Dental 101: How It All Started with Dentures

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Believe it or not, fake teeth in the past were not that fake at all. Imagine the time when technology was not even present yet, and the materials were very limited. The source of teeth was taken from those who already had it, for example, animals and even their fellow humans. The Etruscans, who were known as the ones who created the first dentures, used both human and animal teeth. This technique disappeared at the same time with their civilization, but it later re-appeared in the 1700s with the practice of making dentures.

A lot of people in Europe needed false teeth in the 1700s due to the popularity and accessibility to sugar, which led to numerous cases of cavities. Since there were no other ways to save the teeth during that time, the only option people had was to have the problem tooth extracted. It was actually rare for people to reach the age of 50 with an entire set of natural teeth; that is why the need for dentures was so high.


Earliest Types of Dentures

Since resources were lacking, people in the past made use of the things that were present to find a solution for tooth loss. Some of the materials they used included:


This material is usually taken from walrus, elephant, or hippopotamus. Ivory rarely looked natural and was even vulnerable to decay, but it provided people what they needed. In the late 18th century, ivory was still being used as a base for dentures, even with the availability of quality human teeth.

Waterloo Teeth

It may sound grim, but the best type of dentures in the past were the ones made from human teeth. The source of this material came from robbed graves, dentists’ collection, or peasants who needed money. Instead of being functional, this type of denture was more on the cosmetic side and that people actually needed to remove it when eating.

It was at the battle of Waterloo in 1815 which led to the death of 50,000 men that solved the lack of quality human teeth. Since the soldiers were young, their teeth were ideal in making dentures. Despite the origin of these teeth, dentures made from this source became the fashion in Britain and were even worn by others as a trophy.


Fortunately, horrifying techniques had decreased when Charles Goodyear learned how to make flexible rubber. Goodyear’s brother, Nelson named the material as Vulcanite and patented it in 1851. Aside from being inexpensive, compared to the other types of dentures, Vulcanite also was a more comfortable base for false teeth. As a result, the market for this type of teeth replacement flourished.


In the late 1700s, porcelain false teeth were invented in France. Unfortunately, the said material tended to crack and grind, so they became the least unpopular choice. But it all changed in the late 1800s after many improvements in the strength and texture have been made. Porcelain became the popular choice for various dental prostheses.

Our patients at Art Dentistry Center are assured that the partial and complete dentures we offer are the result of continuous dental improvements to cater to the needs of everyone.

If you are interested in availing of Dentures in Madison Heights, MI, do not hesitate to call or visit us at Art Dentistry Center! Our team is ready to provide the ideal prosthesis for any particular patient.