Dentures are quite popular these days. A lot of people get them for their affordability and the improvements to their smile, which can boost confidence. People know what they can do, but do they have an idea of the whole story?
Here’s something for you to learn all about dentures, including their quite humble beginnings.
A Brief History
Humans came up with the idea of replacing missing teeth a lot earlier than one might think. It was the ancient Etruscans, who lived in Italy around 700 B.C., constructed what we think of as dentures out of human or animal teeth. While the replacement teeth didn’t last long, they were fairly simple to make even given the lack of technology.
These types of dentures were popular until around the 18th century, when people started consuming sugar at a much higher rate… and as is common knowledge, sugar presents a higher risk for tooth decay. Teeth were being lost… and they had to come up with a different way to replace what was missing in the mouth. Wooden dentures were introduced – though legend has it wrong… George Washington wore teeth made of hippopotamus Ivory, not wood.
While technology did evolve some during Washington’s time – for example, porcelain dentures were created, but chipped too easily. Instead, the rather morbid practice of removing teeth from dead soldiers or executed criminals was used. That is, until a Westminster smith named Claudius Ash made dentures with porcelain on gold plates, along with springs and swivels made from gold. Thus, the movement toward both functionality and aesthetics began and culminated with the use of acrylic resin and plastics. The last ones are mainly in use today, though the quality and looks vary by price.
Why Use Them?
While the history of dentures does have some fascinating tidbits, it’s time to shift to more practical facts and explanations. Over the past half-century or a bit more, the field of dentistry has moved from being a reactionary one to a preventative one. People now regularly see the dentist twice a year for cleanings, whereas as in the past they only went if there was a problem with their teeth. Even with this safeguards, teeth are still lost… and need to be replaced in order to keep the other teeth in a person’s jaw from shifting around to try to make up for the empty space. The denture fills the void of “edentulism” or missing teeth, nicely and allows one to resume eating, talking, and even smiling confidently.
What Types Are There?
Now, to get into more details. The dentures can either be full, which replace a mouthful of missing teeth, or partial, which fit alongside remaining natural ones. These are an option for people who can’t get dental bridges.The full ones can use suction, though the lower tier ones tend to require adhesive. There are ones that can also attach to dental implants and there are also immediate dentures that are used while the gums heal from tooth extraction. All of the dentures are to be removed each night.
Durability And Lifespan
It’s important to know exactly what can and cannot be done with these. One has to be careful with their dentures – they are not as strong as they may appear. It’s important to handle them carefully and not drop them. It’s reasonable to expect them to last five to seven years, though they can last as long as ten with very diligent care.
When it comes to eating, the choices are a bit more limited than in the past, with some harder and crunchier foods being out of the picture. Learning to chew on a particular side can take a bit, but then it becomes second nature over the course of time. The same can be said about how to keep them in their mouths when talking. The dentures may feel foreign at first but most people adapt to them quickly.
Doing this is not time consuming, but it’s very important to brush the dentures carefully each day with a specially designed toothpaste. Regular toothpaste can be abrasive. Also, use a soft-bristled brush and then the dentures need to be soaked overnight in a special solution to keep them sterilized. Be sure to rinse them off in the morning before putting them back in the mouth.
Wearing dentures can be a very rewarding experience for people who have missing teeth. It’s better to have an idea of the full experience – including knowing what it was like in the past – before diving in.
The staff at US Dental Medical are extremely knowledgeable about dentures. They can tell what will work well with a given patient and will ensure that the entire process goes smoothly. They also have an in-house dental lab that cuts any waiting or repair time significantly. Give them a call at (614) 252-3181.