21 March 2010

Be glad you weren't a 19th-century bride

"Until the 20th century, when dentistry developed techniques for preserving decayed teeth, bad teeth had to be removed. There was also a fashion at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century for removing the teeth when a woman married and replacing them with false teeth, so that expensive dental bills would not have to be paid by the future husband. This is a dental key dating from the later 19th century, and used to extract teeth. It is made of iron with an ivory handle. It has four hooks or heads each fitted on to the key by a screwed sleeve, and each is designed to fit around a different size and type of tooth."
Via Titam et le Sirop d'Erable.


  1. NOW you tell me! 31 years too late!

  2. Apparently it wasn't uncommon for children to have all their teeth extracted. The rationale being that the teeth would decay sooner or later and would have to be extracted anyway.
    My grandmother had kept her own teeth, but among her belongings were a set of children's dentures that had belonged to her older sister (who was born in 1898).


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