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Dentistry

dental, teeth, knowledge, tooth, ad, galen, especially, dioscorides, medical and medicine

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DENTISTRY. Dentistry may be defined as being a special department of the science and art of healing; embracing a knowledge of the structure, phpiology and patholom and the therapeutic, surgical and. mechanical treatment of the tissues of the mouth and its contained organs, also a knowledge of the materials used and their manipulation in the restoration of the dental and oral structures. The early history of dentistry is so closely interwoven with that of medical science that it is impossible to dis tinguish it from its mother science. The Baby lonians,trans, Assyrians, Hebrews, Hindus, Greeks were the early cultured in habitants of whom historical records exist. The recent excavations in Babylon have brought to light some interesting facts concerning the practice of dentistry under King Hammurabi, at about 2250 B.C. The law stated that '

renowned Galen (131,200 A.D.) owes most of his botanical knowledge as presented in (De situ plicium to the materia med ics of Dioscorides, which he duly acknowledges. Again, the seven books of Paulus "Egineta (about 600 A.D.) are primarily compilations culled from Galen and Oribastus (about 360 A.D.). The dental therapeutics as presented by the more important Greco-Roman writers — Galen, Oribasius, Celsus, Aurelianus, Paulus .IEgineta, etc., the Arabo-Persians—Rhazes, Ali Abbas, Abulcasis, Avicenna and Mesue; the early Germans—Schenck von Grafenberg, Heinrich von Pfolsprundt and Ryff • the early Italians — Arculanus and Vigo; and the early French—Guy de Chauliac, Valescus, Pare and Houillier— all, in their final analysis are culled from Dioscorides. Especially Avicenna (984 1037), ((the prince of Arabian Physicians,* as he has been styled, and whose treatise on gen eral medicine — the for many cen turies enjoyed equally as high a reputation as did the works of Galen, and to-day is still to be found in many homes of Asiatic Turkey, has been a flagrant plagiarist of Dioscorides' dental medicine. And Walther H. Ryff (1500 72), that "jack-of-all-trades* to whom Haeser refers as °the roving plagiator,* compiled his dental medicine from the same source via Arcu lanus. The dental remedies referred to by that mixture of charlatanism and necromancy, John Gaddesden (about 1310 A.D.), sometime pro fessor in Merton College, Oxford, are so thor oughly tainted by medical avarice, superstition and ignorance that it would be an insult to the enumerated writers if we place him in the same category. Merely to mention a typical exam ple of the disgusting therapeutic measures re corded in his bizarre tome, (Rosa medicin& which has been significantly dubbed by the il lustribus Guy de. Chauliac, fatua,* the following amixtum compositump in the form of a decoction which he recommended to be taken against dental podagra (neuralgia), may be cited: The gall of a cow, wormwood, alum, pepper, nutgalls, cloves, pitch, mustard seed, the heart of a magpie, the fat of mice, crow dung, plantain and lice. The famous German 'Artzney Buchlein wider allerlei Kranckheit and Gebrechen der Zeen gezogen aus dent Galen, Avicenna, Mesue, Cornell() etc. (Leipzig 1530), is an anonymous compilation which, as far as its is concerned, merely exhibits the same stigmata as do the works of the above mentioned writ ers, i.e., it is an epitome from Dioscorides' dis sertations, with slight alterations, as a sequence of having passed through the works of the vari ous authors enumerated on its title-page. In a most interesting collection of Anglo-Saxon manuscripts bearing the quaint title, (Leech doms, Wortcunning and Starcraft,) which in modern English would signify "Physicians' prescriptions, the Knowledge of Plants and Astrology,* and which was published some dec ades ago in London — numerous references re lating to the diseases of the teeth are contained. Here, again, one meets with many drugs which are readily traced to a dissemination of dental knowledge by the Greco-Roman military sur geons accompanying the conquering cohorts during their occupation of Britain.

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