What Are Dentures: History, Cost, and Disadvantages

Dentures are false teeth that replace the ones you lost to tooth decay or injury. These are custom-made to fit snugly over your gums. There are two common types of removable dentures: complete dentures and partial dentures. It would be best if you had complete conventional dentures when all your natural teeth have been removed. On the other hand, partial dentures are for those who have lost one or more teeth and still have healthy teeth to support the denture. 

The History of Dentures

In 1500 BC, the ancient Egyptians first collected human teeth to be used as replacements for their lost natural teeth, which were put together using gold wire.

In 700 BC, using the same technique, the Etruscan people of Italy used gold wire and bands to attach human and animal teeth. 

It was in Japan during the 16th century that they first recorded wooden dentures, which were used until the 19th century. A priestess named Nakaoka Tei of the ancient temple in Kii province was known to have wooden dentures.

Alexis Duchateau, a British physician, created the first porcelain dentures in 1774. However, these were very costly and not generally affordable. He first tried dentures made from hippopotamus, but they rotted quickly, so he created durable ones. It wasn’t successful, so he worked with a dentist, Nicholas Dubois De Chemant, to make something he could wear. It was aesthetically pleasing but not durable, so they improved the porcelain dentures, making them sturdy. It was patented in 1791. However, in 1820, Samuel Stockton, a goldsmith, created a better version mounted on 18-carat gold plates.

During the 18th century, dentists experimented with the use of ivory with the help of goldsmiths or ivory turners. United States President George Washington was one of the famous people during that time who had dentures. It was made of ivory from hippos and elephants, human teeth, brass, and gold.

The soldiers who died at Waterloo were young and healthy; hence, their teeth were perfect for making dentures. The so-called Waterloo teeth became famous in Britain. The use of human teeth went on until the late 1860s.

In the 1800s, Ash & Sons, owned by Claudius Ash, was the leading producer of dentures made from vulcanite and hard rubber. Vulcanite was cheap, and it was affordable for the majority of the population. 

There was advancement and development with new denture materials being used. In 1868, Hyatt invented celluloid and it was used in manufacturing dentures in 1890. However, it had an awful odour since it used camphor as the plasticizer. Furthermore, it paved the way for the use of plastic in making dentures. 

Bakelite was used between 1924 and 1939. Later on, they improved the resins since then; we’ve been using polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA or acrylic resin) until today. The material is translucent, inexpensive, and could be easily repaired.

Dental advancements have come a long way, and false teeth and dentures are more comfortable than ever before. Modern denture replacements are easier on the gums than their predecessors because they are made with durable materials. Additionally, these innovative designs come in various treatment options, so you will always have a choice of what best suits your needs

Learn more about dentures: Dentures: Everything You Need To Know From Cost, Types, and FAQ’s

Types of Dentures 

  • Full dentures-A conventional denture may be the best option for you if all your real teeth have been damaged beyond repair .
  • Partial dentures-These are for patients who have one or more missing teeth. It is an alternative to dental bridges.
  • Immediate dentures-As soon as your teeth are removed, the temporary denture is inserted. The measurements and impression of your jaw are taken during the visit beforehand because they can’t make one post-surgery. With this, you will never be without any teeth even during your healing time. However, the downside is that they need to be relined for a few months since, over time, the bone supporting them heals and changes shape, causing them to become loose in their sockets.
  • Implant-supported dentures-These dental appliances are a combination of implants and dentures. It’s perfect for patients who require added retention due to bone loss. The metal post provides firm support for the teeth when placed in the mouth.
  • Snap-in dentures-Snap-on dentures are also called removable implant-supported overdentures. They are secured in position by dental implants that are placed in your jawbone. Usually, two to four implants are screwed per side. However, there are some variations depending on the patient’s mouth size and health status.

How to Care for Dentures 

If you have dentures, chances are they fit pretty well in your mouth, and you can eat a wide variety of foods. But over time, your mouth has changed, as have the types of food you chew or bite into. Remember to eat only soft foods during the first few days after fitting. These factors will affect your denture if it is not adjusted regularly by an oral health professional.

