DENTISTRY’S Roots
Dentures dated from the 15th century have been discovered, and they most likely existed before that. These dentures, carved from bone or ivory or made up of teeth from deceased or living donors, were painful and rotted after a long period of use. Alexis Duchateau produced the first porcelain dentures around 1770. Nicholas Dubois De Chemant, a former assistant to Duchateau, received the first British patent in 1791. “A composition for the purpose of making artificial teeth either single double or in rows or in complete sets and also springs for fastening or affixing the same in a more easy and effectual manner than any hitherto discovered which said teeth can be made of any shade or colour, which they will retain for any length of time and will consequently…” De Chemant’s patent specification said (in part): “A composition for the purpose of making artificial teeth either single double or in rows or in complete sets and also In 1792, he started selling dentures, with Wedgwood providing the majority of his porcelain paste. Dentures¬†offers excellent info on this.

From 1808 onwards, single porcelain teeth were produced. Dentures were later made of vulcanite, then acrylic resin and other plastics in the twentieth century. In 1968, 79 percent of those aged 65 to 74 in the United Kingdom had no natural teeth; by 1998, that number had dropped to 36 percent. Many stories exist of scavengers searching the battlefields after hand-to-hand fights and extracting healthy teeth from dead warriors’ jaws, which were then sold to local dentists who found ways to turn the “recycled” teeth into new dentures for their patients. Furthermore, there are legends concerning George Washington’s denture issues. Legend has it that he first had a collection of oak dentures made for him by a local wood carver, and then he had even more dentures carved out of elephant tusk ivory.