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History of Dentures

Denture imageThe art of tooth replacement has been in practice for centuries. The practice has undergone significant changes gradually. This is because of new discoveries from research made by dental experts and researchers over time. Technology in dentistry has also improved significantly in the past years.

If you want to replace lost teeth today, you don't have to worry, because the techniques used are of the latest technology. Artificial teeth are now easy to get and work efficiently. We offer quality tooth replacement options at Gresham Dental Excellence with our experienced dentist who uses the latest approaches in the world of dentistry.

Human and Animal Teeth

Historic evidence has proved that the first false teeth were crafted from human and animal teeth. As early as 700 BC, the Etruscans who hailed from northern Italy used human and animal teeth to restore lost teeth. This practice continued for ages.

The demand for human teeth for teeth replacement increased as time went on. Poor people could sell their teeth to dental practitioners. After the battle of Waterloo in 1815, around 50,000 young soldiers were killed. Dental practitioners saw this as a source of teeth, and by robbing the casualties, teeth for replacing their patient's lost teeth were found. These teeth were popularly known as the Waterloo teeth.


Ivory is one of the earliest types of teeth replacement material. It was obtained from elephant tusks, hippopotamus, and walrus. Ivory-made teeth could work well but decayed faster and did not give a natural look. Speculations have been made that George Washington's artificial teeth were made from wood. That was not the case. His were made of Ivory, which later decayed and changed color to that of wood. The use of ivory continued for a long time, mostly as a base for dentures.


In the 1840s, a certain kind of rubber that was flexible was discovered. Charles Goodyear made the discovery. The material was found to be very comfortable on the gums and could make a good base for false teeth. It came at a cheaper cost, making false teeth affordable to the middle class. Initially, false teeth were for the rich until this flexible rubber called vulcanite came into being.


Porcelain is a popular material used to make artificial teeth even to date. Porcelain has been in use from as early as the late 1700s. It was of low quality initially, and would often crack while rubbing against each other. Nonetheless, porcelain's quality has improved over time, making it a popular choice for teeth replacement.

Present Day Dentures

Today, dentures are tailor-made in laboratories using acrylic resin materials and plastic that can be molded. These materials can be manipulated easily and have a likeness with parts of your oral system, such as the gums. Modern dentures are comfortable and efficient in use, unlike older forms.

With some history of how artificial teeth came to being, you now know about the materials we use today and how they have evolved. Don't hesitate to contact (971) 431-7292 if you need teeth replacement. Our dentist will discuss with you the best option for your case.
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