The early decades of the eighteenth century saw the appearance of a completely new type of surgical practitioner in France: the dentiste.
The use of this title was of the utmost significance, indicating not just the making of a new practitioner but of an entirely new practice - the dentiste was, quite literally, making a name for himself.
Appearing on the back of dramatic changes within surgery in general, the practice of the dentiste, although it focused only on the teeth, was nevertheless extensive.
In addition to extractions, there was also a wide-ranging field of operations on offer, the performance of which had only been hinted at by the surgeon of the seventeenth century.
This new sphere of practice represented a radical departure from what had gone before and, as this book reveals, it was all built solidly on sound surgical foundations, with the dentiste occupying a respected position within society in general and the medical world in particular. This book places the making of the dentiste within social, political and technical contexts, and in so doing re-contextualises the purely progressive stories told in conventional histories of dentistry.
In doing so, it brings surgery back to its central role in this story, and reveals for the first time the origins of the dentise in the French surgical profession.