Have you ever heard of Waterloo Teeth?
In the early days of dentures, dentists were not the ones who placed the prothesis for patients. That job was left to those with a more technical background, like watch or clock makers. Another big difference is that many different materials were used, including hippo, walrus and elephant ivory. Eventually, ivory was found to discolor easily and also smell bad. Since ivory was so difficult to carve, getting a perfect fit was almost impossible. Patients were looking for a better solution.
During the 1800s, a major source of teeth for Europeans were from dead bodies on the battlefield. During the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, so many teeth were removed from deceased soldiers that any dentures made with human teeth at that time were called Waterloo Teeth. This morbid practice was thankfully stopped in the 1860s.
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