Many of us can recall a memory of a grandparent’s dentures floating in a glass of water. Seeing a full set of teeth outside the context of a beloved relative’s mouth is enough to scare any kid into regular brushing and flossing. Alas, despite your best efforts to maintain your pearly whites, you might find yourself with a chipped, cracked or missing tooth and in need of a solution for restoring a healthy smile.
Today, there are a number of tooth replacement options that are a lot more stable, long lasting, and comfortable than dentures. As you might guess, our ancestors weren’t so lucky. Here’s a quick look at the history of dentures and teeth replacement that’ll make you glad to be a member of modern civilization.
Dentures in the early days
When George Washington was inaugurated as the first President of the United States in 1789, he only had one tooth left in his mouth. Tooth decay was rampant at this time due to the increasing availability of sugar and tobacco, so a market for dentures was born. Dr. John Greenwood, a dentist from New York, set about fixing George Washington’s smile with nothing more than hippopotamus ivory, gold wire springs and brass screws, and some human, horse, and donkey teeth he had procured. Needless to say, the dentures of the 18th century were clunky and painful to wear – not to mention unsightly.
In the 19th century, dentures were slightly better looking – though no more ethically sourced than earlier versions. After the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, practitioners made dentures out of young, healthy teeth stolen from the thousands of men who were killed in combat. These dentures were known as “Waterloo Teeth,” and they referred to any teeth stolen from a soldier in the 19th century. During this time, teeth were also pilfered from executed criminals and even acquired through direct sale by the impoverished.
The shift to synthetic materials for dentures
Finally, in 1820, a silversmith and goldsmith by the name of Claudius Ash was tasked with the challenge of fashioning new and improved dentures that didn’t require human or animal teeth. He succeeded by mounting porcelain on 18-karat gold plates with gold springs and swivels. The new dentures were far more functionally and aesthetically pleasing – but there was room for improvement. From the 1850s onward, dentures were crafted of a hardened rubber into which porcelain teeth were set. It wasn’t until the 20th century that dentures evolved to use acrylic resin and other plastics, which is something you might recognize today.
Ditch your dentures for a Hybrid4 Fixed Bridge
To say tooth replacement has come a long way since the ivory dentures of the 1700s would be an understatement. Though dentures today are much more advanced, you still have to worry about them falling out or looking unnatural. Luckily, there’s a better solution to a perfect smile in the Hybrid4 Fixed Bridge.
With the Hybrid4 Fixed Bridge, you can replace your dentures with an entirely new set of teeth in just one day. The Hybrid4 contains a fixed, full arch of teeth fastened to four dental implants. They look, feel, and function just like natural teeth, and you don’t have to take them out at night. While you won’t be able to scare your own grandchildren with a set of dentures on your nightstand, it’s a small price to pay for the boost in confidence you’ll enjoy from a beautiful, permanent solution.
Contact Town Center Dentistry today to schedule a Hybrid4 consultation with our team of dental experts!