Scientists have traced the use of false teeth all the way back to 700 BC. Dentures back then involved rings of gold and the use of another person’s tooth or an animal’s tooth. It seems as if it would be pretty difficult to make such a setup comfortable!
Thank goodness dentures have come a long way since then.
Dentures are defined as any replacement for missing teeth. Some are removable and some aren’t. Over the years all types of dentures have evolved to fit people better, be comfortable, and look more like real teeth. Here are some denture facts you may not have known….
- The age-old story of George Washington wearing wooden dentures is false—dentures simply were not made of wood back then. He did, however, have various dental problems, and wore different dentures made out of ivory, gold, and lead. Today, dentures are made of porcelain or plastic, with a base of plastic or acrylic.
- Your dentist will suggest a different type of denture depending on not only your degree of tooth loss, but also based on the amount of usable tissue that is in your mouth.
- Partial dentures are one option, and are used when some original teeth are still in a patient’s mouth. These original teeth help to stabilize the partial denture, just as the denture will help keep the original teeth from shifting around. Partial dentures may be permanent or removable.
- A fixed bridge is a fake tooth cemented into place, and also held in place with crowns on the teeth that surround the fake tooth. These can be used to replace one or more teeth.
- Complete dentures are probably what come to mind for most people when they think of dentures. These types of dentures are for patients who are missing all of their teeth. There are two types of complete dentures: conventional and immediate. Conventional dentures are the permanent dentures. Immediate dentures are for use immediately after teeth have been lost. These are used instead of conventional dentures being fit immediately, because for two to three months after tooth loss, a patient’s gums and jaws will change shape.
- Dental implants are another type of denture. These are permanently inserted into a patient’s jaw with artificial tooth roots. Dental implants are used for a single tooth, or for many teeth in a row. Patients report that dental implants look and feel like real teeth. Dental implants are more expensive than removable dentures, but they also tend to last longer (as long as they are well taken care of), and have even been known to last a lifetime.
- Dental implants come in different categories. Fixed implant dentures are anchored into the jaw with titanium posts, and then the denture is screwed into that implant. Miniature titanium implants are made up of four small rods implanted into the jaw. The rod has a metal housing at the top for the denture to fit into. An overdenture consists of a metal attachment to the root of the tooth, with the over-denture fit onto it. Because the tooth root is preserved with this type of denture, it feels more like a real tooth. It also helps to prevent surrounding bone loss caused by the removal of the original tooth. Your dentist can advise you on what kind of dental implant is right for you.
With all of the options available, there is no reason nowadays to be stuck with uncomfortable or ill-fitting dentures. A visit to your dentist will help you decide what kind of dentures might be right for you.
Also published on Medium.