L0057248 Lower denture with human teeth, England, 1800-1870
Credit: Science Museum, London. Wellcome Images
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.

maker: Unknown maker

Place made: England, United Kingdom
made: 1800-1870 Published: –

Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/