Denture Talk: How Dentures Used To Be Made And How They’re Made Today

The modern denture has come a long way since humankind first started trying to replace missing teeth. Where we now use materials such as porcelain and acrylic resins, dentures used to be made with far different materials, ranging from wood to animal teeth!

While you won’t find animal teeth dentures at Castle Rock Dental, our dentists can tell you all about how dentures used to be made and how modern dentures are made for you today.

What Materials Used To Be Utilized For Dentures

Over the centuries, human ingenuity has stretched to try a variety of materials to craft both the base and the teeth portions of dentures.


A major source of dentures material, for the teeth portion anyway, were animals. Larger creatures such as hippopotamus were sourced by Egyptians for their ivory tusks, which were carved down to create replacement teeth. While the Egyptians didn’t exactly make dentures, they did craft a type of dental bridge and attach it to remaining teeth with metal wires.

As for other dental innovators, using cow bones and teeth was another popular option, as well as elephants’ ivory tusks. These items could be carved down to make imitation teeth to later be placed in different denture bases, ranging from wood to vulcanite rubber bases.


Metal played a large part in past dentures. Usually, metal was placed as part of the structural framework of a set of dentures. In fact, contrary to the stories that claimed that Founding Father and first American president George Washington had wooden dentures, his dentures were a mix of metal framework and ivory carved teeth as well as human teeth.


Generally, wood was used as a base material in past dentures, though this was most common in ancient Asian countries such as Japan and China.

They utilized hardwoods such as teak and boxwood to help seal the dentures to the gums, thanks to the mucous membrane and saliva working together to help get the dentures to adhere. In these wooden bases, ivory was usually the material used as the teeth for wooden dentures.

Human Teeth

You read that right, real human teeth were also used in dentures. These teeth sometimes came from people who sold their teeth or from those who needed a bad tooth extracted. Rather than “waste” the extracted tooth, it was upcycled and used in dentures.
Also, in a turn for the macabre, sometimes the human teeth were sourced from the dead on battlefields.
Thankfully, our modern dentists don’t use any of these past sources of dentures material. Instead, any dentures you receive now will be made of high-quality, non-organic materials that will last you far longer than any of these older dentures used to last.

Modern Dentures Materials

When it comes to modern dentures, far more comfortable and sanitary materials are used to create them.

For the teeth, high-quality acrylic resins are often used. The acrylic resins are easy to color, making them an attractive option, and they are also stronger and more chip-resistant than porcelain. However, porcelain is also used in dentures as it looks more like natural tooth enamel.

To help prevent chipping, porcelain is usually used for front teeth in dentures while the acrylic resin is used more for molars as they can hold up to the chewing motion.

As for the framework of modern dentures, a blend of metal alloys such as chromium or nobelium are used, encased in a smooth plastic base. Thanks to the durability of the plastics used, you generally won’t have to worry about modern dentures breaking. But if there is an issue, our dentists can usually make repairs or adjustments in-office.

How Your Modern Dentures Are Made

There is a variety of denture products available, from partial dentures to replace multiple teeth to implanted dentures which are implanted into your jawbone for a firm and natural movement when talking or eating. So, to start the process, you will consult with one of our dentists to determine which best suits your needs, lifestyle, and budget.

Once that has been determined, our dentists will work with you to set up the series of appointments needed to create and fit your dentures. How many appointments you need will heavily depend on what type of dentures you have chosen.

Basic Denture Manufacturing Process

Aside from the work you will do with our dentists, the process of creating your modern dentures is taken care of at a specialized lab that focuses on the fabrication of dentures and other dental apparatus. The basic steps in the dentures creation process are:

  1. One of our dentists will make an impression of your mouth. That impression will be sent to the dentures lab to provide them with an accurate mold of how your dentures should fit.
  2. Multiple casts are made from the mold to ensure that it is accurate and well-made. Once a cast is approved, it serves as a tool to manufacture the teeth of your new dentures.
  3. Using the approved cast, a mold is made, and it is filled with acrylic resin to create the dentures. There are two types of resin packing method, vice, and pouring, but once the resin is in place, it is set in an oven to harden.
  4. Once hardened and cooled, the mold is taken apart to release the new dentures, which are then cleaned up and sent to our dentist.
  5. Our dentists will work with you to ensure that your dentures fit and are comfortable, making adjustments where necessary.

Find The Perfect Dentures For You At Castle Rock Dental

As you can see, creating modern dentures is still quite a process, though a cleaner one than ancient dentures. By working with our dentists at Castle Rock Dental, you can ensure that your dentures are fitted for your needs, as our dentists are committed to making sure your dentures are comfortable and look fantastic.

To work with our dentists to receive the perfect dentures for your needs, contact us to set up a consultation today.

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