The Elgin Corners Dental Blog

What are dentures made of?

What are dentures made of?

Humans have used dentures to replace missing teeth for centuries. Today's dentures look and fit better than ever. Here our Surrey dentists share a bit about the history of dentures and what dentures are made of now. 

The History of Dentures

Since the very earliest times in recorded history, humans have used dentures to restore the function and appearance of their smile. 

Earliest Dentures

People in northern Italy, around 700 BC, constructed dentures out of a mixture of animal and human teeth.

Dentures in the 1700's

Ivory dentures made from elephant, hippopotamus, or walrus were popular In the 1700's.

It is rumoured that the plate of George Washington's denture was carved from hippopotamus ivory and held a collection of human, horse, and donkey teeth, (possibly the highest quality dentures of his time). 

Dentures in the 1800's

In the 1800's, Claudius Ash created porcelain teeth mounted onto 18-karat gold plates for the ultra rich. Later Ash went on to create dentures made from porcelain teeth mounted in a plate of hardened rubber. 

Dentures in 2020

Denture technology has come a long way! Today's dentures feel more comfortable and look more natural than ever.

Animal teeth no longer play a role in the manufacturing of dentures. Dentures are now most often made with porcelain or acrylic resin.

Porcelain Dentures

The beautiful translucent qualities of porcelain can give artificial teeth a very natural feel and look. 

When compared to acrylic dentures, dentures with porcelain teeth offer a number of benefits: 

  • Porcelain teeth tend to be easier to adjust to, and feel more natural than acrylic resin teeth.
  • Porcelain teeth are longer lasting than acrylic resin teeth.
  • Porcelain has a translucent appearance which gives the dentures a more natural look.

That said, there are drawbacks to porcelain dentures. Porcelain teeth are much more fragile than acrylic resin dentures and may chip or break if accidentally dropped.

Dentures made with porcelain teeth are also extremely hard. Porcelain teeth can gradually wear down natural teeth that bite against them. Which is why these dentures are mainly used for full jaw tooth replacement, rather than in partial dentures.

Acrylic Resin Teeth

Acrylic dentures offer a cost effective and comfortable way to replace missing teeth. These popular dentures tend to be less expensive and lighter than dentures made from porcelain.

The primary drawback of acrylic resin dentures is that these dentures tend to wear faster than dentures with porcelain teeth. Acrylic resin dentures will need to be replaced approximately every five to eight years. 

The Framework

The artificial teeth are held in place by a part of the denture called a plate.

No longer carved out of ivory or formed out of gold, today's denture plates can be made from a number of different materials, including chrome cobalt metal, rigid acrylic resin, or flexible (nylon) polymer. 

Acrylic denture plates are designed with an artificial gum line that gives a natural look to the denture. Acrylic plates can be tinted to look just like the natural gums of the patient.

Metal denture plates tend to be more durable and offer a better fit than acrylic resin plates. Metal plates can be an ideal option for partial dentures where the plate is hidden behind the remaining natural teeth. 

To learn more about how dentures could improve the look and function of your smile, contact your Surrey dentist today, to book your consultation.

Tips & Advice from Our Team

Read our blog for regular oral health tips and advice from our Surrey dentists.

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