Lower denture with human teeth, England, 1800-1870

Made:
1800-1870 in England
maker:
Unknown

Denture, partial lower, ivory with human anteriors, English, 1800-1870

Human teeth were in great demand for dentures during the Victorian period. Teeth pulled from willing volunteers could not meet the demand. A grislier source were bodies from European battlefields. Such teeth were known as ‘Waterloo teeth’ for much of the 1800s. This reflected the plentiful supply the famous battle provided. This denture also has human teeth fixed into it. It was made for the lower jaw and is carved from hippopotamus ivory.

Dentures continue to replace teeth usually lost by illness, infection, poor diet or, in extreme cases, warfare. Ivory was expensive and could only be afforded by the wealthy.

Details

Category:
Dentistry
Object Number:
A56724
Materials:
anteriors, teeth, human and plate, ivory, hippopotamus
type:
human remains
taxonomy:
  • bone
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
credit:
Wellcome Trust