• George Washington never owned a set of wooden teeth - while he did own many sets of dentures, none were of wood construction. Rather, some materials that Washington's dentures were made from include gold, ivory, lead, human and animal teeth (horse and donkey teeth were common components). Washington had a long history of illness. In 1751 he wrote of having smallpox, and in 1752 of a bout of "violent plurise." In 1755 serving in the French and Indian War, he suffered "pain in the head" and dysentery. In 1761 when he was back at Mt. Vernon, he got "breakbone fever," now known as dengue fever. Over the ensuing years there were attacks of malaria, flu, and rheumatic complaints. On top of all this, there were constant unrelieved toothaches. He received the standard medical treatments of the day, which included heavy doses of calomel (mercurous chloride) that can lead to destruction of the teeth. This, combined with what may have been naturally poor teeth, led to dental problems beginning when Washington was twenty-two. Over the next thirty-five years, he would lose all his teeth despite daily brushing, use of dentifrice and mouthwash. When George Washington was inaugurated for his first term as president in 1789, he had only one natural tooth remaining and was wearing his first full set of dentures made by John Greenwood. Previously he had had partial dentures which were held in place by hooking them around the remaining teeth. The Greenwood dentures had a base of hippopotamus ivory carved to fit the gums. The upper denture had ivory teeth and the lower plate consisted of eight human teeth fastened by gold pivots that screwed into the base. The set was secured in his mouth by spiral springs.
  • Of course he did. They didn't have porcilin in the day. Speeking of ol washington on for an awesome music vid about our founding father!
  • No, they were apparently carved from ivory. "President Washington lost his teeth at a relatively early age. He suffered from poor dental health throughout his younger years. He had two sets of false teeth (dentures) made by the most prominent American dentist of his day, Dr. John Greenwood. They were carved from the finest hippopotamus ivory and gold."
  • Here is an interesting article that will dispel all doubt: BALTIMORE - Researchers hoping to dispel George Washington's image as a stiff-jawed, boring old man are taking a bite out of history through a high-tech study of his famous false teeth. The researchers were in Baltimore on Tuesday to perform laser scans on a set of Washington's dentures at the National Museum of Dentistry — dentures, they say, that were not made of wood as commonly believed. Scientists and historians plan to use the information to help create new, expressive, life-sized figures of plaster and wax to show aspects of the 6-foot-3 Washington's personality they consider underappreciated. "People know that Washington was great, but many people think he was boring and nothing could be further from the truth," said James C. Rees, executive director of the Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens, Washington's home in northern Virginia. "Of all the founding fathers, he was the most athletic, the most adventurous and clearly a man of action," Rees said. Washington, contrary to his grim-faced portrait on the dollar bill, was a great dancer and horseman. He started losing his teeth in his 20s. Mount Vernon plans to create three life-size figures for an exhibit due to open late next year in a new museum and education center. A 19-year-old Washington will be portrayed as a surveyor in a forest with his equipment. A 45-year-old Washington will be seen on a horse at Valley Forge. At age 57, he will be shown being sworn in for his first term as president. forensic anthropologist from the University of Pittsburgh came to the dental museum, which is affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution, to supervise laser scans on one of the four known sets of Washington's dentures. The dentures are made from gold, ivory, lead, human and animal teeth (horse and donkey teeth were common components). The dentures had springs to help them open and bolts to hold them together. "The portrait on the dollar bill is not the complete Washington," said anthropologist Jeffrey Schwartz. "I'm trying to get at the whole person." Work on the project began in July when Schwartz and other researchers began making digital scans of a number of items at Mount Vernon, including Washington's spectacles, another pair of dentures and a bust of the former president created by the French artist Jean Antoine Houdon when Washington was 53. Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • No, but he did have false teeth and they we made out of various substances. DR. JERRY GORDON George Washington ate here- but with his own teeth? A famous painting of Washington in 1779 shows a scar on his left cheek, believed to be the result of a badly abscessed tooth. Most people know that our first president had false teeth. I suspect that few people are aware that George Washington was plagued with toothaches most of his adult life. His diaries contain multiple references to dental pain, and this may have contributed to his well known quick temper. George Washington lost his teeth from periodontal or gum disease. At the time of his inauguration as president, he had only one tooth left. Washington was treated by no fewer than eight prominent dentists who practiced in colonial America, but his favorite was John Greenwood. Washington had frequent dental problems during his tenure as general commanding the Continental army. A famous painting of Washington in 1779 shows a scar on his left cheek, believed to be the result of a badly abscessed tooth. One correspondence from Washington to a dentist in 1783 was a request for material to take an impression (mold) of his mouth. He would then send the impression back to the dentist for a denture to be made. Dentist John Greenwood made several sets of dentures for Washington. Despite popular belief, Washington never had wooden dentures. His dentures were made from gold, elephant ivory, hippopotamus tusk, and human teeth. Modern dentures are usually made out of acrylic. Denture teeth are also made out of acrylic, and porcelain in some cases. On a humorous note, it appears that Washington complained to his dentist Greenwood about his denture teeth discoloring. Greenwood suggested that Washington not soak his dentures in Port wine or drink it wearing the dentures. Washington should take the dentures out and soak them in water and clean them with a brush. This advice is not off the mark, even by today’s standards. Of course today we have stronger cleansing agents that can remove denture stains, newer denture brushes, and denture teeth that are more stain resistant. Even so, it appears that our first president’s dentist did an admirable job despite the limitations of dentistry at that time.
  • George Washington did not have wooden teeth. His dental problems began in his early twenties, when he was elected at the age of fifty-seven in 1789 he only had one real tooth remaining. The dentures he wore during the inauguration were made by Dr. John Greenwood known has the “Father of Modern Dentistry", carved from hippopotamus ivory and gold. One of these sets was donated to the University of Maryland Dental School in Baltimore, who in turn donated the upper denture to the Smithsonian in 1976. The dentures were stolen at a storage facility and never recovered; the bottom denture is housed at the George Washington Gallery inside The Dr. Samuel D. Harris National Museum of Dentistry. The “Greenwood Dentures” are the most famous created for the President; four of these remain to this day. Three other sets are also all lower dentures located at the New York Academy of Medicine, at the Mt. Vernon Visitors Center and a small segment on display at the Royal London Hospital and Archives and Museum. This where is it gets tricky, many different people made or adjusted dentures for Washington. Dr, Greenwood was just the most famous. Here is a direct quote from the fine folks at Mt. Vernon "Washington had several different sets of dentures, only one of which is still complete — and the complete set is here at Mount Vernon. Our set is made from human & cow teeth and elephant ivory, set in a lead base, with heavy metal springs. Because of the way they would have fit within his mouth, we do not believe that Washington wore this set when eating or talking. They were probably entirely “ornamental,” for occasions like making silent ceremonial appearances or having his portrait painted. He also owned other, more “functional” dentures, which could have been worn while eating or talking. During the last ten years of Washington’s life (1789-1799), a highly respected New York dentist, Dr. John Greenwood, made for the president at least two complete denture sets and several partial sets. In addition, in 1796 a man named James Gardette made Washington a set of dentures from hippopotamus ivory." The story of wooden teeth is interesting but alas according to Steve Swank the curator of the National Museum of Dentistry no proof of wooden teeth ever being made in America exists. This is just one of the fanciful myths about the first President of the United States. Source:
  • We should just settle this claim already and dig up his grave. Did up his grave. Pull out his teeth.

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