A dissertation on artificial teeth, 1797, 1804, 1816

Nicolas Dubois de Chémant (1753-1824)


A dissertation on artificial teeth, 1797, 1804, 1816

Nicolas Dubois de Chémant (1753-1833)

Nicolas DuBois de Chémant is one of the pioneers of prosthodontics in making durable and esthetic artificial teeth. He became a Master Surgeon in 1788. He collaborated with Alexis Duchateau (1714-1792) the first to think of replacing the smelly dentures made of hippopotamus bone and extracted teeth, with the use of porcelain. Duchateau lived in Sevres, near Paris where the French porcelain manufacturer was operating. The collaboration of Alexis Duchateau and Dubois De Chemant was short lived. The latter claimed full authorship and patent on the invention of the mineral paste to make teeth. The patent was awarded to Du Chémant in 1791 (in France) and after a court challenge he retained it. Because of the French Revolution, he escaped to England where he secures a second royal patent for his mineral paste teeth. How replacement of extracted teeth changed the appearance of dentures one only has to look at George Washington’s “state-of-the-art” teeth at the end of the 18th century and new dentures that Dy Chemant and subsequently, Giuseppangelo Fonzi came up with.

Our collection has three editions of the A Dissertation on Artificial Teeth, 1797, 1804 and 1816. All three are English translations of the 1797 original French work. When Du Chemant ended up in England, it was natural that his work be translated and republished in English. In it he details the process of fabrication of this new method that revolutionized prosthodontics.

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Editorial notes by Andrew I Spielman.