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False Teeth Throughout History

Using rocks to replace teeth was actually a successful procedure for the Mayans. George Washington’s teeth were not made from wood. And other people’s teeth used to be the most common type of false teeth available. Learn about these facts and more as we cover false teeth throughout history.

  • Ancient Egyptians first used false teeth around 1500 B.C. by threading human teeth with gold wire.
  • The oldest known pair of complete dentures was made in Japan and thought to be worn by a priestess living in the Ganjyoji Temple.
  • Ancient tribes in Mexico used animal teeth, often from a wolf, to fill the spaces left by missing teeth.
  • Italians of 700 B.C. stringed together human and animal teeth with gold wire to create dentures.
  • The Mayans filled tooth sockets with bone, seashell fragments, and carved stones and then waited for the jaw bone to grow around these materials.
  • George Washington’s false teeth were not made of wood but rather ivory which was a common false tooth material in the 1700’s.
  • The teeth from 50,000 soldiers killed in the Battle of Waterloo were extracted and sold to the British for use as false teeth
  • Alexis Duchateau created porcelain dentures in 1774 which chipped easily and were too white to look natural.
  • Claudius Ash revolutionized false teeth by creating porcelain dentures set on gold plates complete with springs and swivels in 1820.