George Washington was plagued by dental disease almost his entire life. His adult teeth began falling out in his early 20’s. Others had to be extracted due to advanced decay. By the time he became president only one remained.
Because of this, Washington frequently sought out the help of dentists. During the Revolutionary War he became close to Franco-American dentist Jean-Pierre Le Mayeur, who became a lifelong friend. Later, during his presidency, Washington relied on dentist John Greenwood to fashion him several sets of false teeth. However, none were made from wood. One set was made from ivory and held together with gold springs, which is a bit more presidential than a hunk of wood. One pair of Washington’s dentures survives and is on view at his home in Mount Vernon.
George Washington’s story is a good reminder of how far we’ve come in dentistry. Despite the best efforts of Revolutionary Era dentists, Washington still suffered a lifetime of discomfort and regularly took laudanum (an opiate painkiller) to deal with the pain. His poor teeth also hurt his self-esteem and made him reluctant to give speeches.
Although there are many ways you should inspire to be like our nation’s first president, having unsightly teeth is not one of them. At Falmouth Dental Arts we offer dental solutions that fit your specific needs and budget for your complete comfort both physically and financially. Most importantly, we will get your teeth functioning properly and looking beautiful once again. Call today to see how we can improve your smile.
Many believe that losing their teeth and eventually ending up with dentures is inevitable. Others think they’re “too old” for certain procedures. There are many myths that need to be debunked about our dental health as we age. Here are seven of the most common of them:
1. I’m going to lose my teeth anyway. Why put money into them?
Having a great smile and being able to eat anything you want is an investment, not a cost. Many of us will now live to be over 90 thanks to modern medicine. There are many procedures to save teeth, so you don’t have to be doomed to a future of gumming your food or ill-fitting dentures for 20+ years.
2. I’m too old for orthodontics. My teeth can’t be straightened now.
As we get older, unfortunately our teeth become more crooked and overlapped. Orthodontics work at any age as long as the teeth have good bone support and are in fair shape. Many times, orthodontics are used before cosmetic procedures, so the results can be beautiful.
3. My dentures will never be tight enough.
There have been many advances in helping people with loose dentures. One of the most cost-effective methods is the placement of “mini-implants,” which can attach to the inside of the existing dentures in order to give patients a tighter fit. For those who want to get rid of their dentures completely, there are “implant supported bridges,” where slightly larger implants are placed and a bridge that looks like normal teeth is cemented permanently over them.
4. Teeth whitening is only for the younger crowd.
Teeth whitening works no matter what your age. Done properly, it can make your teeth (and you) look much more youthful. Just be aware that whitening will not work on old fillings or crowns.
5. I’m too old for veneers and crowns.
Some of our favorite patients are those over 70 who have had cosmetic veneers done on their aging and yellowing teeth—it gives them much more confidence in their smiles and can help with self-esteem.
6. Implants won’t work in my mouth so I’m stuck with what I have.
Dental implants are changing so fast that it’s hard for even dentists to keep up with the advances. Just a few years ago, if your jaw couldn’t accommodate implants, your options were limited. Now, there are many procedures that allow us to place implants almost anywhere in the mouth. Biting into an apple is a wonderful thing you can do again with the help of the proper procedures.
7. The health of my teeth and gums doesn’t matter at this age.
Gum disease, or “periodontal disease,” is the number one disease in the world. It’s the leading cause of tooth loss as we age, and it’s entirely preventable! There are now a vast number of studies showing how important healthy gums are to our heart and joints. If you’ve had joint replacements, you know how strict surgeons are about healthy gums before surgery. The mouth is a window to the health of the rest of your body.
It’s never too late for the beautiful smile and functional teeth you’ve been dreaming of for years. With the advances of modern dentistry, your dreams can become a reality.