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Denture Treatment through the Ages

Posted by Peter Samuels on Mon, Feb 10, 2014 @ 08:02 AM

 

 

Dentures

 

Dentures can be used successfully to replace missing teeth. Whether it’s a partial or complete set of dentures, they’re designed to fit nicely in the mouth to facilitate eating, talking and smiling. But this hasn’t always been the case. Dentures have evolved from crude contraptions to durable, look-like-real teeth. The history of dentistry gives us an interesting look at dentures and how they’ve changed over the years:

  • As early as 2500 BC, ancient tribes in Mexico used animal teeth, reportedly from wolves to act as replacement teeth. They were simply placed in the socket, previously holding the lost teeth.
  • On the other side of the globe, the Etruscans of Italy fabricated gold wire or bands to hold human and animal teeth to act as replacement teeth (circa 700 BC).
  • Archaeology revealed that Egyptian mummies also had teeth replacements held in place by gold and silver wire at around 300 BC.
  • Fast forward to 1500s, the Japanese designed the first recorded set of wooden dentures. Made from Japanese Box, it was supposedly used by priestess Nakaoka Tei. It bore a strong resemblance to modern dentures and they were held in place by suction. The Japanese continued to use wooden dentures until the Meiji era of the late 19th century.
  • At the end of the Renaissance period, in the 1700s, the trend shifted to using human teeth, animal teeth and carved ivory. They didn’t fit well. George Washington used a variety of these dentures and according to history, he wasn’t particularly pleased with these innovations.
  • The Waterloo teeth came into the scene during this time frame. After the battle of Waterloo, many soldiers fell and since teeth were badly needed, scavengers went around removing teeth from the dead and shipping them to Europe to be used for dentures for profit.
  • Real advancements were made when British physician, Alex Duchateau, created the first set of porcelain dentures in 1770. It was far from perfect due to the tendency to shrink during the firing process. Dubois De Chemant, a prominent French dentist of that time overcame the problem and King Louis XVI duly granted him an inventor's patent. He later fled to England and in some accounts, was Duchateau's assistant.
  • In the early 1800s, porcelain teeth became readily available and quite the norm in replacing teeth. However, the denture bases remained ill-fitting until the invention of vulcanite (hardened rubber) in the 1850s.
  • As technology advances, dentures become more durable and functional. In the early 20th century, acrylic resin became the standard material used.

In the last 70 years, dentistry made huge strikes in helping people cope with missing teeth. While dentures remain an option to replace missing teeth, there are now other options such as dental implants and root canal treatments. Modern dentistry stresses prevention as the first line of defense.

Looking for the most modern, denture treatments available?  Give us a call! 717-334-0555

Topics: History of Dentistry, dentures in Gettysburg, Gettysburg Dentures, Dentist in Gettysburg, Gettysburg dentist

Do You Know How to Take Care of Your Dentures?

Posted by Peter Samuels on Thu, Jan 30, 2014 @ 16:01 PM

Gettysburg Dentures

 


 

You’ve finally had your dentures made. Whether you need them to fill up missing teeth or to replace all your teeth, dentures give you a boost of self-esteem by completing your smile and enabling you to eat properly. You want them to last, to look good for a long time and stay clean and healthy. Here are some effective tips to keep your dentures in better shape than ever. 

Handle With Care 

Although dentures are made with hardy materials such as acrylic resin or durable plastic, they still need tender loving care. Rough handling may chip, break or scratch the polished surface. When handling dentures, stand over a towel or a sink full of water.

Daily Care

Treat dentures like natural teeth. Brush faithfully, at least twice a day to prevent build up of food particles and plaque. Dentists advise using a toothbrush with soft bristles to prevent abrasive effect on dentures. It’s a good habit to remember to rinse dentures in between meals.  One of the very best denture cleaners is antibacterial hand soap!

Denture Cleaner

Even with careful brushing, sometimes, stain, bacteria and plaque may still build up in between teeth. To remove these undesirable elements, a number of denture cleaner (or cleanser) is available. It ranges from chemical formulas in the form of cream, liquid, powder or tablet to mechanical cleaners such as denture brushes or ultrasonic denture cleaner that uses sound waves to dislodge deposits. If in doubt as to what cleaner to use, look for one with the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of acceptance. Your dentist will be the best person to advise you on what to use to effectively clean your denture.

When Not in Use

You see it on television, how dentures are placed in a glass of water by the night stand when not in use. As antiquated (perhaps the black and white movie is to be blamed) as that seems, that’s the idea. Dentures should be kept moist when not in use. They should be soaked in a denture cleaning solution or water.

With proper care, your denture will stay in optimal shape and condition and will serve you well. Proper care will also maintain oral hygiene and reduce denture odor.

If you’ve further questions about taking care of dentures, feel free to contact us. We’ll be glad to help you with your dental needs.

 

Topics: dentures in Gettysburg, Gettysburg Dentures, dentures Gettysburg, Dentist in Gettysburg, Dentist Gettysburg

George Washington and His Denture Woes

Posted by Peter Samuels on Thu, Jan 9, 2014 @ 16:01 PM

 

Dentures of George Washington

 


 

Poor George Washington had bad teeth. They were often blamed for the shortest speech ever given by a President—just 135 words and a mere 90 seconds to deliver it. The outstanding commander of the Continental Army and the first president of the United States was often perceived as boring, stiff-jawed and bad tempered. There may be a reason for this persona as some interesting facts about dentistry reveal. 

Should we blame his poor image on his teeth? Perhaps, if you study the dentures he had to endure. His dentures consisted of crude fabrication of teeth that came with springs and bolts to hold these dentures in the mouth. Imagine trying to deliver a speech with the dentures rattling and air escaping through the gaps between the teeth.

History tells us that George Washington’s troubles with his teeth started when he was twenty-two. Over the course of the next thirty-five years, his teeth started falling off, one by one. And no, it was not because of his poor oral hygiene. According to records, he took heavy doses of mercurous chloride for his many infections (he was reputedly beset with all kinds of ailments from dysentery to smallpox), which in turn may have led to the destruction of his teeth. His fastidious brushing, use of dentifrice and mouthwash didn’t help much. By the time, he had his inauguration in 1789, he had one good tooth left.

For most of his adult life, he grappled with dental problems. Constant toothaches, infected gums and abscessed teeth, which we now know are symptoms of periodontal disease, plagued him. Initially, he had partial dentures with hippopotamus ivory carved to fit the upper gum and eight human teeth held by gold pivots for his lower plate. Spiral springs were used to secure them to his mouth. He had quite a few dentures made and he often returned them for adjustments and repairs. Clumsy and ill-fitting, they were forcing his lips out and his portraits revealed unfortunate facial changes. The final set of denture, made just before his death had a swagged gold plate, fastened by rivets.

Contrary to popular beliefs, none of dentures were made of wood. His four known sets of dentures include gold, ivory, lead, human and animal teeth (horse and donkey components likely).

Looking at George Washington’s ordeal with his oral health, thankfully, dentures have come a long way. Modern-day dentures look like real and are designed to make eating, talking and smiling as natural as possible. Held in by dental implants, they can be almost as natural as real teeth. Had George Washington lived today, he probably would have smiled more often (and therefore, deemed more friendly) and his speech would definitely be longer than 90 seconds.

For more information about the most upd to date denture techniques. dentures held in by dental implants or any dental needs, contact us.  

Submitted by Peter Samuels, DDS

Topics: dentures in Gettysburg, Gettysburg Dentures, dentures, Gettysburg dentist

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