Partial upper and lower denture, 1801-1850.
4 0 c m
actual image size: 21cm x 32cm

Partial upper and lower denture, 1801-1850.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


Partial upper and lower denture with springs and gold, ivory and human teeth. The age of these English dentures suggests that the teeth may have been amongst the thousands removed from corpses left on the battlefield of Waterloo. The flood of teeth onto the market after that battle was so huge that dentures made from such second-hand teeth acquired a new name: Waterloo teeth. The first false teeth were made by the Etruscans as long ago as 700 BC, but the difficulties of decay and poor fitting did not begin to be overcome until the late 18th century.

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