Dentures Then And Now
September 20, 2017
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AS RECENTLY AS 2012, one fifth of American adults over sixty-five had lost all of their natural teeth. Whether the tooth loss is from age or other causes, it is a problem dentists have been dealing with for thousands of years.


Dentures Have Ancient Roots

False teeth have been around in some form since at least 700 B.C., when they were made out of human or animal teeth. Tooth decay became a much bigger problem after the Industrial Revolution when refined sugar became cheap and our intake of it drastically increased. Because more people were losing teeth, more people needed false ones, and denture technology advanced.

One famous man who needed dentures back in the day was George Washington. You may have heard that he had wooden teeth, but that is actually a myth. He had several sets of dentures custom made for him from hippo ivory and human teeth, with gold wires and brass screws to hold them together.

Today’s Dentures Have Come A Long Way

Modern dentures are typically made of plastics and acrylic resins and come in multiple forms.  Let’s review the main denture types.

The Classic: Full Denture

When none of the natural teeth can be saved, a conventional full denture is a common choice. The denture isn’t placed in the patient’s mouth until after the gum tissues have finished healing, which can take several months.

Many people don’t like going long without teeth, so immediate full dentures can be used in the meantime. Because the bone changes shape over the course of the healing process, immediate full dentures have the drawback of not always fitting very well and potentially irritating the healing gums.

The Hybrid: Partial Denture

When at least a few of the natural teeth are still present, they serve as excellent anchors for partial dentures that replace the teeth that are missing. Partial dentures can be inserted and removed in much the same way as a retainer.  Partial dentures are a great option because the more of your original teeth you have, the stronger your jaw bones will be.

Going Bionic: Implant-Supported Denture

The main drawback to removable dentures is that they do little to prevent bone loss in the jaws that occurs with tooth loss. Permanent options like dental implants, bridges, and implant-supported dentures do much better at continuing to apply pressure from your bite that the bone needs in order to stay strong, thus helping to preserve the patient’s facial structure. They also make it easier to speak and chew than removable dentures because there is no risk of them falling out.  To learn more about implant supported dentures visit:

Take Proper Care Of Your Dentures

All false teeth need regular cleaning to prevent discoloration and plaque buildup, whether they’re removable or permanent. They need to be brushed along with your gums, tongue, and palate. It’s important not to let them dry out, so you should store them in room temperature water when not wearing them unless instructed otherwise.

Come See Us!

If you are considering dentures, don’t hesitate to talk to us! We can provide any information you need. It can be difficult to have confidence when you have missing teeth, but dentures can let you take charge again.

We’re here to help you love your smile again!


Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.


The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.