The Performing Dentist

Before the formation of the NHS in 1944 and free dental treatment, most people couldn’t afford to visit a private dentist, so resorted to any means available to them for treatment. This usually meant removing the tooth that was causing the pain. This photograph from 1883 shows an itinerant dentist who travelled from town to town in his horse and carriage, removing teeth as a public entertainment, for a price, of course. The nervous patient is in the centre, the quack dentist on his left and the look on the girl’s face, on the right, says it all!

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