Pierre Fauchard

Pierre Fauchard (1678-1761) Is considered the father of dentistry. He was a french physician who became one of the top dentists in Paris. He trained to be a dentist in the French navy where scurvy and war took their tole on the sailors mouths. He despised tooth pullers who he called charlatans and believed they were only out to con innocent members of the public. He discovered the way tooth pullers went about their work. He wrote an account about it in the book “The Excruciating History of Dentistry” where he describes how tooth pullers try to extract a tooth from some poor unfortunate. They would hide a tooth covered in chicken blood in their hand then inspect the victims mouth and drop the tooth inside. Then the tooth puller touches the sore tooth of the victim and makes him spit. When the crowd see the victim spit out some blood and the tooth which was introduced into the mouth by the tooth puller they are amazed. After this any other tooth sufferer in the crowd will gladly pay for their tooth to be pulled. At which point the tooth puller may use the eye tooth excuse (the tooth is connected with the eye). Pierre did not believe this excuse because he was well read about the anatomy of the mouth and face. He was bothered by the fact that anyone could become a dentist there was no need for qualifications as long as you had a convincing persona about you, you could extract teeth from peoples mouths.

Pierre used five different pieces of dental equipment one of which is the Peilican. It may be that Fauchard was one of the first to use this piece of dental equipment. Interestingly Fauchard in 1729 was the first dentist to treat patients sitting in a chair. Before that patients were treated on the floor. His potions where elaborate and contained ingredients that ordinary members of the public could find difficult to obtain. He also advocated bloodletting to releive toothaches. He didnt beleive in the tooth worm entirely and at that period in history the tooth worm was becoming mythical but he did claim that insect larvaie could hatch in the mouth causing itching and pain. So in a sense he wasnt a perfect dentist.

Became famous for writing “Le chirurgien dentiste” (The Surgeon Dentist) in 1728 which dealt with oral hygiene, how to maintain teeth and identified different gum diseases. This book was followed by others which made people more aware of the importance of oral hygiene and how to treat toothaches better. In that sense his book was the beginning of turning dentistry from the back lane joke profession of tooth pullers to the modern medical profession that is dentistry.

The chair story is quite interesting how he was the first to treat people in dental chairs. Although he used armchairs and there is nothing in the literature about him inventing a dental chair.




The book is the best source of literature about Fauchard.


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