brought to you from the BDA (British Dental Association) and posted by Wanda Luce, Regency author
Toward the end of the 18th century, people were becoming dissatisfied with ivory dentures, and experiments began with porcelain and the production of "incorruptible" dentures. The whole of the denture, teeth and gums, were made of china. In their favour they were more hygienic, however they were brittle, the colours weren’t very realistic and generally they did not fit well. They were the subject of a good deal of hilarity at the time. People made much fun of them as depicted in this picture by Thomas Rowlandson. It shows the French dentist, Nicholas Dubois de Chemant, demonstrating his porcelain dentures on a buxom lady to a potential client who inspects them through his double lorgnette.
In earlier years, dentures were either authentic teeth from another person or replicas made of ivory. These decayed easily. Below are some pictures of false teeth from before the 20th century. This set here belonged to Arthur Richard Dillon (1721-1806), Archbishop of Narbonne in France.
How dreadful it must have been to lose one's teeth. Below are a few pictures of old dentures that will make you cringe. I am so grateful to live in the 21st century!!! (So far I have all of my own teeth, but...someday I might not be so fortunate.)