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July 03 2010

Weird Instruments Used By Early Dentists

Everyone knows how trying life can be without teeth. little chores like eating, chewing and speaking become difficult . Even one’s appearance can change in the absence of teeth. This has made dental implants Cleveland popular since they look like real teeth. . 

But before there were dental implants Cleveland, there were dentures. When they were first made in the 15th century, dentures gave hope to those with lacking(p) teeth. However, the early designs left much to be desired.  

Since they were made of bone, ivory or human beings teeth, the early dentures rotted easily. They were also obtrusive since they were tied to existing teeth with metal or silk drawing string. With the advent of plastic dentures in the 20th century and the development of dental implants, things changed for the better. 

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nonetheless, good dentures don’t just happen overnight even in this advanced age. The calibre of dentures depends to a large extent on the tooth doctor’s skill and patience. These are needed to create the perfect pair that will help the user . 

“ badly made dentures can cause important discomfort and erode the gums and clappers of the jaw, leading to greater dental problems. A combination of implants and removable pieces are often the best choice ,” according to Niki Foster of WiseGeek.Com. 

Apparently this problem inspired one dentist to create a weird widget that was featured in the June 1939 issue of Popular Science magazine. That dentist is Dr. Beverly B. McCollum of Los Angeles, California and his device was called the gnathograph. 

The gnathograph (later on called the gnathoscope) was designed to measure teeth and help dentists make better fitting dentures. It was made in 1925 and patented by McCollum in 1929.    

“With the aid of the gnathograph, an instrument as mouth-filling as its name, a dentist’s patients may now be assured of a perfect fit for artificial teeth. Fitted to the jaws as shown above, the new device registers the arrangement of the teeth and the direction of the bite, to guide the dentist in straightening teeth or fitting inlays, crowns, bridges and plates,” said ModernMechanix.Com. 

Although McCollum’s intentions were good, his contraption looked like a mad scientist’s invention. To put it lightly, it resembled something out of a Tim Burton flick. We don’t know how patients reacted to this device but I reckon it scared the hell out of a lot of people. 

But the device proved to be very useful that McCollum later based the Gnathological Society and eventually became the Father of Gnathology. The term comes from the Greek word “Gnathos” meaning jaw and “ology” which means the study of. 

“Gnathology is the science that treats the biologics of the masticating mechanisms; that is, the morphology, anatomy, histology, physiology, pathology and the therapeutics of the oral organ, especially the jaws and teeth and the vital relations of the organ to the rest of the body,” he said. 

Through the years, the movement has fully grown by leaps and bounds and now boasts of several dentists-members throughout the world. From its humble beginnings in 1926, the society – now known as the International Academy of Gnathology – continues to meet every odd numbered year. And it all started with this off-the-wall invention.