For millennia, people have been trying to replace their missing teeth. Archaeologists have surmised that, as early as 700 B.C., people tried to fill gaps in their jaw by using teeth recovered from animals or dead people. Those alternatives to carved bone or ivory certainly had the benefit of looking natural. After all, they were natural. Just the completely wrong size and shape, not to mention the species.
Even as recently as the late 1700s and early 1800s, teeth were regularly removed from cadavers to be used as dentures for living. Historians have established that soldiers during the French Revolution in the late 18th Century regularly pulled teeth from their dead compatriots for use as dentures. The same practice occurred after the 1815 Battle of Waterloo in Belgium. If you’ve ever been to a museum and seen a display that included “Waterloo teeth,” those teeth may have been plucked from the bodies of dead soldiers.
With the Industrial Revolution Came Sugar
The prevalence of tooth decay took an enormous leap forward — meaning that there were suddenly a lot more decayed teeth everywhere — at the time of the Industrial Revolution beginning in the 1700s. The sudden growth of tooth decay, number of lost teeth, and increased need for replacement teeth had nothing to do with industrialization per se. Rather, at the same time, sugar was suddenly widely and cheaply available to populations large and small at a time before daily dental discipline had firmly taken route.
Waterloo teeth didn’t work for everyone. The combination of cheap and widely available sugar and minimal daily dental hygiene habits predictably produced a spike in tooth loss and the need for dentures. With that spike in demand came a new interest in how to produce artificial teeth.
Moving Beyond The Dead Men’s Teeth
Around the same time in the 1700s, denture technology took a giant leap forward with the invention of porcelain dentures in France. They were a significant advance on teeth plucked from dead soldiers and animals but still had an irritating habit of cracking and grinding against each other. Thankfully, innovations didn’t stop there.
Today, dentures are made of acrylic resins and different types of plastics. Dentures can be prepared in complete sets for one or both jaws or partial dentures for multiple adjacent missing teeth. Today, dentures are available that, as is tradition, rest on your gums while held in place by suction. But there are even advanced options beyond those dentures. Now, you can fit with anchored dentures—permanently without needing to remove and replace them constantly — in your jaw with titanium dental implants. Your natural dental and oral function will be completely replaced with implant-supported dentures.
Today, our dentist in Waterloo can provide dentures — no, not Waterloo teeth — measured, designed, moulded, shaped, and coloured to fit your gums, jaw, mouth, and face naturally and perfectly. Yes, dentures still need to be adjusted, relined, and even replaced occasionally because your jaw is a dynamic portion of your body that changes with time. But at every turn, every patient receives the benefits of advanced materials, techniques and technologies — and not a single tooth from a corpse.
Dentures near you have come a long way from “Waterloo teeth.” If you’ve been waiting for a sleek and sophisticated solution for your partial or complete tooth loss, you don’t need to wait a moment longer. Our dentist in Waterloo can provide you with a brand new smile to restore your long-lost experience of eating, smiling, and laughing freely and confidently. Are you a good candidate for today’s dentures? Contact our dentist near you to find out.