This article is written by our good friend and docent, Carla DeMeco.
There was no dentistry. If a tooth was bad, you went to the barber. He would give you a shot of whiskey to numb your mouth. Then he would get his pliers. Maybe he would wipe them on his pants leg or apron. Maybe not. Then, while strong men held you down, the barber would pull your tooth.
George Washington had bad teeth as a young man. He was handsome, if he kept his mouth shut. But as soon as he opened his mouth, there were all these terrible teeth.
Eventually he lost them all and acquired false teeth. He had some made of wood and others made of rhinoceros bone. They all HURT. At the time, the idea was “one size fits all”.