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Interesting (and Sometimes Shocking) Facts from Dental History

Dentures of the Past

Dentures of the Past

Nothing like a look back in the past to see how far you’ve come, am I right? Today’s blog was a request from our fabulous front office coordinator, Becca. Enjoy!

  • Dentistry is one of the oldest professions. Early in recorded history, a Sumerian text described “tooth worms” as the cause of dental decay, an idea that wasn’t proven false until the 1700s.

  • The first book to be published purely on the topic of dentistry was in 1530 titled, The Little Medicinal Book for All Kinds of Diseases and Infirmities of the Teeth.

  • The Etruscans of Italy used gold bands to attach human and animal teeth as far back as 700 BC. In today’s Mexico, they’ve found dentures dating from 2500 BC, made from wolf teeth. . The first recorded wooden dentures in Japan appeared in 16th century. During the 18th century, dentists experimented with dentures made out of human teeth, animal teeth and carved ivory. Dentures were usually made by goldsmiths and ivory turners. United States President, George Washington, was famous for having wooden teeth. While he did wear dentures, they were made with ivory from hippos and elephants, real human teeth, gold, rivets, spiral springs- not wood.

  • One of the most common medical practitioners in Europe during the Middle Ages was the “barber surgeon”. In this era, barbers were called upon to not only cut hair with their razors, but also to conduct many surgeries and pull teeth.

  • In 1723, Pierre Fauchard, a French surgeon credited as the father of modern dentistry, published a book called, The Surgeon Dentist, a Treatise on Teeth. For the first time, he provided a documented comprehensive system for preventing dental issues and treating teeth. Fauchard introduced dental fillings and proposed that acids from sugar led to tooth decay.

  • In 1840, Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, the first dental college opened. Harvard University Dental School was the first university-affiliated dental institution founded in 1867.

  • Colgate mass produced the first toothpaste in 1873 and mass-produced toothbrushes a few years later.

  • Around 1765, Paul Revere, who would later become famous for warning Colonial troops that the British were coming, was also trained as a dentist by America’s first dentist, John Baker, in addition to being a silversmith.

  • Imagine having to feel all your dental work without Novocaine. We take it for granted now, but it wasn’t invented until 1903! We can all thank the German chemist Alfred Einhorn who invented it.

We hope you enjoyed this look back at our adventurous dental history. Don’t worry - if you’re having any dental issues of your own, you can rest assured we have much more advanced and painless procedures to take care of you! Feel free to give us a call anytime at 541-482-4995.


Drive a Different Kind of Hybrid: Dentures Supported by Dental Implants


Drive a Different Kind of Hybrid: Dentures Supported by Dental Implants

Sometimes we see patients who, due to a variety of reasons, have lost most of their teeth. Estimates are that there are 35 million edentulous persons in the United States. In the past, these individuals would often be presented with the option to extract the remaining teeth and have dentures made. The problem with this is that dentures are known for feeling insecure and can make normal eating habits uncomfortable and embarrassing. An alternative could be to place dental implants for each of the missing teeth, but this is often a cost-prohibitive solution. However, using strategically placed implants to support a hybrid denture can be the perfect, middle-of-the-road option.

An implant-supported denture is one that is supported by dental implants placed beneath the gum line. They are also referred to as “overdentures”. The minimum number of implants is four, although more implants can be beneficial. After placing implants, the body will need some time to naturally fuse with the jaw bone, a process called “osseointegration”. A titanium or gold bar is then placed to hold the prosthetic teeth in place. This system creates a much more secure prosthetic than a denture that simply rests on the gums and will not slip around. The denture is then fixed in place by Dr. Kivel. It is not removable by the patient like typical dentures.  

What are the Benefits?

The most commonly reported benefit of a hybrid implant denture is the ability to eat, smile and speak with complete comfort and confidence again. It also comes at a significantly lower cost than a large number of implants. Lastly, the implant denture is easily cleaned, close to your natural teeth. You don’t have to take it out every time you want to brush - just keep up your normal hygiene habits.

What is the Dental Implant Process?

We are proud to offer a digital process for dental implant process in conjunction with specialists around the Rogue Valley. Below is a quick overview. 


Are you a Candidate?

Most patients who have lost an entire arch of teeth are eligible for hybrid implant dentures. One consideration is that the patient must be in reasonable good oral and overall health. The only way to confirm this, of course, is to book a free consultation appointment with Dr. Kivel at our Ashland, OR office. We can’t wait to help create a stable, secure, and complete smile!

Implant Supported vs. Implant Retained

There is another option to have implant retained dentures. In this option, the gums still absorb most of the force of the bite and the implants simple help retain the prosthetic. These type of dentures are removable . We find that many patients dislike the thought of having removable teeth, because it is a constant reminder of their tooth loss and feel comforted waking up with teeth in their mouth. For this reason, we typically lean towards a fully supported, more permanent option.