The Smile Stealers: 10 pictures from the history of dentistry to make you squirm
Richard Barnett thrilled us with his beautifully gruesome books about the history of surgery and illness, but his new book about the the fine and foul of dentistry will make you thankful for the dentist's drill.
Portrait of St Apollonia, patroness of dentistry
Oil painting by a follower of Francisco de Zurbarán.
Etruscan two teeth lower denture
Copy of a gold setting with human teeth, discovered in a tomb in Etruria, Italy, in c. 700BC.
In Interior of a Dutch House with an Operator Attending to a Man’s Teeth
In this painting by Hendrik van der Burgh (c. 1817) the patient knocks over his basket of eggs as he kicks out in pain when the operator digs into his gums.
Eighteenth-century oil painting in the style of John Collier, known as ‘Tim Bobbin’
The blacksmith-cum-dentist appears content to use giant pincers to remove the teeth of his distraught patient.
Instruments for treating diseases of the maxilliary sinus and various surgical tools
These seeming instruments of torture include scalpels and cauterization tools, from Traité des maladies et des operations réellement chirurgicales de la bouche (1778) by Anselme Louis Bernard Bréchillet Jourdain.
Front and side view of the teeth of a child between four and five years of age
Engraving by I. Parks in Fox’s The Natural History and Diseases of the Human Teeth.
Two plates from Fox’s The Natural History and Diseases of the Human Teeth
Left: A woman with a facial tumour in the right antrum, the profile of a young man who has a distorted growth of the upper jaw combined with a cleft lip, filed and pointed teeth, and various claw positions adopted when using a dental key for extraction.
Right: The progression of an aggressive facial tumour in a thirteen-year-old female patient admitted to Guy’s Hospital, London.
Extraction techniques using dental wrenches and pliers
From the hand-tainted abridged Italian edition of Jean-Baptiste Marc Bourgery’s Traité Comple de l’anatomie de l’homme comprenant la medicine operatoire (1831-54), regarded by many to be the finest work of medical illustration in the modern era.
Pages from Traité Comple de l’anatomie de l’homme comprenant la medicine operatoire
These pages from Jean-Baptiste Marc Bourgery’s book show two processes: a tooth extraction with forceps and a luxation of a root with dental elevator, and a luxation of a carious double root with a dental pelican. The dental instruments include an oral speculum, toothkeys and cutting pliers.
The Smile Stealers
The Smile Stealers: The Fine and Foul Art of Dentistry by Richard Barnett is published by Thames & Hudson in association with Wellcome Collection, £24.95