You might have a fear of the dentist now, but imagine if you lived in ancient times. A simple tooth pulling would cause so much pain you’d rather have your mouth go rotten then visit the village dentist. Check out these 6 archaic dental instruments and practices that will make you grateful for modern medicine and advancements in dentistry.
1. Bow Drill
The bow drill showed up around 7000 BC in the Indus Valley area of modern-day India and Pakistan. These drills, constructed with a stringed wooden bow tied to a rotating spindle, featured a flint tip that bore into the tooth. This was well before the invention of anesthetics. You can imagine the kind of experience early people suffered with this horrifying instrument.
2. 17th Century Dental Forceps
In the 1600s, if you needed a tooth extraction, you had to face the tortuous grip of the 17th century dental forceps. Designed with long handle to reach deep into the back of your mouth, these forceps allowed dentist to squeeze enough pressure to crack a tooth.
3. Oral Speculum
An oral speculum is used to open the mouth for investigation or medical procedures. Dentist used a screw to pry open a patient’s mouth. If cranked too wide, patients could suffer broken jaws.
4. 19th century Secateurs
The French came up with this dental instrument to wrench out entire teeth. Called secateurs, meaning French for “cutters”, this device was effective in locking on to a tooth to be ripped out just above the gum line.
5. Tongue Ecraseur
A tongue écraseur was used to remove a diseased portion of the tongue caused by cancers. A painful process, the chain was looped over the infected portion and tightened using the ratchet, stopping the circulation of blood to the area. Most people who had a tongue ecraseur procedure suffered a permanent speech impediment.
6. Dental Key
Dental keys were designed for tooth extraction. With the claw at the end of the shaft, dental keys could grab the diseased tooth as the instrument was rotated to loosen the tooth. Poor practices with this instrument often resulted in tooth and jaw fractures.
What modern day dental conveniences are you most grateful for?