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Copy of an Etruscan denture, Europe, 1901-1930

Etruscans, people living in Etruria (Umbria and Tuscany, Italy), were the first to make dentures and false teeth, from 700 BCE onwards. Teeth from another person or an animal, such as an ox, were inserted into a band of gold with a metal pin and fitted on to the remaining teeth. Imagine eating with another person’s teeth! Only wealthy people could afford this treatment. There were no specialist dentists so dentistry was one of the duties of a physician. This is a copy of an original denture with two teeth, which was found in a tomb in Etruria, Italy.

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