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'The Toothdrawer', sculpture, Germany, 1870-1880

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This zinc statue shows a middle aged workman, possibly a blacksmith, extracting a patient’s tooth with a hook. From the patient’s facial expression, it is obvious he is in a lot of pain and has to be held down by the blacksmith. Tooth pulling could be carried out by a number of people, including barber-surgeons, travelling practitioners and blacksmiths. Dentistry did not become a regulated and licensed profession until the late 1800s. The sculpture is signed by Raimondo Pereda (1840-1915), a Swiss artist.

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Glossary: tooth pulling

The removal of a tooth from the mouth. Extractions are performed for a wide variety of reasons, including tooth decay that has destroyed enough tooth structure to prevent restoration. Extractions of impacted or problematic wisdom teeth are also routinely performed.

Glossary: sculpture

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