George Washington had trouble with his teeth for much of his life.
Whether the teeth provided by the Mount Vernon enslaved people were simply being sold to the dentist for any patient who needed them or intended for George Washington, is unknown. Although the fact that Washington paid for the teeth suggests that they were either for his own use or for someone in his family.
While it may seem particularly gruesome, a perfectly acceptable means of making money was by selling teeth to dentists. Since at least the end of the Middle Ages, very poor people have sold their teeth for use in both dentures and in tooth transplant operations to benefit those wealthy enough to afford these procedures. Healthy incisors, preferably from young, healthy donors, were necessary for transplantation. Whereas, teeth used in dentures could be either incisors or molars and might even be taken from corpses.2