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Dentist's chisel for the removal of the roots of teeth

Date made: c.1880

Maker: unknown

Description: This object is a dentistry tool, a chisel for the removal of the roots of teeth. It was donated by Mr H. Black, a dentist on Finch Road in Douglas. This would have been a frequently used item. As dentistry was expensive, it was common for people to have all their teeth removed in one go, healthy and bad alike, to prevent any further problems.

The chisel is of iron, with a wooden handle.

Up until the advent of the National Health Service, the British people as a whole were renowned as having among the poorest teeth in the western world. In 1894 T.E.Brown wrote: "I have a vicious toothache. Yet is it not somewhat of a distinction at my time of life to have teeth, and teeth that can ache? Most of my contemporaries, and many of my juniors, male and female, have shed their dental honours, and grin at me from rows of pearly symmetry." During the Second World War, many American GIs were astonished by the bad teeth of their British comrades, a major cause of rejection from the army.

Measurements: 15.5 x 2.5 x 2.5 cm

Materials: metal: iron, wood

Object name: dental implement

Collection: Social History Collection

ID Number: 1954-5432Xa


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