The miseries of 18th century’’s toothache sufferers!

November 19th, 2008 - 6:30 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Nov 19 (ANI): In case the modern-day dentistry makes you wince, spare a thought for the toothache sufferers of the 18th century.
According to a rare book about the dental techniques of the period, even those treated by the most eminent practitioners were in for an agonising time.
Written in 1770 by Thomas Berdmore, who was considered to be the outstanding dentist in England, ”A Treatise on the Disorders and Deformities of the Teeth and Gums and the Most Rational Methods of Treating Them” provides an insight into tortures endured by our forbears.
Berdmore, who was a dentist to King George III, has written about a 23-year-old woman left in a ”terrible state” by a ”barber dentist”.
“She went to a barber dentist to have the leftmolaris tooth of the upper jaw on the right side taken out,” the Daily Express quoted Berdmore, as stating in the book.
“On second attempt he brought away the affected tooth together with a piece of jawbone as big as a walnut and three neighbouring molars,” he added.
He says the “barber dentist” embarked on the ill-fated extraction because he was “uneasy at disappointment”.
Although Berdmore was ahead of his time, his reliance on pliers rooted him in his age.
Addressing the subject of ”how to bring teeth which are ill into beautiful order”, he wrote: ”Pass gold wire from the neighbouring teeth on either side, in such a manner as to press upon what stands out of the line.”
The alternative, Berdmore suggested, was to ”break the teeth into order by means of a strong pair of crooked pliers”.
For toothache he suggested “astringent liquors rendered slightly acid by orange, lemon juice or vinegar”.
He also identifies sugar and smoking as harmful to teeth.
“Peasants suffer less in this way, unlike those of rank and opulence,” he wrote in the book.
Charles Hanson, who will auction the book in Derby, said: “People moan about how hard it is to see a dentist today but in Berdmore’’s day it might have been better to stay away. Some of the practices are almost grotesque - and this was a man who treated the monarch.”
The book, found at a valuation in Kings Bromley, Staffordshire, is believed to be the first English tome on dentistry and is expected to fetch at least 300 pounds. (ANI)

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