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Dental burnisher with a bloodstone mineral head, France, 1780-1820

Dental burnishers were used to polish and smooth out any sharp edges during work to restore teeth. This ornate example is made from silver and gold and has moulded decoration on the ends and middle of the stem. The mineral heads are different shapes and are made of bloodstone and agate. These dental burnishers were reputedly made for a Dr Lyons, who may have been the dentist to the Swedish Royal Family, though no record confirming this has been traced. However, the expensive materials that the burnisher is made from reflect wealthy and important patients who would expect quality instruments. The burnisher may have been made in France. It is shown here with other dental burnishers.

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Glossary: dental burnisher

An instrument for smoothing and polishing the surface or edge of a dental restoration.

Glossary: dentistry

The study, treatment and management of diseases affecting the mouth, jaws, gums, teeth and their supporting tissues.