It’s hard to pinpoint the beginning of cosmetic dentistry. We know that there were civilizations that used what we would call dentures in today’s world. Teeth plucked from animals or even live donors would be used to construct a new set of teeth. However, it can be argued that this was more for a technical use than an aesthetic use, so it’s not necessarily cosmetic dentistry. It’s also gross. Nevertheless, cosmetic dentistry has come a long way since the earliest civilizations and even as recent as 50 years ago.
We all know that from the earliest beginnings of our country there existed dentures. How do we know that? We know it from the myths and urban legends of George Washington’s wooden teeth. Now, it’s NOT true that he had wooden teeth. Wooden teeth just make very little sense, but he did have dentures. Unfortunately, our first president suffered from a lot of dental troubles. His teeth were decaying, his gums were inflamed, and his mouth was constantly in pain. As a result, he needed false teeth. Now, his dentures were made from the usual materials people of that time were using. The materials were ivory, bone, and gold. They even used human teeth, which may be a little unsettling, but when presented, they looked better than a mouth full of decay.
Using another human’s tooth may seem like a good idea (if you can get passed the notion that another human’s tooth is inside your mouth), but once a tooth is removed and is not properly placed back in its original socket, it begins to die. Quickly. Also, ivory stains easily. These were not proper replacements for teeth.
They even attempted to make dentures out of metal as well, but this was not ideal either. A mouth full of metal places so much wear and tear on your jaw. You use it for a lot of things without even noticing such as eating, drinking, and talking. It really wasn’t until the 1800’s when cosmetic dentistry could really take off.
In the 1800’s the creation of porcelain helped with the advancement of cosmetic dentistry. It had that white shine to it everyone wanted with his or her smile, and they didn’t decay in your mouth, as long as you took enough care of them. Dentists went crazy with porcelain as they began to explore all the different possibilities porcelain could provide. They created caps to replace amalgam fillings and this led to the invention of crowns.
However, in the early 1900’s crowns were still inefficient. They were placed over a chipped tooth or a tooth that was out of place, but people found them slipping off easily. Luckily, cosmetic dentists were able to figure out how to fuse porcelain to metal and were able to create the modern day equivalence of dental crowns we know today. The metal helps hold the porcelain replacement in place as well as attaching to the surrounding teeth so that it’s not going anywhere. It leaves for a perfect replacement that looks completely natural.
The peak of cosmetic dentistry was not actually reached until the late 1900’s. To be specific, it was in the 1990’s when the term “cosmetic dentistry” was actually coined. This was the height of modern day cosmetic dentistry. This era brought all the wonderful procedures that we know today. Whitening, veneers, and implants all became popular and common procedures during this time.
Of course, these practices continue to progress into even more effective and pain-free ones. Light procedures that act as a catalyst for bonding agents help permanently secure veneers and other bonding practices. We can clean teeth with lasers and if you truly want an entirely new smile, we can implant a whole set of teeth for you. We’ve come along way from bones and ivory. If you’re interested in one of these state of the art procedures, give us a call! Let us know what you want done, or you can visit our brand new site and peruse the different types of procedures we can do for you smile!