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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 our own his tooth loss persisted. By 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.


Full set of dentures. Upper and lower plates with lead bases connected by silver alloy springs. Teeth are fixed to the plates by a connecting metal rod.

Wooden box with a slide on top, the two side parts are missing to allow the top to slide on. Box used for GW tooth and button





Human teeth, probably horse and cow teeth, ivory (probably elephant), lead tin alloy, copper alloy (possibly brass), silver alloy


Overall: 1 1/4 in. x 2 3/4 in., 0.25 lb. (3.18 cm x 6.99 cm, 0.11 kg)
Overall (Closed): 1 3/4 in. x 2 3/4 in. x 1 3/4 in., 0.25 lb. (4.45 cm x 6.99 cm x 4.45 cm, 0.11 kg)

Credit Line

Purchase, 1949

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
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