The History of Dentures & What They Are Made Of

The History of Dentures & What They Are Made Of

Are you considering getting dentures to replace your missing teeth? If so, you may be curious to know more about these natural looking tooth replacements. Today our Delta BC dentists share a little about the history of dentures, and what they are made of today.

A Brief History of Dentures

Over the course of history humans have used dentures to restore the function and appearance of their smile. Dentures have helped to make people feel more confident about their smile, and to improve their ability to chew and speak normally. Here's more about how dentures began and how they have improved since those early days:

  • The Earliest Dentures - Way back, around 700 BC in northern Italy, people constructed dentures out of a mixture of human and animal teeth.
  • Dentures in the 1700s - By the 1700's, dentures were being carved out of elephant, hippopotamus, or walrus ivory. These dentures were a popular way to replace missing teeth for those who could afford them. Rumour has it that George Washington had some of the highest quality dentures available in his time. It is believed that his dentures were made from carved hippopotamus ivory imbedded with a collection of donkey, horse, and human teeth. 
  • Dentures in the 1800s - Claudius Ash created 18-karat gold plates inlaid with porcelain teeth for his wealthy clients in the 1800's. Later in the century, Ash went on to create more affordable dentures made from hardened rubber with porcelain teeth. 

Dentures Today

Denture technology has certainly come a long way since those early days! Today's dentures provide wearers with a more natural look, feel and function than ever. Affordable and natural looking materials such as acrylic resin or porcelain have replaced the animal teeth and gold plates of the past.

Porcelain Dentures - Pros & Cons

Porcelain provides artificial teeth with a very natural look and feel. Dentures with porcelain teeth offer a number of benefits including a beautiful translucent appearance, and a more natural feel than acrylic teeth. Porcelain teeth are also very hard and long lasting.

Nonetheless, compared to acrylic resin teeth, porcelain teeth are much more fragile and easily broken or chipped if dropped on a hard surface. And the hard nature of porcelain dentures means that they can cause natural teeth which bite against them to wear down quickly.

Acrylic Resin Dentures - Pros & Cons

Acrylic dentures are typically less expensive compared to porcelain dentures and are lighter than dentures made from porcelain.

The main drawback of acrylic resin dentures is that they tend to wear faster than dentures with porcelain teeth. When cared for properly, you can expect acrylic dentures to last approximately 5-8 years before needing to be replaced.

Denture Plate Options

The denture plate is the part of the dentures that rests on the gums and holds the teeth in place. No longer carved out of ivory or formed out of gold, today's denture plates can be made from a range of different materials, including rigid acrylic resin, flexible (nylon) polymer, or cobalt metal. 

Acrylic denture plates are designed with an artificial gum line, tinted to look just like the natural gums. Metal denture plates are typically a more durable option and can offer a better fit than acrylic resin plates. Metal denture plates are most often used for partial dentures where the plate is hidden behind remaining natural teeth. 

If you're considering dentures to replace your missing teeth, contact our Delta office today to schedule a consultation. Our Delta dentists can help you decide on the best dentures to restore your smile.

Get on the path to a brighter, healthier smile. Contact Ladner Village Dental today!