National Denture Day
Did you know? That June 9th is National Denture Day. Yes, believe it or not, there’s an actual day that we celebrate dentures!
On June 9, 1822, Charles Graham received the first patent for false teeth. His were not the first false teeth in use, however. In the Colonial years, rotten teeth were considered the root of many illnesses. The primary treatment for decay was extraction and different ways of replacing them were devised. George Washington had at least four sets of false teeth, none of which, contrary to popular myth, were wooden. His first dentures consisted of human teeth inserted into carved ivory. Another set, made by George Washington's dentist, Dr. John Greenwood of New York in 1789, were made of gold, hippo teeth, and hippo and elephant ivory. A hole was left for Washington's remaining tooth, a molar.
...the most interesting part of the story about George’s teeth is the mechanism of their fabrication. The upper and lower gold plates were connected by springs which pushed the upper and lower plates against the upper and lower ridges of his mouth to hold them in place. Washington actually had to actively close his jaws together to make his teeth bite together. If he relaxed, his mouth would pop open. There is speculation that this is the reason that the Father of Our Country always looks so stern in his portraits. Take a look at a dollar bill. George isn’t upset - he’s just trying to keep his teeth in!