Strange Dentistry Practices of the PastMay 09 2014

Lucky for us modern medicine and dentistry practices have evolved and are now safe and mostly painless. There’s no reason for someone to be afraid to go to the dentist now, but in the past they may have had good reason!

strange-dentistry-practices-of-the-past-2In early America blacksmiths often served double duty as the county dentist and applied their metal working talents to a very different use. Let’s just hope that they didn’t use their hammer in the same fashion! And 100 years ago nearly half of the adults on the North American continent had no teeth. Back then, before dentures were invented, false teeth were formed from a variety of sources including wood, ivory, and even teeth from human corpses! Of course, replacing teeth was a very expensive process so many chose to simply live without them.

strange-dentistry-practices-of-the-past-1Dental drills have been discovered and estimated to date all the way back to the Stone Age when a flint tip was used to drill out a part of the tooth that was infected or decayed. They improved over time until the 1800s when the artful craftsmanship of the tools almost outweighed the safety or precision of the tool itself. With ruby encrusted pliers and carefully detailed, ornate handles these old dentistry tools were expensive to produce!

Other countries improved their dentistry practices far faster, and long before we did. The Romans were applying gold crowns, creating bridges to fix gaps, and brushing with a toothpaste of honey and eggshells way back in 200 AD. Egyptian mummies also seem to have good teeth and researchers have actually found fillings of resin, malachite, and wrapped gold wire. Medieval Germany, however, was not at the top of their class as history shows their only cure for a toothache was the kiss of a donkey!

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