Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Three Cheers for American Dentistry

Far from a humiliation, the reputation of American dentistry abroad during the early part of the 20th century was positively stellar.

In her book Certain Samaritans, Esther Pohl Lovejoy, M.D., notes the high esteem in which some Europeans held American dentists:
The dental service of the American Women's Hospitals will be a joy forever in France -- at least as long as our fillings last. The fair fame of American dentists in European capitals antedated the World War [I] by several decades. The rich and powerful had employed American dentists for years, and the doings of the rich and powerful are emulated, if possible, by the poor. Doctors, midwives and undertakers were recognized necessities, but dentists were luxuries, and American dentists could be afforded by the opulent only. These favored beings kept bodyservants of all kinds -- maids, valets, frisseurs, masseurs -- but the last word, the ultimate expression of physical and cosmetic conservation, was the employment of an American dentist.
The gratuitous service of American women dentists was a war privilege of real value. A woman dentist had never been seen in that section of France [Marne]. They were rare creatures, far more interesting than men dentists, their work just as good, and they seemed to have a conscience regarding people's teeth. ...
(Chapter II, p. 22)

Interested in more information on military dentistry in America? Check out some of these titles.

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