For centuries, and maybe longer, people who’ve lost a significant amount of their permanent teeth have relied on dentures of various sorts to restore their smiles’ beauty and function. Today, dentures are custom-crafted to closely mimic a healthy, natural smile. Modern dentures even come equipped with replacement teeth roots (dental implants) that allow them to look and function like real teeth. Dentures and other attempts at replacing lost teeth weren’t always as advanced as they are today. However, the evidence suggests that the importance of maintaining a smile full of teeth has been common knowledge for longer than many people realize.

A Brief History of Tooth Replacement

  • At one of the oldest known burial sites in Mexico, archaeologists discovered what is believed to be the oldest known denture, crafted from the teeth of a wild jaguar or wolf and dating back to about 2500 BC. Closer inspection revealed that the male patient had his upper teeth filed down to accommodate the ceremonial dentures, which exposed his teeth’s pulp chambers and likely caused excruciating discomfort.
  • Remains from around 700 BC show that the wealthy Etruscans who populated ancient Italy also took an early interest in tooth replacement. They crafted dentures made from animal and human teeth, and secured them in place using gold wires and bridgework. The restorations deteriorated quickly, but the renewability of their resources made them popular well into the 19th century.
  • The first dentures made form porcelain, one of the most popular dental materials today, were designed by Alexis Duchâteau in 1770. Unfortunately for Duchâteau, his former assistant, Nicholas Dubois de Chemant, received the first British patent for the design in 1791.
  • President George Washington is one of the most famous denture wearers in all of history. Contrary to popular belief, though, his dentures weren’t made from wood. Washington actually possessed some of the highest-quality replacement teeth of his time, consisting of carved hippopotamus ivory.

About Brighton Family Dental Group:

Brighton Family Dental Group is located in Brighton MA. Featuring experienced dentists and an excellent range of in-office treatments, Brighton Family Dental Group is a great destination for any member of your family who is in need of dental care. Patients can schedule an appointment or a consultation with Dr. Thomas Villani by calling (617) 562-5210.