Posts Tagged ‘history of dentures’
Dentures and false teeth are a common part of our world. We have all heard the myths about them such as George Washington having wooden dentures and many of us have relatives with false teeth. The Etruscans of northern Italy produced dentures using human and animal teeth as early as 700 BC. The teeth decayed rapidly but were easy to make and were used often until the middle of the 19th century.
Early European dentures from the 15th century were made of bone or ivory. Often human teeth were used either from recently deceased or poor people who sold their teeth for money. These dentures were not comfortable and were attached to any remaining teeth by threads of silk or metal. Wealthy persons had dentures made of silver, gold, or mother of pearl. Keeping the false teeth in the mouth became difficult as the number of real teeth decreased and those that had full dentures had to remove them to eat.
During the middle ages dentures were not often considered and gaps in the teeth were expected even among the nobles. In fact, Queen Elizabeth I put white cloth in the gaps of her teeth to look better in public. Alexis Duchateau made the first porcelain dentures in about 1770 and the first British patent was issued to Nicholas Dubois De Chemant. His method used springs to fasten the teeth and he began selling his products in 1792 using porcelain mainly supplied by Wedgwood.
Claudius Ash manufactured top quality porcelain dentures and affixed them to 18-carat gold plates in 1820. Plaster was used to make molds of the mouth which made dentures a better fit and the use of Vulcanite (hardened rubber) became common in the 1850s. It was cheap and flexible which made it easy to work with and Ash’s company was a prime manufacturer of dental quality Vulcanized rubber.
The 20th century saw dentures made of acrylics and other plastic materials become much more widely accepted but increased dental care has led to a reduction of full dentures in the past 40 years. The method of manufacturing dentures has improved to the point that they mimic natural teeth with minimal discomfort.
Tags: 1792, 700 B.C., Alexis Duchateau, Ancient History, animal teeth as dentures, Bone dentures, Claudius Ash, dentures in the middle ages, false teeth, George Washington's dentures, gold teeth, history of dentures, Ivory Dentures, Medieval History, Modern History, mother of pearl teeth, Nicholas Dubois de Chemant, porcelain dentures, Queen Elizabeth I, silver teeth, the Etruscans, the middle ages