False Teeth in History

False Teeth in History

Posted by DR. GURI S. DHALIWAL on May 30 2016, 09:17 PM

Dentures are an important option to ensure the ability to chew food effectively. Although many new innovations have improved designs significantly, the premise of these artificial implants has not changed appreciably. Exploring the history of false teeth can be a fascinating pursuit before visiting a family dentistry practitioner to receive treatment.

Ancient History

Archeologists have uncovered evidence that leads them to believe that ancient people around the world used a variety of methods to replace missing teeth.

Archeological finds in Egypt have surfaced that suggest that primitive implants may have been in use as far back as 1500 B.C. Instead of making the dentures out of other materials, like ivory, wood, or plastic, the Egyptians actually inserted gold wire through real teeth to make a new set.

In ancient Mexico, people replaced missing teeth with those of animals. No one knows exactly how they kept these replacements in place, however.

The ancient Japanese used wood to make sets of dentures. These ancient sets actually resembled modern false teeth closely, and they stayed in the mouth with suction.

Mayans had impressive success with their version of family dentistry. They devised tooth replacements using shells, bones, or stones. Archeological evidence even shows that in some cases, the replacement material fused to the jawbone.

More Recent History

A common false tooth tale centers around George Washington wearing dentures made out of wood. Actually, Washington was wealthy enough to be able to afford a much nicer set. His false teeth were made out of hippopotamus ivory and the teeth of humans, horses, and donkeys. History suggests that Washington found his dental issues embarrassing, and he frequently returned to his family dentistry provider for help with adjustments.

A British doctor receives credit as the creator of the first set of false teeth made out of porcelain. Some issues existed with this design; however, due to their unnatural color and fragility.

Although dentures have had an impressive evolution, there’s no limit to where innovation may take them in the future.

Thanks to Kathy McGraw for the denture photo

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Guri S. Dhaliwal, D.M.D

I graduated from the University of Southern California with my Bachelors's in Sociology. I then traded in the sun and surf for the frigid winters of Boston to pursue my dental degree at Boston University. Alas, the cold was too much for this Southern California boy to bare and I returned home to complete an additional year of training at the University of California, Los Angeles, obtaining my Advanced Education in General Dentistry certification in 1993.

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Cosmetic, Family & Implant Dentistry

18080 San Ramon Valley BLVD. Suite 108,
San Ramon, CA 94583
(925) 244-9770

5.0 stars from 161 Reviews