23 Apr Were George Washington’s Dentures Really Made Of Wood?
Myth or Fact?
The first president of the United States was known for his physical strength. But, historians say George Washington suffered from dental issues for most of his life. When he was 24 years old, Washington wrote in his diary that he paid five shillings to a “Dr. Watson” for removing one of his teeth. Diary entries made later in his life reveal that Washington had aching teeth, lost teeth, inflamed gums, and dentures that didn’t fit.
One of the most widespread myths about the Founding Father is that his dentures were made of wood. Historians say Washington wore multiple sets of partial and full dentures throughout his life. However, none of them were made of wood. They say his dentures were made from other materials such as gold, lead, ivory, and even human teeth.
Dr. John Baker was the first dentist to construct false teeth for Washington, prior to his service in the Revolutionary War. Dr. Baker fabricated a partial denture with ivory wired to the future president’s remaining real teeth.
Today, there’s only one full-set of Washington’s dentures still in existence. They can be found at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Museum & Education Center in Mount Vernon, VA.