Ow! My Tooth Hurts! Pioneer Dentistry and Tools

What do you do when you have a toothache? Treat it yourself or go to the dentist. Making a trip to the dentist has not always been as simple as it is today. Early pioneer patients did not have the luxury of pain medicine and had to suffer through quite a lot to get rid of a toothache.

There were not many options either, pull it or suffer. The picture attached is of a foot-powered dentist drill that was used from the 1850’s into World War l in the field. It was hard work for the dentist to keep the drill spinning fast enough to drill into a tooth! Ouch!

Dentistry has made a great many advancements since the pioneers first settled in Washington County. James Ence, is a local retired Dentist and will be making a presentation about early Dentistry practices and tools. He was raised in Santa Clara, Utah, married Deborah Jennings and had five children. He practiced in Las Vegas and St. George for over 40 years. He will be sharing his insights from a dentists’ point of view and the struggles the early dentists had.

James will be at the Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum for the third weekend event on Saturday, Nov. 20, at 10 a.m. The museum is located at 145 N. 100 E., St. George. The public is invited, and admission is free. There is handicap access. Call 435-628-7274 if you have questions.

Current COVID protocols are being followed. Masks are not required but encouraged.

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