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Dentures are what dentists use when missing are teeth. Tooth loss can be caused by a number of things but most commonly by gum disease and tooth decay. There may also be other reasons relating to injuries. Partial dentures are for people who are missing only some of their teeth. Full dentures encompass all of your lost teeth, and are used when you have no teeth left at all. You may think that getting dentures is purely an aesthetic thing but actually, having no teeth at all can cause problems for facial structure and your ability to chew and bite. It is important to take into account the negative impact having no teeth would have on your psychological health also. You may feel very low in confidence and self esteem. The good news is that dentures can improve your smile and can last for a considerable amount of time.

The Procedure

When preparing your mouth for a denture, the dentist will start by making an assessment of your mouth and your individual needs. An exact mould with all the indentations and contours of your mouth will be taken and formed so that the dentist can model your dentures to match you exactly. This will ensure not only that the denture is comfortable but that it looks exactly like your natural teeth. Often people cannot tell if you have a denture.

When were Dentures Invented?

Dentures have been a popular solution to missing teeth for many centuries. The oldest dentures’ wearer in the world is believed to be a 4500-year-old skeleton which was discovered by archaeologists who were digging in Mexico. Despite not actually finding the dentures, the archaeologists believed that the skeleton’s ground-down front teeth implied that room had been made in his mouth for false teeth. 

For the last 100 years dentures have been created from a mould taken of the mouth but before that the false teeth would have been carved out of blocks of the aforementioned materials. Luckily taking a mould of your mouth means that dentures are often imperceptible.

What are Dentures made of?

Dentures were originally made from pieces of animal tooth or bone (hippopotamus tooth was particularly popular). Over the years they have been made from wood, rubber, plastics and resin. In 1770 Alexis Duchateau made the first porcelain dentures – the appearance of which would be more familiar to us today. It was not uncommon practice for people short of cash to sell their teeth for them to be fitted in another mouth, nor for the teeth of dead humans to be used to revive the smile of a someone living! Porcelain was used for a long time but nowadays the majority of dentures are made of acrylic (a kind of plastic that can resemble glass in composition but is much stronger and lighter).

Are Dentures just for Old People?

Dentures are worn by a wide range of people of all ages. It is not just a solution to teeth lost through age. Teeth can decay for a number of reasons, some of them as a result of lifestyle (i.e. poor dental hygiene) and some of them hereditary or genetic. Whatever your age poor teeth can affect your self-confidence, and dentures may be the solution. The stigma surrounding dentures is unfortunate but should not deter you if both you and your dentist agree that they are the best option for you.

Helping to break down the stigma are successful and powerful people wearing dentures. Wider public knowledge that dentures are not always needed because of poor dental hygiene or old age could encourage more people to consider dentures as an option. George Washington lost all his teeth owing to a medical treatment he had been subjected to. Despite cleaning his teeth daily, as well as using mouthwash, all of his teeth had fallen out by the times he was in his 50s. Hollywood actress Demi Moore was famously photographed with a tooth missing whilst sitting in the dentist’s chair and David Bowie is also purported to have dentures.

Benefits of Dentures »

Guide to Dentures