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Excerpts from journals and letters, and newspaper advertisements provide insight into the state of dental art on the British Isles in the 17th and 18th centuries. One rather macabre account from a London-based dentist condemns the practice of extracting teeth from poor persons in exchange for money. These teeth were then transplanted into the mouths of others, presumably those willing to pay for artificial teeth to replace lost natural teeth. (1)

A newspaper advertisement from 1769 of one Mister Hamelton, Surgeon-Dentist, lists the construction of artificial teeth in “so nice a manner that they cannot be distinguished from the natural”, suggesting a burgeoning market for dental prostheses (1) In addition, an almanac from 1709 gives us an idea about dental prosthesis prices at the time. A pivot tooth costed £4.96 while a full upper set of dentures costed  £52.50. (1)

artificial teeth pricing in England, late 18th century.png

Artificial teeth pricing in England, late 18th century