Take note that you must observe good oral hygiene at all times. To disinfect your dentures, clean them twice a day: in the morning and at night. It is also important to floss before bedtime to prevent plaque and food particles from hardening into tartar or calculus (hardened dental plaque). However, it is best to avoid brushing too vigorously so as not to wear down the dentures. It is advisable to use a soft-bristled brush, toothpaste and a non-corrosive denture cleaner. Please refrain from using whitening toothpaste as it may result in discolouration of the false teeth.

Soak your dentures in water or a liquid cleanser at night, then brush them in the morning before putting them on. Instead of using a liquid denture cleanser, you could opt to soak it in a water-vinegar solution. However, avoid using undiluted vinegar as it is very acidic and could damage the surface of the teeth due to acid erosion. Moreover, avoid using hot water because it will cause the denture to warp.

Cost and Risks Of Dentures

It can be hard to calculate the cost of artificial teeth because the price range varies from patient to patient. Your dental prosthetists are trained to assess your specific needs and match them with the right type of denture that will work for you. 

When it comes to prosthetics, one size most certainly does not fit all. With an impressively large selection of materials and configurations available, your dental professional will be able to find the perfect solution for you, whether your needs are clinical or aesthetic. Your prosthetist will take into account several variables before providing you with an exact price quote.

Here’s the average price range for dentures in Australia in 2021:

Item Number Type Of Dentures Average Cost **From**
711 / 712 Full Upper or Lower $1,100
719 Full Upper or Lower Set $2,100
721 / 722 Partial Acrylic Denture $700
721 / 722 Flexible Denture $1,100
743 / 744 Denture Relines $300
The Dentures Cost Guide provides a range of prices that is dependent on the complexity of your treatment, materials used and the number of teeth to be extracted. For a comprehensive quote please contact our clinic for an appointment or more information!

Risk of Wearing Dentures: 

  • Inflamed gums-Ill-fitting dentures can lead to painful sores, which place you at risk of infection. It is recommended to see a dentist if your dentures don’t fit correctly to adjust accordingly and alleviate any discomfort or pain stemming from an incorrect fit.
  • Allergic reaction-Sometimes, dentures can cause allergies to the natural teeth and gum tissue. To combat this problem, dental patients have been getting medicine on a dentist’s prescription.
  • Bite problems-Dentures that do not fit properly can cause a new set of problems. If the denture does not close normally, it may push your teeth into an unnatural position, and you could end up with premature contact before anything else-like hitting part of your toothless mouthpiece. It is when there’s increased pressure on one area, making the pre-existing periodontal disease worse and putting extra stress on some muscles while chewing, causing TMJD or facial pain to occur.

Who Needs Them, And Why

If you are experiencing any of these, it’s probably time to get fitted for a denture. 

  • Severe toothache-When a toothache is persistent and won’t go away, you may need to check it out by a dentist. This pain could be the result of decay or infection that’s made its way into your teeth. However, sometimes your natural teeth are beyond saving after they’ve decayed too much. In these cases, dental implants or dentures might become necessary for replacement.
  • Chewing problems-To find out if you need dentures, it’s essential to keep an eye on your teeth and mouth for possible symptoms of decay. One sign is painful chewing when eating hard or chewy food. Another symptom that might not be obvious at first glance is chronic indigestion, which can lead to stomach pains because it becomes harder to chew due to the damage to your teeth and gum tissues. If either of these signs occurs, don’t wait any longer. Consult with a dentist right away before things get worse where you will need surgery instead of just a single tooth extraction and complete denture work done by a dental specialist.
  • Missing teeth-If you’ve had a tooth loss or several teeth removed, the need for false teeth is immediate. As time goes on without them, your remaining healthy teeth will shift more quickly and become weaker. Even if you’re missing just one tooth in particular right now, if left untreated for too long, you may find yourself having multiple dental issues down the line.
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Peel Dental Studio


Dr. Bailey formerly served on the Australian Dental Association as President, Vice President Treasurer and Country Councillor. He was on the Australian Dental Association Federal Council and has always been keen to give back to the profession that has been his life. He has tutored student dentists at the Oral Health Centre in Perth.