Zene Artzney
Zene Artzney

A look back in our history

We live in a fast running time. Modern dentistry, similar to other aspects of human life, has made a great progress during the past 100 years. Today, "Painless extraction" and " Lady in attendance" have become self-evident. Patients are confident they will receive perfect crowns, bridges, and other replacements. In the 19th century every dentist needed to advertise these attributes.

Let`s introduce you into a time where dental tools were objects of art and not just functional. Ivory, mother of pearl, horn, gold, silver and different woods were being used. Specialized instrument makers had appeared during the 18th century.

It seems it was impossible for these craftsmen to create something functional without, simultaneously making it beautiful. By the end of the 19th century the demand for antiseptic conditions precluded the further use of decorative implements. But, even today, many of our present forceps and elevators look as they did 300 years ago. Viewing these instruments it isn`t hard to imagine the pain they induced, and how people suffered in those times, since anesthesia was not yet present. Toothache, and the struggle against it, that`s what has plagued mankind for eons. Until recently, many people were afraid of a dental appointment. This is apparent in many pictures, drawings, cartoons, caricatures, and prints. These visual items mostly showed one kind of dental treatment-the dentist as "toothbreaker". That meant an extraction. Until the 19th century there were few possibilities to free people from toothache, especially ordinary people. This has significantly changed. Since the 20th century preservation and conservation of tooth structure have become a main part of modern dentistry. If you look at Victorian Trade cards (many thousands were produced with the advent of lithography in the late 1800`s) you will see each as a little object of art, quite different from today`s advertisements. A card`s reverse side often would show the dentist`s fees and qualifications along with promises of what could be accomplished. Painkillers would be available, promising relief in just a few minutes. Today we know that most of these promises could not be kept. But to denigrate them would make us equally guilty. The experiences and research of those who came before forms the foundation of all our present knowledge. Most of these early practitioners did their very best to alleviate pain and restore cosmetics. These are the giants on whose shoulders we stand today.

History of Dentistry