Guide by King George III’s dentist up for auction
 

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Guide by King George III’s dentist up for auction

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Guide by King George III’s dentist up for auction

 

Guide by King George III’s dentist up for auction

A dentistry guide written by the dentist to King George III and detailing painful methods such as using pliers on crooked teeth is to be auctioned next week, reports www.telegraph.co.uk.
 
One of the first books detailing the art of dentistry, it highlights why anyone scared stiff of a visit to the dentist should be grateful they were not around 250 years ago.

Thomas Berdmore, the royal dentist of the time, reveals in detail painful methods used on patients to cure tooth problems.

He does, however, also show that he was ahead of his time, warning that smoking and sugar were bad for anyone seeking the perfect set of teeth.

Berdmore's royal patronage made him wealthy and the most respected expert in his field, earning him an "ample fortune".

Yet it is unlikely that many modern dentists, or their patients, would give him too much time.

In a series of gruesome insights, he details how teeth should be straightened using gold wire.

If that fails, the alternative was to ‘break the teeth into order by means of a strong pair of crooked pliers'.

He urges youngsters with milk teeth to "chew upon coral, wax and suchlike bodies" to deter decay.

And he points out that ‘the boyish custom of carrying a table or chair in their mouth is as dangerous as it is absurd'.

He recalls one case in which he was summoned to examine a patient left in a "terrible state" following a visit to a local dentist.

He wrote: ‘A young woman aged 23 went to a "barber dentist" to have the left molaris tooth of the upper jaw on the right side taken out.

‘On second attempt he brought away the affected tooth together with a piece of jawbone as big as a walnut and three neighbouring molars.'

The "barber dentist" embarked on the ill-fated second extraction bid, wrote Berdmore, because he was "uneasy at disappointment" with his first effort.

The book, A Treatise on the Disorders and Deformities of the Teeth and Gums and the Most Rational Methods of Treating Them, was written in 1770. It is still bound in its original calfskin and will be auctioned next week in Derby. It is expected to fetch £300.

Charles Hanson, the auctioneer, said: ‘People moan about how hard it is to see a dentist nowadays, but in Berdmore's day it might have been better just to stay away.

Some of the practices recommended in his book are almost grotesque – and this was a highly respected man who treated the monarch.'

 Posted on : Tue 18th - Nov - 2008

 

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