With the advancement in modern dental care, the number of adults who need dentures is gradually decreasing. And for those who do need them, modern dentures are more discreet and more comfortable than ever.
But have you wondered what our ancestors did to replace their missing teeth? Read on to find out.
It is estimated that dentures date back to at least 2500 BC, when animal teeth were used to replace missing or rotten teeth. However, the most interesting innovation in dentures came with wooden teeth.
While it’s likely not true that George Washington had wooden dentures, they most certainly existed. However, for the most part, they were on the other side of the world.
The earliest records of these wooden teeth come from Japan, dating back to the 16th century. They weren’t a common option for dentures in the western world. During Washington’s time, dentures made of ivory, animal teeth, and even human teeth were a lot more prevalent in America. Therefore, he likely had dentures made from these materials.
On the other hand, the use of human and animal teeth to make dentures dates back to the Etruscans in the 7th century BCE, when gold wires were used to fix them into people’s mouths.
Ivory, human, and animal teeth are significantly more durable in the long run as compared to wooden teeth. This is why they were the more common material for dentures where they were available.
The use of wood to make dentures completely phased out by the time the 20th century rolled around. So, if you want to see what they looked like, you may need to visit a few museums.