Dentures have a long history, dating back to 500BC when the Etruscans in northern Italy made the first false teeth from human or other animal teeth.
Full wooden dentures were invented in the 16th century by the Japanese, using bees wax to get the right shape and size through a mould of the original grin.
When teeth decay or fall out, it can affect breathing, eating and general quality of life.
Those existing teeth increase the stability of the denture, which may be fixed (permanent) or precision (removable).
In turn, the presence of the denture keeps other teeth from shifting around, as they would if the missing ones weren't replaced.
Dentures are the traditional path for loss of teeth but they are not the only option.
False teeth were being fitted into the mouths of Etruscans, who lived in what is now central Italy, as early as 700 B. In spots where a tooth was missing, the band would contain a fake tooth (often another person's or animal's tooth) held in place by small pins [sources: Dunn, James].
For people who have lost teeth through accidents or periodontal disease, dentures and dental implants now look so good that wearing them may even result in a more beautiful smile.
Fake teeth used in dentures are now made of either porcelain or plastic, and the base is usually plastic or acrylic.
Their attachment to other teeth can cause more bacterial plaque stagnation than usual, which leads to an increased incidence of both gum disease and tooth decay.
Because RPDs attach to the remaining teeth they also tend to loosen the attached teeth over time.
In fact, over 20% of adults over the age of 65 have no natural teeth left.