History of Dental Bridges and Dentures

By Dr. Damon on January 29, 2019

A full set of denturesIn the Dallas-Fort Worth, TX metroplex, it is not difficult to find dental practices that offer natural-looking, comfortable replacements for one or more missing teeth. But that has not always been the case.

Centuries ago, restorative dentistry and teeth replacement options were rudimentary. In this blog post, the team at Texas Dental Center review the long and interesting history of dental bridges and dentures.

The Earliest Restorative Techniques

The ancient Egyptians were some of the first people to create the early dental appliances that replaced missing teeth. Evidence has been found of a very primitive type of dental bridge, constructed of human teeth gathered with wire.

Later, around 700 B.C., the early Etruscans used their own version of early dental bridges. The only difference was they used animal teeth rather than human teeth.

In modern-day Mexico, ancient tribes tried a similar solution, using wolf teeth or small pieces of shell, stone, or animal bone to replace missing teeth.

Human remains have been discovered with these materials inserted into the gaps left behind from lost teeth. In fact, it appears that one material was successful in replacing missing teeth, as the shell actually assimilated with the persons’ jaw bone.

Washington’s Famous Wooden Teeth

Many Americans grew up hearing about George Washington’s legendary wooden teeth. Washington had dental problems throughout his life, including missing teeth. Although he had many dentures throughout his life, he never had a wooden set.

It is believed his dentures were created from human teeth, animal teeth, ivory, and metal alloys of lead, tin, copper and silver.

Introducing Porcelain and Plastic

The fault of many early restorative dental appliances was not just a bad fit, but unsuitable materials for long-lasting use. When porcelain was successfully used in dentures, people stopped using the ivory or human teeth varieties that had been popular in the past.

Attempts to build dentures and early dental bridges from porcelain had been occurring since the late 1700s, but it was not successfully until 1820.

Claudius Ash, a silversmith, bonded porcelain teeth onto solid gold plates with a network of metal hinges to allow for more comfortable biting and chewing.

Ash later went on to create another set of dentures using a rubber material called vulcanite. The rubber material became the standard base for restorative dental appliances until the 20th century when it was replaced by acrylic resin.

Modern Restorative Dentistry

In the 20th century, restorative dentistry advanced dramatically, thanks to the introduction of moldable plastics and other composite resins and acrylics to the medical community.

Natural-looking and long-lasting restorations were tested and researched, paving the way for modern techniques.

Today, the dentures and dental bridges are comfortable, durable, and last much longer than any techniques used in the past.

Dentures and Dental Bridges

If you need restorative dental care or teeth replacement treatment, contact our practice online or call us at (972) 808-6008. Our innovative approach to dentures, dental bridges, and other restorative dentistry services ensures that you will receive high-quality care.

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