For centuries, the activities of dentists and the symptoms of tooth disease have been used as themes in works of art, drawings, cartoons, paintings, sculpture and woodcarvings. These images are a valuable source of information about providers of dental care and different treatments for toothache.
A unique Victorian era sculpture of a scene at the dentist's made from crab shells.
Dentistry has long been a subject for humour in cartoon-art. The golden age of political and social caricature and satire was between 1780 and 1830 when three artists were active Thomas Rowlandson, James Gillray and George Cruikshank. Each tackled the topical subject of dentists during their careers.
These English engravings, dating from the beginning of the 19th century, show three options available when a tooth extraction was required.
In the style of Adrian van Ostade (1610-1685)
A barber-surgeon at work in the 17th century in the Netherlands.
Sir John Lavery (1856-1941)