The Use of Extracted Teeth in Dental Schools
I’m not sure how far back this practice goes, but currently, most dental schools require students to provide a jar of extracted teeth when they arrive for their first year. These teeth are used for dental anatomy courses, and even mounted in modified typodonts for pre-clinical practice.
An important use for these extracted teeth is the demonstration of clinical skills for certain regional licensure exams. The thing is, there is no real direction as to how you’re supposed to get these teeth. Most students will ask a practicing dentist for extracted teeth, and you really hit the jackpot if you can find a generous oral surgeon. One big issue, however, is that unless these teeth are properly disinfected, they are considered a biohazard. Also, these extracted teeth are typically pretty carious and altered; not ideal for their intended purpose.
Evidently, someone has decided they could profit from this situation, and I just ran across a website that will actually sell you perfectly formed, non-carious teeth of various types in lots of fifty. These teeth have been completely cleaned and are biohazard-free. It might be worth it for an incoming class to consider ordering a batch. However, while it is clear how oral surgeons end up with so many human teeth, I wonder how this website finds enough virgin teeth to sell in huge lots like that. It is slightly disconcerting when you think about how few virgin teeth really need to be extracted!