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The Excruciating History of Dentistry: Toothsome Tales & Oral Oddities from Babylon to Braces

For example, did you know that:
*Among the toothache remedies favored by Pierre Fauchard, the father of dentistry, was rinsing the mouth liberally with one's own urine.
*George Washington never had wooden teeth. However, his chronic dental problems may have impacted the outcome of the American Revolution.
*Soldiers in the Civil War needed at least two opposing front teeth to rip open powder envelopes. Some men called up for induction had their front teeth extracted to avoid service.
*Teeth were harvested from as many as fifty thousand corpses after the Battle of Waterloo, a huge crop later used for dentures and transplants that became known as "Waterloo Teeth."

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review, Carol Peace Robins
You'll gain a great deal of dental knowledge, acquired quite painlessly. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews
A breezy romp through the history of dentistry that will be excruciating only for those pained by word play, especially puns. Comedy writer Wynbrandt has fun with this one, but he has filled it with facts, too. He covers the world of tooth care from the Babylonians of 5000 b.c., worms and devils and treated them with henbane and prayer, to today's film stars with their dentist-crafted perfect smiles. Here one learns of the dental glory that was Rome (the first cavity is said to have been filled in the first century a.d.), the itinerant tooth-drawers of the Middle Ages and later eras. (``Not all tooth-drawers were crooks and deceivers. Some were merely incompetent.''), the beginnings of the modern dental era in 18th-century France, and the profession's 19th-century efforts to rid itself of quacks and charlatans (the world's first dental college opened in 1840). Wynbrandt wittily chronicles the development of anesthetics, fluoride, X-rays, drills, dental chairs, and even toothpicks. George Washington's famous false teeth are, of course, discussed; so is Ulysses S. Grant's dental work and George Custer's last toothbrush. Folklore, myth, religion, movies, poetry, and advertisements--all are tapped by Wynbrandt, who quotes liberally from a variety of contemporary sources to bring his light-hearted history to life. While sensitive dentists may wince at having their profession's rough-and-tumble past revealed, dental patients are more likely to feel relief at having been born in the modern era of dentistry. Both groups are in for a good laugh. (8 pages b&w illustrations, not seen) -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

The San Francisco Chronicle, Jonathon Keats
...closer in sensibility to "Ripley's Believe It or Not!" than to a real book.


Customer Reviews

  Reviewer: A reader from CHICAGO, IL USA

I enjoyed this book, but it was rather a slow read most of the time. Some really funny incidents are chronicled here. Best for people in the dental profession and not just the medical profession at large (like me.)