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01 Jul 2006 | eLABORATE

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The teeth that saved the world?

Britain’s war time prime minister Winston Churchill had a natural lisp and the horror of being unable to speak. His first denture was made of vulcanite and so ill fitting that he wore it more in his pocket than in his mouth.


Once he sat on the denture and broke it. A new cast gold denture with soldered platinum clasps and porcelain tube facings was made with a gap between the denture base and the palate to compensate for his lisp. During long sessions of adjustment, brandy was used as a mouth wash and getting irritated, Churchill would sometimes flick the denture out hitting the opposite wall. As the often occurring breakages prevented Churchill speaking, his secretary always had a spare set on hand. Churchill’s dentures were made by the dentist Wilfred Fish and his dental technician Derek Cudlipp. The denture pictured was one of the spares kept by Mr Cudlipp in case of emergency and is part of an online exhibition at Royal College of Surgeons of England website.

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