Researchers Find 400-Year-Old Dentures in Italy

Shaunacy Ferro

Dental care wasn’t quite the same in the 1600s, but if you were lucky, you could still get some decent dentures, as archaeologists recently discovered. Italian researchers found a dental prosthesis during a dig at a monastery in Tuscany, as The Telegraph reports. Made with real teeth, it was found in the tomb of a powerful aristocratic family.

Researchers from the University of Pisa detail their discovery in a paper in the journal Clinical Implant Dentistry and Related Research. The prosthesis can’t be dated precisely, but they estimate that it may be from the beginning of the 17th century.

The dentures had five teeth, including central incisors (front teeth) and canines. The teeth were secured to an internal gold band by small gold pins, two in the root of each tooth. The dentures were probably attached to the wearer's mouth using string.

“This dental prosthesis provides a unique finding of technologically advanced dentistry in this period,” the researchers write. “In fact, during the Early Modern Age, some authors described gold band technology for the replacement of missing teeth; nevertheless, no direct evidences of these devices have been brought to light up so far.”

[h/t The Telegraph]

All images courtesy Minozzi et al., Clinical Implant Dentistry and Related Research (2016)