23 / 05 / 2023
Your Dental Appointment 100 Years Ago
When you go the dentist today, you know the routine: Check in, read a magazine and sip a tea in the dental room, and when you’re name’s called, enjoy a stress free chat with your dentist and receive quality care and expert treatment job done. However, if you were living a hundred years ago, your trip to the dentist might be not so stress free. Up until 1859, there was no formal qualification for practitioners of dental care in Britain, these practitioners being your barber or general physician (if you could afford one!).
Around one hundred years ago, a staggering fifty percent of the population would lose all their teeth in their lifetime. Clinics were basic, the dentist chair non existent and meant the ‘dentist’ would do all his treatments whilst standing. Antibiotics hadn’t been discovered and anesthetic was rarely used at all, although Novocaine was introduced around this time. This meant procedures were extremely painful, and due to primitive early dental instruments, often slow and torturous. As a result, infection control was poor and many fell ill and died as a result of extractions and operations. You would have been unknowingly exposed to high radiation doses from the early X-ray machines (the first x-ray had an exposure time of about 40 minutes!), as little was known about the risk of radiation, something which dentists today are extremely careful to minimise for our safety (a current dental exposure is approx. 0.8 seconds).
We take for granted he level of care we receive, dental implants to replace missing teeth, orthodontics (with short term orthodontics offering straight teeth in approx. 6 months), tooth whitening, all examples of modern day treatment that would have been inconceivable one hundred years ago, and the wealth of knowledge and understanding that has been discovered in only one hundred years concerning oral health and the practice of dentistry is staggering. Finally, you’ll be pleased to hear that only around ten percent of the population today lose all their teeth, and you get a sticker at the end of your appointment if you’re good!