What Sort Of Dental Care Did The Founding Fathers Receive?

Independence Day is just a few days away, and the founding fathers have been on our minds a lot here at Front Range Smiles! We did a little bit of research and we’ve decided it’s a great time to talk about the dental hygiene habits of our founding fathers, as well as dispel a few myths once and for all!

Common Dental Practices Of Early America

If you lived in the 1700’s and you needed any dental work done, you’d have been sent to a “barber surgeon.” These guys were jacks-of-all-trades who cut hair, embalmed the dead, applied leeches (to suck illness out of people’s blood), removed teeth and performed dental surgeries. We don’t’ know about you, but this sounds pretty horrifying to us! Luckily, dentists eventually migrated to the American colonies and helped improve dental care – a little bit.

You see, even once dental practitioners came into the picture, dental care was kind of scary. In the 1800’s, some of the common procedures included removing teeth with a tool called a “turnkey,” which resembled a modern day ratchet wrench, removing cavities with hand instruments and cleaning teeth with sharp scrapers. Materials used in fillings were gold foil, lead, and tin.

George Washington’s Wooden Teeth

It’s finally time to put this rumor to rest! George Washington’s teeth were not actually made of wood. In fact, they were made of hippopotamus ivory! Which is even more interesting, in our opinion. You can check them out for yourself, as they’re currently on display in Baltimore, MD at the National Museum of Dental History.

Luckily, dentistry has come quite a long way since our founding fathers! To schedule a cleaning or exam, please contact Front Range Smiles, located in Parker, CO!

From all of us at the office, have a safe and fun 4th of July holiday!

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