Dental labs invited to replicate famous false teeth

Contest sponsored by National Museum of Dentistry to update likeness of George Washington's mandibular denture.

BALTIMORE, Maryland--George Washington may not have used his dentures for more than 200 years, but that won't stop them from getting a 21st century update thanks to a new contest sponsored by The Dr. Samuel D. Harris National Museum of Dentistry in honor of the museum's 10th anniversary.

This spring, more than 900 dental laboratories in the United States and Canada are invited to replicate George Washington's maxillary and mandibular denture, based on the hippopotamus ivory and gold set created for America's first president in 1795 by New York dentist John Greenwood.

Laboratories will be provided with photographic scans of the original mandibular denture and a maxillary replica created in 1976, along with specifications of the dentures. The winning entries will be displayed at the museum and featured in the museum's trade show booth at prominent dental meetings in Las Vegas, New York, Chicago and Anaheim, Calif.

Entries must be received by the National Museum of Dentistry by May 1. They will be judged based on the quality of the materials used, the quality of workmanship, accuracy to the original specifications and resemblance to the original denture.

Dr. Errol Reese, former dental school dean and former president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, leads the judging committee, which is comprised of dental professionals from around the country. In addition to first and second-place prizes awarded by the judging committee, visitors to the National Museum of Dentistry will have the opportunity to select a "People's Choice" winner.

All winners will be announced at the National Museum of Dentistry's 10th Anniversary Gala on June 24th.

"This contest is an excellent opportunity to involve the many dental laboratories across the United States and Canada in the National Museum of Dentistry's 10th Anniversary celebration and to highlight to the public the tremendous work these organizations do every day to improve oral health and the quality of life," Rosemary C. Fetter, NMD Executive Director, said.

The National Museum of Dentistry exhibits George Washington's 1795 mandibular denture in the Malott Gallery on the Museum's second floor, along with replicas of other dentures created for George Washington during his lifetime.

Despite centuries of myth and legend, no evidence exists that George Washington, who began losing teeth in his early twenties, ever wore wooden dentures.

Full rules and entry information for the George Washington Dental Laboratory project are available by calling the National Museum of Dentistry at (410) 706.8704.

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