Philadelphia 20th Jan. 1797
I must again resort to you for assistance. The teeth herewith enclosed have, by degrees, worked loose and, at length, two or three of them have given way altogether. I send them to you to be repaired, if they are susceptible of it; if not, then for the purpose of substituting others. I would thank you for, returning them as soon as possible for although I now make use of another sett, they are both uneasy in the mouth and bulge my lips out in such a manner as to make them appear considerably swelled.
You will perceive at the first view, that one cause of these teeth giving way is for want of a proper socket for the root part of them to rest in, as well for the purpose of keeping them firm & in place at bottom, as to preserve them against the effect of the saliva, which softens the part that formerly was covered by the gums and afforded them nourishment. Whether this remedy can be applied to the present sett I know not, for nothing must be done to them which will, in the least degree force the lips out more than now do, as it does this too much already; but if both upper and lower teeth were to incline inwards more, it would shew the shape of the mouth better, & not be the worse in any other respect.
Send with the teeth, springs about a foot in length, but not cut; and about double that length of a tough gold wire, of the size you see with the teeth, for fastening the springs. Accompany the whole with your Account, and the amount shall be immediately sent by Post in a bank note. I am Sir Your very Hble Servant
DLC: Papers of George Washington.