The gruesome history behind dentistry and dentures
Millions of people wear dentures because they are the cheapest and easiest way to address the loss of several teeth. Dentures nowadays are commonly made of nylon resin material or plastic, but did you know that decades ago they were made from teeth of dead people? Read on to find out more.
Practically everyone was into dentures and dentistry
Today, you can get arrested for practicing dentistry without a license but in the 18th and early 19th centuries, practically everyone can be asked to help with dentures such as ivory turners, jewelers, chemists, wigmakers, and even blacksmiths.
From 1972 early dentists used human teeth on dentures
There are pieces of evidence that show how early dentists used human teeth such as a now politically incorrect advertisement in the newspaper that read “Wanted – Several Human Front Teeth” and a cartoon from the era depicting how the teeth of the poorest people in society were being yanked out to be used by wealthy dental patients who had lost their teeth.
Many of the dentures in the 18th and 19th centuries were made from the teeth of soldiers who died on the battlefield at Waterloo
Considering the high demand for human teeth, the sources were limited. There were only a few live donors and grave robbers could only offer limited supplies, which made the prospect of dead soldiers in the battlefield at Waterloo very attractive for looters. Experts claim that teeth of dead soldiers were pulled out by locals and surviving troops, so they can sell them eventually.
The passing of the Anatomy Act led to the decline of the use of human teeth on dentures
The use of human teeth as dentures significantly declined in the middle of the 19th century. This happening can be attributed to two factors – the passing of the Anatomy Act of 1832 which was enacted in response to the illegal trade of corpses and the emergence of new materials that can take the place of real human teeth.