|The legendary pouty expression is rumored to depict|
Washington trying to keep his dentures in place.
Over the years, various dentists of the day hand-crafted dentures for Washington. Many of these dentures were either carved from hippo ivory or made from cow teeth bonded on a gold, bronze, or even lead base. Because denture adhesives were not yet used to bond dentures to the inside of the mouth, dentures were kept in place by the use of bent springs on the corners of the teeth which pushed the false teeth into the roof of the wearer's mouth and lower jaw. This allowed for somewhat natural chewing, but made his mouth appear bulky when closed and at times, very uncomfortable. Had George relaxed his jaw, the dentures springs may have popped out and gotten drool all over the Constitution! Without springs, the dentures would have had no way of staying in place.
The above pictured is a replica set of George Washington's dentures. For a set of his real dentures on display, click here. For more information on everything springs, check out Oklahoma's spring experts at EBSCO Spring Company.