Replica of George Washington's dentures

Replica of George Washington's dentures

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This is a replica of dentures worn by President George Washington. The replica dentures were made by Dr. Reidar F. Sognnaes (1911-1984) around 1972. The dentures are a replica of ones made by John Greenwood (1760-1819) in 1795, and are made of elephant ivory and hippopotamus canine teeth. The upper portion of the denture has a gold palate and is held in place by two gold springs. The lower denture was fashioned in two segments held together by tiny wooden pegs. Dr. Sognnaes traveled to Washington, DC, New York City, London, and Alexandria, Virginia, to examine and study the dental relics attributed to Washington. He then made replicas of all of the four known dentures worn by the President, including this replica of the1795 pair which was on loan to the Museum at that time.
John Greenwood of New York City served as George Washington's dentist from 1789 until Washington's death in 1799. He provided the President with four pairs of dentures over these years.
Reidar F. Sognnaes, DMD, MS, PhD, was professor of oral pathology and founding Dean of the UCLA School of Dentistry.
Currently not on view
Object Name
dental device
date made
about 1972
Sognnaes, Reidar F.
place made
United States: California, California
Physical Description
gold (palate and springs material)
ivory (elephant and hippopotamus) (teeth material)
wood (dowels material)
overall: 1 1/8 in x 2 3/4 in x 3 3/4 in; 2.8575 cm x 6.985 cm x 9.525 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Edel M. Sognnaes
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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