for, you can expect acrylic dentures to last for between 5 and 8 years before needing to replace them.
Denture Plate Options
A denture plate holds your teeth in place and rests on your gums. No longer carved from ivory or made from gold, modern denture plates may be constructed from a range of materials such as rigid acrylic resin, cobalt metal or flexible (nylon) polymer.
Acrylic denture plates are tinted to resemble natural gums and designed with an artificial gum line. Typically, metal denture plates will have a better fit than acrylic resin plates and are a more durable option. Partial dentures are often constructed from metal dentures, where the plate is concealed behind remaining natural teeth.