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The object has a curved, oval-like metal border, with eight openings on the top and ten openings on the bottom. In almost every opening is a yellow tooth. One tooth is missing on the bottom left-hand side. The teeth are attached to an upper and lower plate. The two plates are then connected through springs.

The teeth are most likely human, horse, cow, and ivory (probably elephant). It measures at 1 3/4 in. x 2 3/4 in. x 1 3/4 in, and weighs .25lb.

Consider the following questions when looking at these dentures:

  • Why do you think Washington lost so many teeth? How do you think this made him feel?
  • Why are teeth important? What would happen if you lost all of your adult teeth?
  • What can we learn just by examining these dentures?
  • How do you think these dentures ended up at Mount Vernon?

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George Washington experienced problems with his teeth throughout his adult life. Although he regularly used dental powders and a toothbrush similar to ours, he continued to lose teeth. By the time he took the oath of office as president at age 57, he was wearing full dentures. Washington's dentures represented the latest advancements in dental technology. Contrary to popular myth, his false teeth were not made of wood, but of human and cow teeth, as well as elephant and walrus ivory. They required frequent adjusting to function naturally, and he repeatedly sent them to John Greenwood, his dentist in New York City, for repairs. For a person as conscious of his appearance as Washington, his dental dilemma caused him great discomfort.