Dentistry in the Dark Ages: Shakespeare and Pigs’ Teeth

Wisdom tooth extraction in Lafayette, LAWhen Shakespeare penned that “parting is such sweet sorrow,” he probably didn’t have dentistry in mind. Of course, a closer look at dental care in Shakespeare’s time suggests that this famous line could easily have applied to tooth extraction. General dentist Dr. Michael Young, who offers wisdom tooth extractions in Lafayette, LA, explains how far dentistry has come since those days and what it means for you.

Then: Anesthesia? Not an Option.

Dentists in those days worked with very limited resources, and most procedures were performed without any form of sedation or anesthesia. It’s no wonder that so many people chose to let nature take its course rather than visit their dentist!

Now: We understand that the idea of undergoing a dental procedure makes some people feel anxious, often so much that they delay much-needed treatment. Fortunately, we offer sedation dentistry in our Lafayette dentist office. Nitrous oxide, also called laughing gas, works almost immediately and does not produce after-effects. Dr. Young also offers oral sedation, which is popular among patients who require multiple procedures in a single visit. Wisdom tooth extraction is performed under sedation.

Then: Crude Options for Replacing Lost Teeth

Tooth replacement wasn’t common back then, and it’s easy to see why. Without sophisticated materials or the ability to craft artificial teeth, dentists used animal teeth—goat teeth, pig teeth, and baboon teeth were popular—or even teeth taken from the recently deceased. Celluloid dentures came into vogue around that time, but happened to be very flammable.

Now: You now have several options available, none of which involve animals’ teeth. Dental implants, which look, feel, and perform exactly like your own teeth, can replace one, many, or all of your teeth. Dr. Young also offers dental bridges and removable dentures, but notes that tooth replacement is not an issue when wisdom teeth are extracted.

Then: Cleaning Teeth With Pumice, Coal, and Brick

More often than not, cleaning one’s teeth also meant damaging one’s teeth. In their attempts to ward off unpleasant breath and tooth decay, Shakespearean-era dentists concocted a caustic, gritty, unpalatable mixture of materials that ultimately resulted in tooth loss.

Now: Professional teeth cleaning is much more effective and comfortable these days. We use DIAGNOdent to detect cavities, and we offer screening for gum disease, the most common cause of adult tooth loss. If you have gum disease, we may recommend a more intensive cleaning session to prevent the condition from worsening.

Questions about wisdom tooth extraction? To learn more about extraction, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Michael Young, contact our Lafayette, LA dentist office at 337.237.6453. We welcome patients living in Lafayette, Broussard, Scott, Youngsville, Breaux Bridge, and the neighboring areas.