The History of False Teeth

Posted on June 7th, 2019

For literally thousands of years people have been figuring out ways to replace lost teeth. Thankfully this has gotten much much better over the last 100 years, and now you can’t even tell that someone has fake teeth. Implants are one of the biggest achievements in false teeth technology and have given millions of people the smile they want. But it hasn’t always been the case. Here is the history of fake teeth!

Back around 700 BC, people in northern Italy developed some of the first denatures. Dentures are an entire set of false teeth, and at that time they were made out of human, or animal teeth! The issue was that these false teeth were that they broke down quickly, however they were relatively easy to make. These dentures didn’t change much for over 2 thousand years. The main cause of the increased need for fake teeth was the rise and availability of sugar. During the Victorian era, sugar consumption in England increased by 500%. This means that people were losing their teeth to decay frequently. At that time oral care was very limited.

In the 1700s, ivory dentures started to become more popular. These were made out of materials like things like walrus, elephant, and hippopotamus. When people think of this era, they think of George Washington and his famous teeth. He was obviously the first president to wear dentures, but many people falsely believe that they were made out of wood. This isn’t true, and in fact, he used state of the art false teeth. They were made out of hippopotamus ivory, and then had human, horse, and donkey teeth implanted into the ivory.

During the late 1700s, porcelain was experimented with and was used, but it had issues with being easily broken, and also looked so white that they were obviously fake and people didn’t like this. Moving into the 1800s, Waterloo teeth became popular. These teeth were made from the teeth of dead soldiers, killed during the battle of Waterloo.

As time went on other materials were used like gold, and dentures continued to get much better. The 1900s was the century where false teeth technology advanced rapidly! Resin and other plastics became the primary material used in dentures. Implants also became a popular option for replacing teeth. Implants are the most natural feeling teeth since they are permanent, and are almost impossible to tell from real teeth, at least to other people. They do require a longer period of time for installing them, but they are worth it!

If you have missing teeth, talk to your dentist! The dentist will be able to recommend the best option when it comes to replacing missing teeth. This is important since missing teeth can cause bone loss, chewing and bite issues, and more!