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Adjustable dental chair, England, 1701-1800

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This early adjustable dental chair has upholstered seating. As a specialised piece of furniture it is representative of the emergence of the dentist as a separate profession. The quality of the chair also suggests that there was a wealthy clientele ready and willing to pay for dental services. The first reclining chair was invented in 1832 by James Snell, a London dentist who was also a member of the Royal College of Surgeons.

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Glossary: dentist's chair

Dentist's chairs are deeply reclining chairs to allow the dentist easy access to the patient's mouth. The reclining position adjusts as well as the overall height of the chair. Associated with the chair are usually a variety of dental equipment, often including a small tap and sink for the patient to rinse his or her mouth.

Glossary: dentistry

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