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Permanent exhibition

The BDA Museums permanent gallery provides an introduction to the history of dentistry in the UK with a particular focus on items relating to dental practise in the 19th century.

What visitors can see

Visitors can trace the development of dentures from early carved ivory to the more realistic rubber vulcanite sets and view early bow drills, a silver clockwork drill, and the popular treadle drill.

There is the chance to see early domestic dental items such as sponge toothbrushes and thumb-guards used to stop children following this habit. A star item is equipment from an 1890s surgery, complete with a chair upholstered in red velvet.

Although our Museum is fairly small, additional information is provided via computer screens and audio guides, to help you access more of our large collection and archive.

Visitors can access more information from our 'Oral Histories' programme and watch a variety of films relating to oral-health education. The earliest of these films dates from 1912 - probably the earliest piece of UK film relating to dentistry. 

Dentistry in the nineteenth century

vulcanite dentures
The nineteenth century was an important time for dentistry.  During this period dentistry became an organised and respected profession. 

New techniques and equipment were developed and the introduction of anaesthesia revolutionised patients’ experience. 

All this was set against the changing social background of the industrial revolution and improved scientific understanding.

​BDA Museum

The BDA Museum has one of the largest collections of dental heritage in the UK. Spanning the 17th to the present day, highlights of the collection include dental chairs, drills, oral hygiene products, and the infamous 'Waterloo' teeth. 

The BDA Museum is located at 64 Wimpole Street, London, W1G 8YS, find out more details and our opening times.