May 31, 2018|Reports

“Art, History and Toothache” – Iain Laws

After training as a maxillofacial surgeon, Iain’s interest in art related to the subject was awakened by seeing a classical sculpture of St. John in Prague – the Saint was holding what appeared to be a painful face.

Iain followed this with pictures of sculptures, paintings and drawings from the 16th century onwards, showing patients being treated by primitive dentists, with varying degrees of terror. Common features of these pictures were a gigantic set of forceps, assistants to strap or hold the patient down, and evidence of some method of payment, such as a basket of eggs.

The patron saint of dentistry was St. Apollonia. Her teeth were extracted many times and were treated as holy relics – until it was discovered that there were many hundreds in circulation!

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