The other day, a volunteer at a historical museum noticed a photo of George Washington hanging on the wall. She criticized this rendition of our country’s founder as a poor representation. Upon reflection, we determined this image did not exhibit the strength and leadership traits that embodied our nation’s first president. The reason was because tooth loss made his mouth and lower jaw appear sunken from poor facial support.
A Great Leader
George Washington was arguably one of our greatest American leaders. He was Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, unanimously chosen President of the United States from 1789 to 1797, and one of the Founding Fathers.
This statesman was described as polite, dignified, affable, modest, wise and good. Nevertheless, many images of him did not reflect these qualities.
George Washington’s Teeth
George Washington suffered from severe dental pain and tooth loss his entire adult life. Several of the paintings created during his lifetime show a collapsed face due to tooth loss.
Even though Washington’s mouth is closed in paintings, the collapsed jaw makes his appearance less powerful and robust.
Dental care was a constant battle for George Washington. In letters, he reported aching teeth, inflamed gums and poorly fitting dentures.
Throughout the Revolutionary War, he bought tooth powders, pastes, tinctures of myrrh and numerous toothbrushes.
Washington owned several sets of false teeth. Contrary to common lore, they were not made of wood but made from elephant and walrus ivory as well as human teeth.
George Washington’s dental problems had a huge impact on his life, even affecting his presidential inaugurations. Ill-fitting dentures embarrassed Washington. For this reason, he delivered his inaugural addresses to Congress instead of to the masses.
The Teeth and Facial Structure
You cannot hide missing teeth by closing your mouth. Your underlying teeth affect facial structure. Teeth help to give the face its shape and the absence of teeth cause the face to collapse and appear sunken, with sagging cheeks.
Unfortunately, the best dental care available during George Washington’s life provided him with limited relief. But dental care has advanced significantly in the past two-hundred years and dental implants can improve facial structure and restore the shape of the face.
Pi Dental Center provides advanced dental implant options. If you are looking for a welcoming office that can give you a new smile, call us. We will be happy to evaluate your mouth and discuss all treatment options.