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Dentistry

dental, teeth, public, oral, school, mouths, children, institution and service

DENTISTRY, Public. This term may properly be used to denote all phases of dental service except that bought of a dentist by an individual. It includes military and naval den tistry as well as that provided by municipalities and by privately endowed institutions. It is one of the most recently realized of the responsibili ties of the state, 15 years embracing the whole organized movement up to 1918, save perhaps in some few advanced communities.

Budapest had °a fine public dental clinic in 1892." In England the government began to take a hand in the care of the mouths of the people in 1904. In a report of the Inter-Depart mental Committee on Physical Deterioration presented to Parliament a warning was sounded that °the teeth of the people have become much worse of late years and in many parts of the country may be described as very bad.> (Eng land was at that time using 90 pounds of sugar per capita per year). It was suggested that dental hygiene be given special prominence and far better practical attention in the schools. In France nearly every hospital long since has had a dental department giving free treatment to the poor, besides numerous municipal clinics in Paris and in the larger provincial cities. Italy has not been behind in this work: Florence early had three dental clinics, Naples two, Rome one attached to the University School of Den tistry, while Brescia, Turin, Milan, etc., in like manner carried on this work at a period rela tively early. °Germany had 33 clinics exclu sively for school children," and Switzerland followed closely the German system. (Zentler).

America, which by universal consent has always led the world in dentistry, has. been a little slow in taking up the work for the chil dren; but it has in some respects surpassed all other nations in public dentistry, thus main taining its original lead.

Boston at an early date began the system of school medical service and promptly agitated for and actually established dental therapeutics as a part of that system, including dental nursing as a profession legalized and encouraged by the general court (legislature) of Massachusetts. Since 1914 that city has had in the Forsyth Dental Infirmary for Children the most ade quate institution for public dentistry in the world. In December 1910, by the appointment of two dental consultants and special lecturers on oral hygiene of the New York State de partment of health, °Commissioner E H. Por ter earned the distinction of being the first State commissioner of health in the United States to take an active part in the crusade for clean mouths," the contention of their public lectures, long since and now common knowledge, being that °a clean tooth never decays and a lazy tooth becomes in time a rotten tooth.> Haven Emer son of New York city found in the summer of 1907 that 97 per cent of the °stay parties> of the Sea Breeze (adults) had decayed teeth; and the American Statistical Association in the same year showed that approximately 9,000,000 chil dren in the United States had bad dental equip ment or diseased teeth.

The Boston institution is the pioneer and sole present model for further constructions in the direction of the public care of children's teeth, mouths and throats. The institution de veloped from the philanthropic idea of Mr. James Bennett Forsyth, a Boston business man, who had been a great sufferer from neglected teeth. The idea acted upon by his two brothers, John Hamilton and Thomas Alexander For syth (the actual creator of the Infirmary), and the heirs of another deceased brother, Mr. George Henry Forsyth, resulted in the foundation and erection of a memorial building of utility and beauty, the equipment and admin istration of which is unrivaled for its objects, which are summarized as follows: (1) To educate parents, teachers, nurses and children in the hygienic value of healthy mouths and sound teeth, and to furnish instruction as to the best methods of securing the same.

(2) To prevent dental caries by oral prophy laxis and by the care and preservation of the temporary teeth.

(3) To investigate the causes and to study the prevention of oral diseases and caries of the teeth.

(4) To remedy, so far as possible, existing conditions of dental caries and other oral dis eases.

(5) To establish and promulgate a higher standard of dental asepsis.

(6) To furnish for the dental profession an opportunity for charitable work and for the educative experience of a large clinic.

War work was enthusiastically taken up by the institution, courses were organized to fit dentists for service in the Dental Officers' Re serve Corps, 600 dentists registered for the first course and the director was appointed prelimi nary dental examiner of the corps. The lec tures given in the course have been compiled and edited as a textbook under the title, 'War Dentistry.

In addition to its work more strictly and directly therapeutic, this infirmary conducts two schools, a training school for dental hygienists and a postgraduate school of orthodontia. There are departments of social service and registration; Roentgen rays; extraction; sur gery; orthodontia; research; oral hygiene; library and museum; lectures for the public and the staff; besides the extensive dental-clinic de partment suggested in our illustration. In 1917 the total number of cases treated was 31,750; new cases, 16,457; returned cases, 14,293; emer gency cases, 2,917; average number of full-time operators, 18, and of half-time operators, 14; average number on visiting staff, 75; and aver age number of patients daily, 363.

It cannot be doubted that when the world re turns again to the pursuits of peace and social progress numerous such institutions will spring up to educate and to cure the children of this and of other lands, certain that septic teeth are the cause of much pain and disease heretofore ascribed to other causes.