When was the first set of dentures believed to be used?
The first DENTURE the earliest-known set of dentures embodying both upper and lower rows of false teeth was dug up from a field in Switzerland, and is believed to date from the late 15th century. The teeth are carved from bone and attached to hinged side-pieces with gut. This denture would probably have been worn as an aid to beauty and would need to have been removed at mealtimes.
The first porcelain dentures were made c. 1770 by Alexis Duchateau, an apothecary from Saint-Germain-en-Laye, near Paris. After repeated failures—the porcelain contracted under firing, making it extremely difficult to judge how large a mould to use—he at last succeeded in making a pair that fitted so excellently that he was able to wear them for the rest of his life. A Parisian dentist, M. Dubois de Chemant, who had assisted Duchateau in his experiments, began to manufacture the new dentures. The first really satisfactory false teeth to be made available to the toothless public at large, they united, said the Paris Faculty of Medicine in a testimonial, the ‘qualities of beauty, solidity and comfort to the exigencies of hygiene’.
De Chemant introduced his artificial teeth when he set up a London practice in 1792. The porcelain was supplied by the pottery firm of Wedgwood.