Washington’s Teeth

Most of us have learned over the years that George Washington’s fabled wooden teeth were not primarily made of wood, but of ivory. What is less well-known is that his dentures were also made partly of human teeth.

The teeth were acquired from his slaves.

While the barbarity of that fact is sobering, it is also the fact that Washington paid the slaves for their teeth. And it is important to realize that the custom of rich people purchasing teeth from poor people was commonplace at the time.

Another common practice was for dentists to actually implant the purchased human teeth into the rich people’s jaws. Washington had this procedure performed in 1784, but it was not successful.

(Wiencek 112)


Leave a comment

Filed under 18th Century

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s