The Millennia-old History of Dentures

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Of all the droll subjects in this world, dentures have got to be number one in the list of the most boring thing ever. That’s what you believe, isn’t it? The truth is that dentures have an interesting history.

This may be hard to understand, but tooth erosion isn’t an exclusively American invention. For millennia, humans have grappled with the problem of tooth decay and tried to answer it. In the time of ancient Egypt, some of the world’s first “dentists” used wire to string together false teeth to replace decayed ones. Later, in Europe, early dentists strung together human and animal teeth to fashion primitive dentures. And as awesome as these options were, the Japanese solution has them both beat.

Around the early 16th century, Japanese dentists utilized soft beeswax to form a model of the oral cavity. The impression was filled with harder beeswax, and that became a model of the mouth used by carvers to create wooden false teeth. The origins of this process have been traced to a Buddhist temple, and one of the most famous users of these dentures was the priestess Nakaoka Tei. And although wooden dentures may seem archaic now, the world wouldn’t create anything similar to Japan’s denture process for about 300 years.

Dentures today are created from stain-resistant and durable materials, such as plastics and resins, so we probably won’t be able to make any wooden dentures for you. Are you looking to have your teeth inspected? Maybe you need dentures in Lenexa, Kansas? Please give a call to James T. Voorhees, DDS at 913-888-2474 now. Dr. James Voorhees and our staff will do all they can to improve your smile.