Flossed Over

A museum devoted to dentistry

flossed over

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ven the period street scene out the window is authentic at the Dr. H. Martin Deranian Dental Museum, a re-creation of a 19th-century dentist’s office so complete it looks as if the dentist just hung up his waistcoat and left the room. The display, at the Tufts School of Dental Medicine, includes a drill operated by a foot pump, and the “key,” an extraction tool Oliver Wendell Holmes once called “a diabolical instrument of apprehension and agony.”

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Dentistry has a long history in Massachusetts. Three barber-surgeons were sent to Plymouth Colony as early as 1630; one died traveling in a snowstorm to see a patient with a toothache. In what was apparently the first forensic dental investigation, Paul Revere identified Dr. Joseph Warren after Warren was killed in the Battle of Bunker Hill from a false tooth he had made for him.

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