Dental implants are known to have been used for the last 4,500 years, ranging from a plethora of materials. The main reason people needed teeth replaced throughout history has been due to malnutrition and illness. Other than aesthetic purposes, the prominence of soft foods were more limited making it key to have teeth to survive. It was more important for women to have teeth long ago, the presence of teeth was more important than looks if a woman was up for a dowry. Listed below is a brief history of different materials used for prosthetic teeth:
1. Cadaver and Animal Teeth
During the 1700’s, human and animal donors were used for their teeth. Executed criminals and fallen soldiers were the most common source of human teeth. Horse and donkey teeth were commonly used animal teeth. However, due to immune differences, the false animal and human teeth were often rejected by the new host’s body.
Slightly better than the teeth of others, walrus or hippopotamus ivory was commonly used as a replacement for teeth. Ivory tends to rot in the mouth over a longer amount of time than donated teeth, making them a more popular and expensive alternative.
Due to Great Britain’s thriving mercantile economy, the abundance of sugar skyrocketed during the 1800’s. With the raised availability of sugar, a rise in tooth decay also occurred. Due to this, the demand for false teeth dramatically increased as well. The opportunistic Claudius Ash of London, England was the first to manufacture porcelain teeth. He would mount them on top of gold fillings in the sockets. Although they were too white to be believable as real teeth and chipped easily, they were a step up from ivory.
If you’re more interested on more modern types of dental cosmetics, please contact Lakeway Cosmetic Dentistry today!