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​​​​Dentistry in the 1960s​


What was dentistry like?

The introduction of the air rotor in the late 1950s was a huge catalyst for change throughout the 1960s. 

Increased suction was required by dentists. Dentists began to sit down to work with the patient fully reclined, In addition, improved filling materials were introduced.

​Adult dental health survey

​The first adult dental health survey in 1968 revealed the improvements in the state of the nations teeth, although extractions under general anaesthesia were still often required.

Controversy and debate raged about the fluoridation of water supplies and the introduction of dental auxiliaries.

Experiences of dentists

Here are some of the experiences we have collected so far. ​Listen to these dentists talk about their experiences of 1960s dentistry.

Help us to collect more interesting stories from this exciting period.​​

​Fluoridation of water supplies

​General Anaesthesia in the dental surgery 

​​All interviews were recorded on behalf of the John McLean oral history archive between 2012-2017.


John Bayes

John Bayes was a General Dental Practitioner in Lincoln. He started giving anaesthetics and sedation in the 1960s.​

John Beal

John qualified in 1966 and his Phd research covered the effects of fluoridation of Birmingham’s water supplies.   

Professor Sir Paul Bramley 

Professor Sir Paul Bramley qualified in Birmingham in the 1940s and worked as House Surgeon to Harold Round before medical studies. He became a Consultant Oral Surgeon in Plymouth and subsequently Professor and Dean of the Sheffield Dental School.

Stuart Robson  

Stuart Robson qualified in 1964. His first job was in Labrador and he subsequently worked as a GDP in Macclesfield and later York. Stuart is a former President of the BDA.

Richard Thornton 

Richard Thornton was a Consultant Anaesthetist in Lincoln. He anaesthetised in Community Dental Clinics, for Special Needs patients in the hospital, for Oral & Maxillofacial cancer patients and was a supervisor for the 'Non Consultant Anaesthetists' in Dental Practice.​