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George Washington’s Teeth Were Not Made of Wood

GW-Teeth_CC_.jpgHappy 4th of July all. As we head into the holiday weekend and start the celebration of the Red, White and Blue and the colonial uprising, I thought it would be a good time to dispel a very popular myth and find out what the good General’s dentures were actually made of.

According to, George Washington (GW) paid 5 shillings to a Doctor Watson at the age of 24 to have one of his teeth removed. He had many diary entries later in his life making regular reference to aching teeth, lost teeth, inflamed gums, ill-fitting dentures, and a host of other dental issues. Although GW used several different types of full and partial dentures that were constructed of materials including bone, human teeth (including his own and teeth he purchased), brass screws, lead, and gold metal, his main appliance was a fabricated  partial denture with ivory that was wired to his remaining real teeth.

By the time he was elected President in 1789, GW was down to one working tooth. He had several sets of dentures during his time in office and there are multiple letters to his dentist about his ill-fitting dentures. If only they had a silicone based soft denture liner like Preference Soft Denture Liner in 1789, GW wouldn’t be having the problems he was having.

By the time GW was elected to his second term in office, Martha Washington had to have her own set of partials fabricated. According to historians, GW was no doubt self-conscious about his dentures and the troublesome contraptions also made speaking more of a challenge. This really limited the amount of public speaking he did.

Now you know the truth about GW’s teeth. I hope you all have a nice holiday weekend.

Photo Credit: repose via Compfight cc

Chris Frye

Chris has been a product specialist for over 18 years. In 2012, he became involved in the 3D printing industry, helping clients understand the complexities of printing and how it can help their companies. He is knowledgeable in all forms of 3D printing, having been associated with Stratasys, 3D Systems and Asiga. Chris can be reached at or 513-680-1512.