Before dentures were invented, the teeth of the dead were used as dentures.

Kath Lee

Dentists in the 19th century, when tooth decay was rampant due to excessive sugar consumption, came up with an innovative, albeit icky, solution to meet the rising need for dentures: they employed what are now known as "Waterloo Teeth."

Looters, scavengers, and even surviving troops began removing teeth from dead soldiers after the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Dentists would buy them in sets, then boil them, remove the roots, and form the resulting material into dentures.

Dentures crafted from human teeth dominated the market in the early 19th century, outshining porcelain and ivory alternatives. In contrast to artificial teeth, human teeth were reportedly easier to use, more realistic looking, and more pleasant. Therefore, there was a great need for them. Denture wearers may or may not have been informed that their prostheses were once part of the mouths of deceased soldiers. Dental historian Rachel Bairsto claims that while dentures fabricated from soldiers' teeth are now commonly referred to as "Waterloo Teeth," she has been unable to locate this term in documents from the 19th century, suggesting that patients may not have been aware of the origins of their replacement teeth.

Bairsto claims that many of the teeth used in dentures were from grave thieves, in addition to Waterloo Teeth. It would appear that few dentists enquired as to where their patients got their teeth. After all, this was back in the day when wigmakers, ivory turners, and blacksmiths all dabbled in dental care and denture adjustments were performed by the neighborhood jeweler. In the early nineteenth century, "everyone was dabbling in dentistry," as Bairsto puts it.

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Kath is a vivacious lady who is passionate about writing. She writes articles on all kinds of topics. From funny trending stuff, history, informative articles, and everyday scenarios of different kinds of individuals. She is a very busy lady and didn't have time to write this bio herself. So she asked her husband and kids to fill it. I think


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