|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 shot through the roof. Because more people were losing teeth, more people needed false ones, and denture technology advanced.
Easily the most famous man who needed dentures back in the day was George Washington. We’ve all heard about his wooden teeth, but they’re 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.
Modern Dentures Have Come A Long Way
Today, dentures are typically made of plastics and acrylic resin, but they come in several different types, so let’s look at the main ones.
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 so long without teeth, so immediate full dentures can be used in the meantime. Because the bone changes shape over the course of those months, immediate full dentures have the drawback of not always fitting very well, and they can irritate the healing gums.
Want to learn how dentures are made? Check out the video below: