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Dec

14

The History of Dentistry

Posted by Paul on 12/14/2012 10:06:00 AM


 
What a treat it was last night when I heard one of MDA's own, Dr. Kurt Studt, deliver a lecture on the History of Dentistry. Dr. Studt was speaking as part of the Perspectives on Science & History Lecture Series sponsored by the Academy of Science – St. Louis and the Missouri History Museum. The series looks at science throughout history, its relevance to life today, and implications for the future. Rose Jansen, director of public science programs at the Acedemy of Science -St. Louis, asked for a St. Louis area dentist to speak in tandem with the current exhibition, Discover the Real George Washington. The first president was famously known for his dentures and teeth issues. Dr. Studt did a fabulous job rising to the occasion.
 
His far ranging presentation was informative, very visual, and at times light hearted. An audience of just over 50 people soaked up the eccentricites of George Washington's interest in dentistry, learned about the birth and growth of dentistry in America, and cringed at some of the treatments across other cultures and through the ages. After about an hour of fascinating information, Dr. Studt answered questions from the engaged audience. It was a good night for the profession!
 
Two of my favorite stories had to do with colorful characters. There was the first dentist ever, Hesi-Re, an Egyptian from 3000 BC who was called "Chief of the Toothers and Physicians." I think that makes a great business card! Then there was a not so good example in "Painless" Parker, a self trained, charlatan who became a millionaire in the early 1900's with his marketing expertise to extract teeth without pain. In the photo above, the sign over his massive block long practice humbly proclaims, "I am postiviely IT in painless dentistry."
 
It was a good night and I salute Dr. Studt for his thorough research and excellent representation of the profession at this unique opportunity.


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