The History of Dentures


Dentures have been around since at least 700 B.C., when the Etruscans in northern Italy were making dentures out of human and other animal teeth. Though not very durable, these were easy to produce and remained popular into the 19th century. Wood, gold, ivory and various other materials were commonly found in dentures through these centuries as well, as in George Washington’s infamous false teeth. The first porcelain dentures were crafted in the late 18th century, and the 20th century saw the first use of acrylic resins and other plastics, which remain the popular material today.

What is a denture?


A denture is an oral prosthetic device designed to replace missing teeth. Conventional dentures are removable and may be full (replacing all teeth in the upper or lower jaw) or partial (used when some natural teeth remain in either jaw). These are further divided into maxillary (upper) and mandibular (lower) categories. Dentures are shaped to mimic your natural teeth and bite as closely as possible, and are traditionally held in place both by the suction created by the denture’s shape and the anatomy of your bone and tissue. Partial dentures are often built on a metal framework hooked onto existing teeth to keep the partial in position.


How long does it take to get a denture?


Creating and fitting a conventional denture is a multiple appointment procedure. A conventional denture can be placed approximately eight to twelve weeks after the teeth being replaced have been extracted, to allow the site time to heal. There are dentures that can be placed more immediately, but they will require more adjustment as the mouth heals and changes shape following any necessary extractions. The process for a denture is typically as follows:


​At the first appointment, a series of impressions and bite registrations will be taken. This gives our dentist an exact representation of how the denture should be shaped and how it will relate to your other jaw. This information will be sent to the lab to create a preliminary model of the ultimate denture.

  • The next several appointments (this will vary greatly depending on the case) will be fitting appointments – you will try on the latest wax or plastic model of your denture, and the dentist will note any adjustments that need to be made so the next round can be fashioned. 

  • When you and the dentist are happy with the fit and appearance, the final denture will be cast. Your denture will be delivered and any minor adjustments still needed will then be made.

While we’ve discussed traditional dentures here, there are many different denture designs, some of which use dental implants to anchor themselves in the mouth. Everyone’s case is different; if you are missing teeth and considering dentures as a replacement, talk to our dentist about which kind of treatment is right for you.