George Washington's Dentures
Contrary to the popular myth that George Washington wore wooden false teeth, the dentures he used, shown here, are made from animal and human teeth—he bought teeth from his slaves—as well as elephant and walrus ivory. The false teeth were embedded in a base of lead and made flexible with steel springs. These dentures were the latest in dental technology, and were often sent to a dentist in New York City, John Greenwood, for necessary adjustments. Washington suffered from dental problems throughout his adult life, and by the time he became president at the age of fifty-seven, he wore full dentures.