While it is no secret that dentures and tooth replacement options have been around for a while, many people don't know just how long they have been around. In fact, a recent study sheds new light on the subject. British dentists and researchers have recently excavated teeth from soldiers who died in the Battle of Waterloo, and they found that many of them had dentures.
What Did Early Dentures Look Like?
Dentures common during this time -- in the late 18th and early 19th Centuries -- mostly consisted of "full upper and lower ivory dentures, held together by piano wire springs," BBC News reports. Unfortunately, dental patients fortunate enough to afford the ivory and piano wire fake teeth ran into a lot of problems. These early dental devices didn't last, and they fell out fairly regularly. Seeing this, dentists explored other options to pair patients up with a full mouth of teeth. In many cases, the solution was genuine, human teeth. Dentists combined ivory and real human teeth in early dentures. Some people donated teeth to the cause after their death or while they were still living; other dentists resorted to less savory practices, like grave robbing.
Things Have Changed... A Lot
If ivory and piano wire doesn't sound good to you -- or if you are creeped out by the prospect of eating and chewing with someone else's teeth -- don't worry. Dentistry has come an incredibly long way since then. Modern dentists must go by current dental science and healthcare standards. Plus, there are all kinds of new technologies that can help you improve your smile. Today, restorative dental care and replacement teeth are made out of acrylic, plastic, porcelain, and metal. They're also vastly more effective; dental implants, for instance, have a 98% success rate and can last decades (or more).
A lot of people agree that it is important to improve your smile. Eighty-nine percent of Americans believe a healthy, white smile makes a good first impression and another 74% believe your smile can affect your career success. The good news is that today's dentures and implants are effective and long-lasting, and do not use ivory or someone else's teeth.