The Etruscans of central Italy invented false teeth nearly 3,000 years ago. They made dentures out of ox teeth, held together with highly visible gold bands. For Etruscans, wearing dentures was nothing to be ashamed of—it was actually a status symbol.
False teeth have come a long way since Etruscan times. Today, with millions of Americans wearing at least partial dentures, choices in dental ware abound. There are partial and full dentures, those that can be removed, and those that are implanted into the bone and become like real teeth.
All dentures, like any artificial body part, take some getting used to, says prosthodontist George A. Murrell, D.D.S. He and other specialists have some suggestions.
George A. Murrell, D.D.S., is a retired prosthodontist in Manhattan Beach, California. He also has taught at the University of Southern California School of Dentistry in Los Angeles.
Eric Shapira, D.D.S., M.A., M.H.A., is a dental consultant, clinical gerontologist, and educator based in Montara, California. He is the founder of Aging Mentor Services, which provides counseling and care management to older adults and families in transition.
Richard Shepard, D.D.S., is a retired dentist in Durango, Colorado.
Jerry F. Taintor, D.D.S., M.S., is an endodontist in private practice in Memphis, Tennessee. He is the co-author of The Complete Guide to Better Dental Care.