Dr. Paul Perella, DMD


14 Dental History Pictures That Will Make You Love Your Dentist

As much as people don't like going to the dentist, things used to be much worse. Take a look at the pictures below to see how far dentistry has come in the last few centuries.

A jolly man with a "fixed" missing tooth. It's hard to imagine living in an era when people consider their teeth "fixed" when they are missing


Teething trouble? Give the kid some cocaine and alcohol! Many years ago, it was common to give a teething baby all sorts of concoctions to get them to calm down. Check out these cocaine drops, followed by Mrs. Winslow's teething syrup, which would now be illegal for those under 21 years of age!

Need your wisdom teeth extracted? This illustration, The Martyrdom of St. Apollonia, shows the torturous extraction of teeth. 

German traveling dentist. A German dental quack, who looks strangely like Captain Hook, is holding a large tooth that he supposedly extracted from the little midget next to him. If you look closely, you will see a necklace of extracted teeth hanging over the edge of the table.

Traveling French Dentist & his monkey. This French dentist proudly displays a tooth that he recently extracted from the gentleman on the right and it would appear he suffered a great deal.

18th Century Persian Dentist Tooth Extraction. Here's an 18th century Persian dentist engaging in the fine art of a gentle tooth extraction. The gentleness reflects the subtitle of this picture, which was taken from a passage found in the Quran about the need to be kind to your fellow men.

Traveling Dentist in a Dutch Village. I still can't get over the fact that people used to gather and watch tooth extractions for entertainment

A Surprifing Toothache Cure. Despite the "f" for "s" language, this advertisement reveals there were people pushing dangerous, risky and unproven treatments for toothaches way back when.

Back Breaking Work for this Dental Assistant. Talk about earning your paycheck!

Curing a Toothache with Fire. A suffering patient bends over this brazier fueled by burning seeds. The fumes from henbane seeds were believed to drive the worm out of the aching tooth. 

People used to believe toothaches were caused by worms that burrowed into the tooth and caused pain. Even if there were worms, it's more likely that the henbane would've killed the person before it killed the worms since it is now known to be a very toxic plant.

Arabic Dentist Cauterizing Dental Pulp With Acid. Here's an Arabic dentist injecting acid into the dental pulp of a patient. He uses a protective syringe to keep the acid from burning his hands.

Dentist to the Royals. This elegantly dressed dentist advertises himself as the dentist to the Great Mogul. He wanted everyone to know that even royalty subjected themselves to his charming, yet awful dental skills.

Hopefully these pictures from the history of dentistry will allow you to gain a greater appreciation for your current dentist. There's a lot to be grateful for when you think about dentists of today:

  • We don't stand on you or tie you down to pull your teeth.
  • We don't travel from town to town with deceitful publicity stunts.
  • We don't prescribe medications that could cause serious harm to you or your children.
  • We use local anesthetic so you don't feel the pain of dental work.
  • We don't try to sell you questionable cures for your problems and base our treatment on scientific evidence. Well, most of us do!
  • We don't hold your head over a burning pot of flames to cure your toothache.
  • We can fix teeth, rather than simply extracting them.
  • We wear gloves and use sterile dental equipment.
If you have difficulty using our website, please email us or call us at (561) 290-1636
View the ADA Accessibility Statement