Americans have made all the modern improvements in the dental art. Distressing operations are now painless, and the dental surgeon performs wonders in orthodontia.
The cavemen doubtless extracted those fangs of their suffering brethren that began to decay when they ceased to crunch their prandial bones; lead fillings have been found in the teeth of Egyptian mummies, and prosthetic dentistry is two centuries old. Nevertheless, it is within the last fifteen or twenty years that the art of dentistry has been brought nearer to perfection than in all its previous history, within two or three years that many of the most distressing dental operations have been rendered painless, and within a few months that the most highly improved method of filling the teeth has come into use.There are men and women still living who remember when the practice of dentistry, outside of the populous centers, was confined to the pulling of the teeth, the dentist being primarily the village blacksmith or tinker, whose fitness for the lesser function was measured by the strength of his wrist in operating the fearsome turnkey in the patient's mouth. Few men whose talents would have qualified them for success in the learned professions were, at that time, attracted to dentistry, even in the larger cities; whereas the intellectual equipment of the up-to-date dentist to-day is not less than is required in any other branch of surgery. Many of our foremost dental practitioners have taken the degree of M.D. as well as that of D.D.S.