In more elaborate  cases, such as the one depicted in this image above from late 18th-century France, the tooth puller (arracheur de dents) had a stage as well as 2 assistants. The music that they provided attracted the crowd and also helped to drown out the cries of the patient. The tooth extraction was an essential part of the entertainment. The public setting provided considerable drama and let the gathered crowd judge the skill of the “dentist.” If he were smooth enough—if he could extract teeth without causing too much pain—others might volunteer as patients.















Above:  Many artists tried to capture the pomp, pageantry, and pain of early dentistry. This etching was created by Jean Duplessis-Bertaux (1747–1819), a well-known artist and engraver who chronicled many scenes of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic era.


The Tooth Puller [L'arracheur de dents]


FROM THE MIDDLE AGES through the early 19th century, tooth pulling was often performance art. Barber-surgeons cut hair, set bones, let blood, and pulled teeth. Toothache could be treated with leeches, blistering, cupping, and laxatives, as well as with prescriptions of lizard liver, green frogs, and a urine gargle.


1-Opium mixtures were popular painkillers.


When refined sugar became widely available in the 17th century, dental caries became common.


For more desperate sufferers, itinerant tooth pullers set up shop in marketplaces and at fairs. The “dentist” and his assistants attracted a crowd by telling stories, singing and dancing, performing tricks, or juggling. The tooth puller's assistant was usually dressed as a clown or a harlequin, with a pointed hat on which was inscribed the insignia of Saint Apollonia, the patron saint of toothache sufferers.




The puppet theater at Parc des Buttes Chaumont circa 1900. In the 1800s, an unemployed silk worker named Laurent Mourguet invented Guignol in Lyon. Mourguet had been a street peddler before trying his hand as a tooth-puller in an era before dentistry. His puppets originally were intended to attract, and distract, customers - comedy as relief from the pain of life.

















Here's a old vintage trade sign of a Louisiana tooth puller I thought you might like to see. His name is Mr. F. Roper. He was a traveling tooth puller at fairs and carnivals.  You can see in the photo human teeth for his watch chain ,hat band, and cuff links!


The frame is decorated with teeth roots and all. They all had real severe cavities that have been filled with some type of white gritty plaster like stuff.


The item has a lot of charm but I'm glad I live in these times for dentistry!


Thanks & Regards, Ted



If anyone has more information about Mr. F. Roper please contact us at  Sideshow World


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