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Dental instrument set, United States, 1871-1900

This large and ornately decorated dental instrument set may have been made for an exhibition. It has six layers of instruments, most of which have mother-of-pearl handles with an amber inlay. The instruments include dental keys, dental forceps for tooth pulling and dental descalers to remove plaque and deposits from the teeth. It is a large chest measuring 430 mm long and weighing 13.11 kg.

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    Techniques and Technologies:


    Glossary: dental instrument set

    Set of dental instruments

    Glossary: dental forceps

    Forceps used specifically to remove teeth.

    Glossary: tooth pulling

    The removal of a tooth from the mouth. Extractions are performed for a wide variety of reasons, including tooth decay that has destroyed enough tooth structure to prevent restoration. Extractions of impacted or problematic wisdom teeth are also routinely performed.

    Glossary: dentistry

    The study, treatment and management of diseases affecting the mouth, jaws, gums, teeth and their supporting tissues.

    Glossary: dental key

    Used in dentistry to remove diseased teeth. The dental key’s ‘claw’ would be tightened over a tooth. The instrument was then rotated to loosen the tooth. This often resulted in the tooth breaking, causing jaw fractures and soft tissue damage. It has been replaced by modern forceps.