Dentistry

September 9, 1918 – Full diary entry:

“Had a tooth filled.

Got a letter from Nora and wrote one.”


I think Robert got off easy, judging from the many reports of dental cruelty that were perpetuated on AEF soldiers. This is from Pershing’s Crusaders:

Being inducted into the army also brought many soldiers into their first contact with dentistry. While many soldiers had a jaundiced view of military doctors, they were even more damning in their opinions of dentists… In some cases, the actions of the dentists themselves did little to help their cause. A Missourian wrote home to his sister in December 1917,

“Well, I have lost 3 teeth in this horrible war. I was a fool for letting them pull my teeth, makes me sick every time I think about it – two of them at least could have been crowned. They don’t do anything but yank and pull and fill in the army. Those that can’t be filled they yank them out – talk about hurt they could not have done worse if they had used a pick and shovel on me.”


From the New Zealand World War Centenary site, here’s a soldier undergoing a dental extraction. Also, a word of warning: do not search for pictures of World War One dentistry on Google. Some of the images of facial wounds are disturbing.

image

Where was Robert today? See the timeline.

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