Dentures vs Implants
Since around 2000 BC, humans have been devising ways to replace missing teeth. In the past, dentures were made out of human or animal teeth. They didn’t last long, of course, but for a while, they made chewing food much easier. These dentures remained in use until the 1700’s when wood became a desired source for dentures.
George Washington was one of the most famous people to wear dentures, but his consisted of a denture plate made from hippopotamus ivory into which human teeth, along with horse and donkey teeth were fitted into the plate. The first porcelain dentures were made around 1774, and craftsmen continued to improve on materials until the 20th century when acrylic resin and other plastics became the materials of choice.
Today, dentures are designed to be comfortable, aesthetically pleasing and fully functional. They are available in partial or full dentures and can fill gaps of a few teeth or replace all of them. New dentures, made of either porcelain or plastic support facial muscles and structures. They also decrease oral bone loss. Dentures do have some drawbacks, however. You have to take them out and soak them at night, they can be uncomfortable if not fit properly, and they may need to be replaced occasionally.
Dental implants are even older than dentures. In 2000 BC, the Chinese used carved bamboo pegs to replace missing teeth. Metal replacement teeth began around 1000 BC. Various other pegs have been found by archeologists in the jaws of ancient skulls, from rare gems such as jade to common materials such as sea shells.
Modern dentistry has brought us an alternative to dentures in the form of metal pegs implanted in the jawbone. Although permanent, they are also more expensive than dentures. A metal post is inserted into the jaw and fuses with the jawbone, a new “tooth” is then fitted over the peg and acts and looks just like a real tooth. This method fills the gap and prevents adjacent teeth from shifting. Implants can be done for one tooth or a whole mouthful.